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Early Scottish immigrants . . . the joke is on me!

Early Scottish immigrants . . . the joke is on me!


The previous POOF article under the Humor column was an editorial about the statistically unsound techniques that publicity-hungry genetics professors are using to garner articles about their research in the news media.   The most outrageous recent case was the genetic analysis of a 10,000 year old baby’s skeleton in the Northern Plains.  It had DNA similar to modern American Indians and was near Clovis points.  The academic team then distributed a press release that stated that the skeleton was proof that all American Indians walked over the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska!

You can’t do that.  With only a few skeletons of this age being found in all of the Americas, one cannot generalize about them.   Vast areas of the Americas, like the Southeastern United States, have acidic soils which eat up skeletons quickly.  Also,  the coastline of Eastern North America 12,000 years ago extended 50 to 100 miles east of where it is now.  There are no DNA test markers for indigenous peoples east of the Mississippi River.  So, currently there is no way to know the ethnic identity of who was living in Eastern North America thousands of years ago.  However, what we think the truth is last Monday changed on Saturday morning.

At the end of the article I ran a spoof research report.  Supposedly, we had done genetic testing on a class of 24 students at McIntosh Elementary School in northeastern Oklahoma . . . the old Cherokee Nation.  All 24 students carried at least some Scottish Gaelic DNA markers, while only the six students, whose mothers were Creek, carried any Native American DNA.  The People of One Fire therefore distributed an international press release stating that we had genetic proof that the first Americans were all Scots.  LOL   I assumed that the story was so implausible that all readers would realize that it was a spoof . . . aka fake news. 

Ancient words

First, let me remind readers that geneticists have discovered that the aboriginal people of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands had black hair, brown eyes , bronze skin and Asiatic faces.  The ancestors of the Britains in the rest of Scotland and points southward had dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes.  Thus, an Irish aborigine would have looked similar to a mixed blood American Indian.  

I am finishing up a long, detailed article on the use of linguistics to create a more accurate understanding of the Peopling of the Americas. For several months I have known that the Uchee suffix for people or tribe is the same as the Archaic Gaelic suffix for a people, tribe or province.  It is re, reigh or ry . . . but pronounced like .   This past Wednesday I discovered that the people living in the aboriginal territory of the Scots . . . Ulster,  the Atlantic Coast of Scotland and the Orkney Islands, like the Uchee and Creeks, rolled their R’s so hard that speakers of other languages often write the sound down as an L.   This is the reason for the “lee” and “ly” ending for many place and tribal names within the interior of the Lower Southeast.

For about a year,  I have known that the original (pre-Cherokee) name for the province that roughly included the Tuckasegee River Basin over to Franklin, NC and Toccoa, GA was named Curra.  Remember indigenous R sounds were often written as L’s by the Europeans.  Thus, in that region, we find Cullowhee. NC,  the Judaculla Rock (Cherokee-nization of “Sky over Curra,”)  Cullasaja River, the Cullasee Creeks (branch of Creek Confederacy) and Currahee Mountain. GA.  Curra was the ancient goddess of fertility and the underworld in ancient Ireland. It was also the archaic word for a spear, so Curra was often known as the “Spear Goddess.”

This morning, while polishing up the BIG linguistics article, I became curious if there were any place names in Ireland or Scotland similar to Curra.  Oh yes!   Curra was the Bronze Age name for a kingdom that included Ulster and the western edge of Scotland.  That is the region that pronounces an R almost as an L . . . just like the Creeks.  There are several modern family and first names derived from kingdom’s name . . .  Curry, Cory, McCurry, O’Curry, MacCrory and Cora.  At that point,  I figured that I better write a short article on POOF, explaining my new discovery.  This is proof of what I often warn readers.   What I write one week as the facts might be proven the next week to be part of the facts. 



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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.



    Richard you failed to mention a very important point-apparently the baby was wrapped in a blanket that was translated as saying: “Making Siberia and Alaska great again;” thereby making your theory null and void?

    • Geez, I didn’t think about that! However, do you see the irony that the Southern Appalachians was repopulated with people from Ulster and Scotland in the 1700s and early 1800s ?


    I know I can be a bit dense at times, am I missing something here, can’t find an ancient goddess Curra of any kind, much less Celtic underworld

    • It is in Wikipedia under the etymology of Curraigh, Curry, McCurry, O’Curra, Curra.


        there it is,, when you said Goddess of fertility, I thought another name for Brigid,, when reading your Teothuacan article, I thought you were going to make a serious Cetlic connection,, I found this one and thought you might be making the same analogy when I couldn’t find Curra,, I can’t help wondering if you’re fishing, seeing if anyone else is connecting Teothuacan with Celts,, if so, the answer is yes

        • In earlier articles this year on Tepotztlan, Mexico I found a definite connection between the pre-Celtic peoples of Ireland and the pre-Germanic peoples of Scandinavia with early Mesoamerican civilizations and the petroglyphs in northern Georgia. Interaction from North America and northwestern Europe greatly diminished after the beginning of the Iron Age.


            A sculpture of nine eagle feathers commemorates the time in 1847, during the Great Hunger, when the Native American Choctaw People donated a substantial amount of money to the Irish famine relief.

            In 2015, a statue was commissioned to be built in Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, to honor the kindness of the Choctaws. But the story begins in 1831, when the Choctaw people were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in Mississippi.

            A few years later, Choctaws learned of people starving in Ireland. Only sixteen years had passed since the Choctaws had faced hunger and death on the first Trail of Tears and a great empathy was felt when they heard such a similar tale coming from across the ocean. Individual Choctaws collected and donated $170 in 1847 to assist the Irish people.

            Jump ahead a century and a half. It took a year for artist Alex Pentek to create Kindred Spirits. With its nine eagle feathers reaching 20 feet into the air, the statue represents “this great moment of compassion, strength, and unity,” said Pentek.


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