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Eastern Band of Cherokees claims Clovis Culture was Cherokee

The Eastern Band of Cherokees recently issued a press release, in which a cultural heritage official of the tribe, Barbara Duncan,  described a program, which will help preserve 10,000 year old Cherokee artifacts found throughout the Southeast and North America.  Archaeologists label these artifacts as  the Clovis Culture.  Duncan  described the Cherokee-Clovis artifacts as being associated with the Archaic Period.  However, the Clovis Culture belongs to the Paleo-American Period.  The article may be read in full at this URL:


No archaeological reference could be found that confirmed the Eastern Band’s new claim.   The oldest known Clovis artifacts were found at the Topper Site on the Savannah River in Allendale County, SC, north of Savannah, GA.   At the time that French Huguenots explored that region in 1562 through 1565,  it was occupied by Uchee and Apalache-Creek villages.

Without specifically mentioning the Clovis Culture, the Eastern Band of Cherokees  has long claimed that the Cherokees were the first humans in North America, plus that the Aztecs and Mayas were their descendants.  However, most such films and publications get their chronology mixed up and place the Aztecs in an earlier time period than the Mayas, when in fact , the opposite is true.

Duncan is employed by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.  The museum’s logo is a gorget that was found in eastern Missouri across the Mississippi River from Cahokia Mounds.   The Eastern Band of Cherokee Cultural Preservation Office uses as its logo, a gorget that was found in Mound C at Etowah Mounds in northwest Georgia.

Cherokee Heritage Trails Guide, a book published by the University of North Carolina Press , claims that the Cherokees were the people who developed corn, beans and squash into cultivated crops in addition to being the first humans in the Americas.  The book was  co-authored by Barbara Duncan and Dr. Brett Riggs, an anthropology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,     These claims also cannot be verified by other anthropological or archaeological references.

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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.



    Musta invented arrowheads immediately following fire and slightly preceding pyramids. We owe them so much…

    • Phillip, you do realize that the Asheville Area was always Shawnee? The Swannanoa River gets its name from the Creek words, Suwano Owa, which mean “Shawnee Water or River.”


    Sure you owe them alot, but for what misrepresenting… themselves? The people who are make claims on all the things that are Cherokee have not been honest and accurate in the information that has been shared with the public for generations. Now, with so many people out there researching many things that had been taken for granted to be truths are now being shown in a very different light. Claims do not hold up to the information that has been out there in many old colonial records.

    • Hey Sheila
      I think that he was being sarcastic. There are a lot of nice Cherokee folks, but they were pushed aside about 25 years ago by people who are greedy and not terribly prone to tell the truth.


    It’s possible that the EBCI claims of relation to the Clovis culture may be hyperbole, but I think it’s a natural reaction to hundreds of years of disenfranchisement of Indian contribution to our so called civilization. The dominant society claimed Indians were too stupid to build mounds. I think it’s natural to reclaim as much of our culture as possible, and I’m sorry if it comes across as one tribe seeming to take credit for all of our ancestors.

    Statements like “Cherokee have not been honest and accurate in the information that has been shared with the public for generations” are I think demonstrably untrue, but understandable from a certain point of view. What is true is that so much of the culture was suppressed for so long many Cherokees are themselves unsure of what is real and what is not, especially since most of the errors were taught o us in school (and NOT the schools on reservations).

    Having been born and raise on the Cherokee reservation, I admit to a certain inevitable bias, but I am truthfully trying to be fair.


    • It is true and I have long time friends on the reservation, who were pushed aside when the current folks took control. The tribal bureaucracy has employees, who are intent on distorting history in order to inflate their own self-importance. I found the same trait among many white people in Western North Carolina,during the 10 years I lived there. The fact is that the terms, “a bunch of bunk” and “a bunch of buncombe” originated in the 1830s because of their propensity to inflate their own importance and the history of their region.


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