Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Discovery by member of Nene Hutke changes the history of Seminoles and Creeks
We are Mayas who came to North America
Regina Blackstock of the Nene Hutke Ceremonial Ground near Chattahoochee, Florida has discovered a long newspaper article from 1917 that will radically change the known history of the Seminoles and Creeks. It is a published interview with Seminole elders from southern Florida. The Seminole elders specifically stated, “We are Mayas who came to North America!” The article describes the journeys of their Maya ancestors and the relationship between the Maya immigrants and Muskogee-speaking Creeks. The article also includes a long Itsate (Creeks of Maya ancestry) fable that is similar to the stories that became the Uncle Remus Tales, except it has a coyote as a protagonist, instead of a rabbit. I am personally never seen this fable anywhere, but it may have been forgotten by academicians.
As soon as I can complete transcription of this faded newspaper clipping, it will be published in the People of One Fire. The task is not nearly as daunting as transcribing the 1735 original handwritten copy of the Creek Migration Legends, so you will get to read it soon.
The Secret History of the Uncle Remus Tales . . . what your English teacher never told you!
While working as a newspaper reporter in Savannah, shortly after the American Civil War, Joel Chandler Harris transcribed a series of Creek children’s fables in the archives of the Georgia Historical Society, which is headquartered in Savannah. They were recorded by US Agent to the Southeastern Indians, Benjamin Hawkins, and still may be viewed at the Georgia Historical Society! Many of these fables were also published in a book by Hawkins, long before Joel Chandler Harris was born.
Harris was eventually hired as a writer for the Atlanta Constitution. Within a few weeks after arriving in Atlanta, Harris began a popular column in the Atlanta Constitution in which he retold one of the Creek tales in each edition. However, he fibbed and claimed that a kindly old slave, named Uncle Remus, who lived on his family’s plantation, told him these stories. Most people assumed that he had written the stories. The Uncle Remus Tales were eventually syndicated nationally.
The evidence was always there. Creeks have traditionally addressed each other as Brother and Sister. There are no bears (Brer Bear) in Africa. It was common practice for Creeks to make seated statues out of vines and saplings then coat them with rosin from pine trees. (The Little Tar Baby) These were placed near cultivated fields and homes and used as very effective insect traps.
In truth, Harris was fatherless and grew up poor. He lived with his mother in a small house in the town of Eatonton, GA. Uncle Remus was fictional, but probably represented the kindly father or grandfather, he never had. The only time that Harris lived on a plantation was when he worked at newspaper office on a plantation near Eatonton during the Civil War. Thus, was spawned over 150 years of dissertations and theses about the Uncle Remus Tales . . . based on false premises. The wildly popular Walt Disney movie, “Song of the South,” was based on Harris’s newspaper articles.
Never did Harris admit that he had committed plagiarism of Benjamin Hawkins’ writings on a grand scale . . . and that the stories were actually Native American in origin. Even the anonymous author of the article in Wikipedia foolishly labels the Uncle Remus Tales as “African fables retold by Joel Chandler Harris.”
Now you know.
The following two tabs change content below.
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)
- The Mandans in Dixie . . . Part One - May 26, 2017
- Georgia gave the Uchee (Euchee/Yuchi) Tribe a reservation in 1958! - May 25, 2017
- What does Coosa mean? - May 23, 2017
- The Secret History of Northeast Alabama - May 22, 2017
- Outstanding website created by Alabama Office of Archaeological Research - May 20, 2017