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DNA footnote – Chiska and Rickohockens also lived in Southwest Georgia

DNA footnote – Chiska and Rickohockens also lived in Southwest Georgia


Anthropologist John Worth did considerable research into the Spanish and Carolina colonial archives while he was staff archaeologist at the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta.   In his research into the Battle of the Flint River in 1702,  he was able to determine the ethnicity of the allied Creek army, which devastated the Spanish and Apalachee Militia invaders.  There was a considerable number of Chiska and some Westo (Rickohocken) warriors among the victorious Creek allies.

We still are not really sure who the Rickohockens were, but the Chiskas were clearly Panoans from Satipo Province, Peru.  The Chiskas of both Peru and the Southeastern United States dressed identically, wore long hair and conical hats, plus were known as fierce warriors.  It could well be that the Chiska first lived along the Lower Chattahoochee River and that the Chiska in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia were colonies of the mother province in Southwest Georgia and Southeast Alabama.

It is also possible that the Rickohockens were South Americans.  They also wore long scraggly hair.  Westo is the Anglicization of the Muskogee-Hitchiti adjective weste, which means “long scraggly hair.”   The county in Southwestern Virginia, where we received so many DNA reports with 100% Peruvian DNA is located in what 17th century maps show as the Rickohocken Heartland.


The implications for DNA testing of Southeastern Muskogeans is profound.  Unless a genetics lab uses DNA test markers for each of the many unique ethnic groups in Northeastern Mexico,  Southern Mexico, Eastern Peru and Western Brazil,  they will miss most of the Native American ancestry of Alabamas, Creeks, Seminoles and possibly even the Chickasaws.

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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.



    Excellent research, Mr. Thornton! What specific DNA tests or testing firms would you recommend for people of Southeastern indigenous ancestry in order for the uncommon markers to be looked for?

    • James, I am not an expert on DNA. However, we do have folks in the People of One Fire, who know a whole lot more than me. They say that the best labs are based in universities, but they are much more expensive than commercial labs. Emory University has an excellent reputation because many of its people are also associated with the CDC. A friend, who works with genetics spoke highly of Family Tree DNA and 23andMe. They would be less expensive than a university lab.

      Richard T.


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