Did you notice the copal brazier in the Itza Maya music video?
One of those OMG moments that we love at the People of One Fire
These guys are authentic down the line. They are wearing the red turbans of Itza Maya Keepers. Creek Keepers also traditionally wore red turbans, but now most in Oklahoma wear cowboy hats.
Music was considered by the Mayas to be a form of worship. Therefore, before appearing at the scene on the Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, they reverently ignited copal incense as a form of prayer to the heavens. Itza Mayas traditionally put an abstract image of the Sky Serpent on their copal braziers, which were simple ceramic jars, unlike those of the Lowland Mayas and later, the Aztecs.
When Richard Hakluyt depositioned two former residents of the Spanish colony of Santa Helena (South Carolina) in 1587, they told them that there was a great town on the side of a mountain in the Georgia Mountains at which the priests burned copal resin in front of the temple 24/7. Therefore, the Spanish traders called the Track Rock Terrace Complex, Grand Copal.
When Richard Briggstock returned to Barbados in 1654, after touring North Georgia for an extended period of time, he told French ethnologist, Charles de Rochefort, that the Apalache priests there burned copal incense from in front of their mountaintop and hilltop temples, 24/7.
At right is a style of shell gorget found in Northern Georgia and Eastern Tennessee, but also sometimes as far away as Missouri. It portrays an Apalache hunter (left) and Chiska hunter (right) making a bond of peace around a copal brazier on a wooden pedestal. Note that the brazier has a sky serpent on it. Now look below at the copal brazier in the film.
“This Maya thing is a bunch of crap!” – Former president of the Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists at opening of his speech to the Trail of Tears Association. (You may now roll in the floor laughing.)
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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.
Latest posts by Richard Thornton (see all)
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