Richard Thornton | May 1, 2017 | 2
Eric Boot’s research on the Itza and Chichen Itza now available online
As we told you in an article late last year, Dutch ethnologist, Eric Boot, died recently. However, his legacy goes on. Academia.edu has posted his articles on the Itza Mayas and Chichen Itza. They may be downloaded for free. Here is a link to one of his articles:
Eric was one of the very few scholars, writing in English, who really sought to know the various peoples called “Maya” as people. Generally, I have to go into Spanish language texts to learn such things as that the Tamulte de Sabanos de Tabasco practice the same cultural traditions as the Creeks in the Southeastern United States. Typically what you get with other anthropological papers is professors describing what they did one summer while on a dig in Mesoamerica. No one realized that the Itzas had a distinct cultural history and language until Eric discovered that fact.
Why study the Itzas? The heritage of the Muskogean Peoples in the Southeast is complex. However, the Itza component of that heritage was very important. For example, the Hitchiti Creek verb for “to write”, chileam, is the same word in Itza, but very different than the Muskogee verb for “to write” . . . which did not even appear until after contact was made with Europeans. The houses in the suburbs of Chichen Itza before 1000 AD were identical to the houses in proto-Creek towns in Georgia after 1000 AD. There has to be a connection.
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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.
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