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Do you have questions for a Finnish anthropologist-linguist?

Do you have questions for a Finnish anthropologist-linguist?


Many POOF subscribers with Uchee, Creek and Cherokee heritage are showing up with Finnish DNA.  I found out this morning that “Forest Finn” DNA is also showing up in people with indigenous heritage from northern Mexico.   I have been contacted by the hosts for a Finnish professor, who will be vacationing in the Nacoochee Valley next week.  She wants to meet over dinner in Helen to discuss the research I am doing . . . but I probably have a lot more questions for her.    If there is something that you would like me to ask her, please write a comment to this article.

Well, I will have to be careful with my extremely limited knowledge of Finnish.   Over a decade ago,  I heard two young blond ladies speaking Finnish as they were doling out ice cream at a barbecue restaurant in Cherokee, NC.   I told them “hey, how are you?”  in Finnish as I got my ice cream.  The next thing I knew, a big, burly Russian Mafia godfather rolled up in a black Lincoln Continental, followed by four Cherokee Tribal Police SWAT squad vehicles.   None of the officers looked the least bit Native American.   They were going to arrest me for disorderly conduct until I pointed out that I was acting president of the Georgia Trail of Tears Association and a card-carrying Creek.   They then told me to get off the reservation as soon as I finished my ice cream and never to come back.

Afterward, my Colombian waitress explained in Spanish that the two girls were from Estonia and among the 1200+ workers in Cherokee with fake student visas.  These two also had fake Russian passports.  (Estonians speak a dialect of Finnish.)     The girls thought that I was a spy from the CIA or the Immigration and Naturalization Service since no one in the rural Southeast could possibly know any Finnish.

And now you know!

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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.



    I worked in Finland for 13 years, lecturing on campuses in Savonlinna, Tampere, Jyväskylä. Where is the Finnish researcher from? What are her areas of research?

    • I don’t know. She stumbled upon some of my articles or perhaps the Youtube videos, on the Georgia Petroglyphs . . . then read where I had worked in Sweden right after graduation from Georgia Tech.


        Have you met with her already or is the meeting with her still to come? I am interested to know how she developed her interest in investigating the Finnish connection to Native Americans. Very intriguing. Finns are grouped by region and often refer to themselves as being from a tribe (heimo). Like many cultures, ordinary people did not last names. You were Janne from your town or region. When Finland adopted family names, in many instances names were created by using natural features for last names: Lahti (bay), Niitty (meadow). Lehto (grove of trees), Tuomi (a variety of cherry tree).

        • No have not met her. My high school band director was Finnish. His last name was Kempe. What does Kempe mean?


            Kempe is not a typical Finnish name, Perhaps it is German or perhaps Swedish. The second official language of Finland is Swedish. For centuries, Finland was colonized by the kingdom of Sweden and many in authority were of Swedish descent. You could ask the Finnish researcher the question about the name.

          • I bet Bert Kempe was from a Swedish-Finnish family that left Finland when Finland became independent of Russia after World War I. However, I know he was from Finland, because he showed us slides of where his family once lived. I looked up the name. It is Northern German, Danish and Swedish.


            Neither Bert nor Kemp are names with Finnish roots. Which leads me to think the name is of German origin. Your teacher, like so many immigrants to the United States, may have started out with a Finnish name, but once his family crossed the ocean, their name might have become anglicized. Pertti is a Finnish male name, I can’t think of a trail leading to a Finnish person being named Kemp. John Morton, the signer of the Declaration of Independence, started out from a family where the descendant’s name was variously listed as Martti Marttinen (Finnish) or Mons Mortensen (Swedish). which as you can see, lead to the name John Morton being signed to the Declaration of Independence. It is likely that John Morton who was born in colonial America, was 100% genetically Finnish from both sides of his parents. Bert Kemp may very well have been a new name for a new life. That is one possibility. There are others.


    Hey Richard
    I would lije to know if the native Finns have any migration legends about where they came from, or any travel legends like the viking sagas. Also are they looking for artifacts that had been frozen in glaciers, like they have found in Norway.
    I hope you have a interesting meeting with her.


        And dont forget to ask about the gorgets the Finnish saami wear!


    I am 1/4 Finn/possibly Saami on my mothers side and part Chowanoke/Shawnee on my fathers side. Questions I would ask are about similarities between the sauna and Native American sweat lodge, Saami Laavu and Native American Tipi, Native American canoe and Finnish Nordland boats, Native American Longhouse and Scandinavian longhouses. Also weapons, clothes. footwear, religious beliefs (pre Christian), and foods.


    From Plato, the people of Atlantis spoke Finnish; from Don Greene, Atlantis had a major colony in the southeast.
    Perhaps she might like to try to decipher some names from Atlantis, as told to Solon and remembered by Plato, starting with Atlas, the first son of Poseidon and Cleito. Hint: -s means ‘son’ if a person, ‘clan-home’ if a place.
    The Egyptian priest of Sais said that Atlantians spoke the same language as Greeks, but not modern Greek, or Solon would have understood it. Rather Homeric Greek, which was Finnish, per Felice Vinci ‘Homer in the Baltic’, who discovered that Homer’s Troy was in Finland. His proof: The List of Ships in Book 2 of the Iliad goes counterclockwise around the Baltic beginning north of Stockholm.
    Perhaps she might like to translate some of Homer’s names, starting with Ilion and Iliad. Trojan descendants arrived in Ohio from the Po Valley (another Finnish name) in 400 BC, and somewhat earlier in central America from Tartessia in southwest Portugal. The fleet for both groups was Carthaginian; some navigators were from Estonia, where many of their ships were built from local oak.


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