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Did Uchee traders from Georgia establish colonies in Cuba?

Did Uchee traders from Georgia establish colonies in Cuba?

 

For the 2017 Green Corn Festival,  People of One Fire featured translations of texts from a Cuban anthropological textbook and archaeology magazine.  The information contained in those documents were astounding because they explained several mysteries that have confounded North American academicians for over two centuries.  They describe an aquatic expressway beginning around 6,000 BC or earlier, which stretched from Savannah, GA to Cartagena, Colombia.   Along this route, people, ideas and plant seeds moved in both directions.

None of the Cuban anthropological texts made reference to the Uchee People of the Southeastern United States, but the villages that Cuban archaeologists have interpreted as being founded by Arhuaco colonists from Colombia, were identical to the Uchee towns in Georgia and dissimilar to the Arhuaco villages in Colombia.  However, the Uchee and Arhuaco share many cultural traditions in regard to petroglyphs and a propensity to be regional traders.

 

There were several times big “shockers” that have been completely left out of anthropology references in the United States:

  • Colonists from the Southeastern United States settled in Cuba during several epochs.  However, the most dramatic impact was during the Woodland Period, when these immigrants from the north introduced pottery and permanent settlements.

 

  • The Taino were NOT ethnically Arawaks as almost everyone thinks, but an offshoot of the Tayrona Civilization in Colombia.  At some point they replaced most of their Chibchan language with a dialect of Arawak.  The “entry level” texts from Cuba did not explain when and why this linguistic change occurred.

 

  • There was also a branch of the Arhuaca branch of the Tayrona Civilization, who were skilled mariners and consummate traders.  These Arhuaca mariners regularly traversed the waters of the Caribbean Basin and presumably came to the shores of North America on many occasions.   The Arhuaco Traders are NEVER mentioned in references published in the United States.  This information radically changes the understanding of how plants, cultivated in one part of the Americas may have spread to other parts of the Americas.

 

  • The description of Arhuaco villages by Cuban archaeologists were identical in every detail to Uchee villages in Georgia . . . e.g. round villages, round buildings, round plazas defined by open sheds.  This is highly significant since the petroglyphs and fieldstone structures (ie cairns, walls effigies) in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta* region of Colombia are very similar or identical to those in the Georgia Mountains.  Also, both regions contain extensive deposits of gold and gemstones.  Ancient miners would have been attracted to both regions, although it would have been much easier to reach Georgia’s gold fields from the Atlantic Ocean via the direct routes of the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers.

A water basin in a boulder near the Amicalola River in North Georgia.  The Uchee priest dropped a pebble into the water to foresee the future.

A critical moment in the BBC documentary film on the Tayrona People is when a Tayrona priest drops a pebble into a basin of water, which has been ground out of a large boulder.  There are hundreds of such basins in North Georgia . . .  perhaps thousands.

*Sierra Nevada means “Snowy Mountains.”  The Creek name for the North Georgia Mountains was originally the “Snowy Mountains.”  Heavy snow cover ceased in North Georgia during the late 20th century.   The time of peak leaf foliage there is now three weeks later than it was in 1990.  Thus, most “Fall Leaf Festivals” in mountain towns occur now when there is very little color in the foliage.

Fieldstone retaining walls in an Arhuaca village.

Probably the same ancestors

The Uchee Migration Legend states that their ancestors came long ago across the Atlantic Ocean from the “Home of the Sun.”   It is the Highland Apalache in North Georgia, who said that their ancestors came from the south by water.   That probably eliminates the possibility of the Arhuaco traders being the ancestors of the Uchee.  

This is a very strong possibility.   Some Uchee could have paddled southward, eventually reaching Cuba and then Colombia.  Cuban archaeologists have found extensive evidence of immigrants coming from the Southeast at various times in the past.  It is quite possible that the settlements that they are labeling Arhuaco, were actually founded by Uchee colonists from the Georgia coast.  Later, Arhuaco colonists could have settled there and intermarried with the Uchee.   I can find no photographs or references in Colombian anthropological literature to round villages anywhere in their country.   Yet, the custom was so strong among the Uchee in Georgia that they were often called, “the Round Town people” in colonial archives.

Another explanation is that the same ancient maritime culture established colonies at the mouth of the Savannah River and on the coast of Colombia near the Sierra Nevada de Marta Mountains.  However, this alternative would not explain why Georgia and Cuba had round villages with round houses and plazas, while Colombia didn’t. 

The truth is out there somewhere!

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

12 Comments

  1. sjohnson@cityofsapulpa.net'

    we have heard rumors for many years of going to Cuba, nice to see there is truth. Thanks for keeping the Euchees ( one of several names for the Children of the Sun) on track

    Reply
    • Now THAT is interesting Susan. Do you have any more details about those rumors? You see, I am part Euchee/Uchee, but by the time I came along, the only cultural knowledge my grandparents had was of Creek traditions. This is funny though. I did not realize that the Muskogees were Creeks until I was in my early 20s. I thought that they were the arch-enemies of the Creeks. My family had bad memories passed along to each generation of the period during the American Revolution and Chickamauga War, when Upper Creeks, allied with the British, attacked Itsate (Hitchiti) Creeks, who were allied with the Patriots. The Upper Creeks were allied with the Cherokee hostiles in the Chickamauga War. My grandparents called the attackers Muskogees, but they were really Upper Creeks.

      Reply
      • sjohnson@cityofsapulpa.net'

        Each family seems to have different tales of trips to Cuba, including some that were traveling about a hundred years ago. I don’t know if they were confused or were planning to see if they could find the true story. As I found out when I was researching the tribe nine years ago, the Euchees are very secretive. They cloak truths with stories. I have heard being Children of the Sun, we came from a different planet, some say we traveled from Easter Island, and others remind us there is a “warrior tribe of Chinese” called Yuchi. We supposedly had a band that went from the Southeast to the Northwest and were never seen again.. I do know that many came by steamship instead of walking on the Trail of Tears,that at one time Creeks and Yuchi were not friends, and later, when Stand Waite and his soldiers were running out of ammo during the Civil War, the Yuchi supplied the needed ammo. We have many very talented artists, and We the Yuchi People, we are still here!

        Reply
        • Susan, did you see my article on Parawan Gap, Utah? There are a bunch of petroglyphs there, which are identical to the ones in North Georgia. They may have been inscribed by the Uchee Band, who went west. By the way, I have found that migration legends . . . such as the disappearance of a part of a tribe . . . are based on actual events . . . and often completely accurate.

          Reply
          • sjohnson@cityofsapulpa.net'

            When we went to ATALM in 2009 in Portland, Or. , we found that there were several Uchee enrolled in boarding schools (I was being polite calling them boarding schools) in Oregon way back when. Our library had the honor of presenting what we had found about the tribe. Over 600 people learned about the tribe whether they wanted to or not. Once again, the more I find out, the more I see that needs to be checked.
            I have written and talked to Jim Glanville in Blacksburg, Va. for years. He has been adopted into the Yuchi tribe in his area and has done extensive research. He’s given me some helpful information.
            I will look up the article you mentioned.
            Thanks for confirming once again, something we heard, but didn’t know for sure. I agree, there seems to be a lot of truth that is believed to be just rumor.
            Hmmm. Wonder if the old rumor that as long as there is Yuchi on earth, Earth is safe. If all the Yuchi are gone, so will the earth be gone!

          • Susan, Anything you learn will be gratefully appreciated. There are many, many thousands of Uchee descendants in Georgia and South Carolina. They are desperate to learn their true heritage. In fact, there are a whole lot more Uchee descendants in Georgia and SC than there are in Oklahoma. The East Georgia Uchee did not feel bound by treaties signed by the Muskogee Creeks. They got along well with their European and African neighbors, so stayed put – often intermarried with their neighbors. Generally, no one made them move. The one exception was a pogrom against Georgia Creeks and Uchees in 1855 . . . triggered by the Third Seminole War.

          • sjohnson@cityofsapulpa.net'

            The Yuchi are said by some to come from “over the sea”. they were in what is now Tennessee very early, prompting the Cherokee to call them “They who were here before us.” The Spanish found the Yuchi people when they came though. Yuchi even had a Pocahontos before the other one was around.
            A young Yuchi woman married one of the Spanish men.
            The Yuchi moved all around the southeast. In Florida, they intermarried with the Scots there. The marriages resulted in lighter skin tones and gray or green eyes. It has been said that the Yuchi women were some of the most beautiful of all tribes.
            another ‘rumor’ is that the Yuchi are the Lost Tribe of Israel. They certainly had the wanderlust.
            The Trail of Tears saw many of the Yuchi living in the mountain areas, but others were forced to leave. several were sent by steamship, which traveling close to Arkansas, started sinking. Farming equipment, animals, and personal items were lost, which the government was obligated to pay for, (but did they?) The survivors were stuck in Arkansas for quite awhile, before moving to Oklahoma.

            More info tomorrow

          • The majority of Yuchi-Uchee lived in eastern Georgia. Few went to Oklahoma. That’s why you don’t know about them. They stated that they first landed in the region between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers. The capital of the Uchees was on the Ogeechee River in what is now Talliaferro County, GA. All the Uchee descendants in Georgia are members of the Water Clan. Are there Uchee Water Clan members in Oklahoma?

  2. tidewriter@aol.com'

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. The allusive Euchee/Uchee are finally coming into focus.

    Reply
    • tidewriter@aol.com'

      To clarify, it appears that many purposeful suggestions made by mainstream academia of an unknown, and undiscoverable ‘mystery’ people have previously obscured the view.

      Reply
  3. csmoke@webound.com'

    something to consider,.. in the ten or so yrs. prior to Am revolutionary war with England, the Euchees had a huge trade in flint deer skins to England. (see the book Deer Skins to Duffels..). book contains ship’s lists of the cargo. the skins were scraped dry (think similar to a window shade thickness), then rolled and packed into a hogshead. by knowing this, the recents can calculate quantities….which was 100s thousands per yr. during this time, England had a sickness in their domestic leather supplies…. so, the Euchee skins filled the void.
    when England lost the war, the Eng soldiers had to leave the country or be prosecuted. some went to Canada and some went to Cuba. (some soldiers went to tribal land, married a fem native… and was techiically out of USA). it would not be unusual for some of the Euchee traders to go along with the British. (mother of Timpoochee Barnard received land settlement off the coast of Savanah, GA. …..and in Cuba…) Timpoochees father was British.. Flint R. GA. sometime in the past, I saw documents that dealt with the estate settlement about land ownership in Cuba. water clan (& bobcats) in OK.

    Reply

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