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Guess which people compose the only federally recognized tribe mentioned by De Soto?

The Chickasaw

The name Chicasa appeared on European maps shortly after the De Soto Expedition and continued to be shown on the maps of North America until the Trail of Tears Period.  Incredibly,  neither the Chickasaw nor the Choctaw are mentioned on the Department of Interior’s NAGPRA map as being indigenous to the Southeast.

A few individual provinces were mentioned by De Soto’s chroniclers, such as Colima, Capachequi, Chiaha, Ichese, Talasee, Kusa and Okute (Okvte). They later became major divisions of either the Creek or Seminole Confederacies, but are not today individual tribes, recognized by the Federal Government. The Florida Apalachee are a state recognized tribe in Louisiana, but their petition for federal recognition has not been approved, so far. Those particular Apalachee are actually descended from Tamale Creeks in southeast Georgia, who converted to Catholicism and moved to Florida.   The Georgia Apalache were never visited by De Soto, but later became members of the Creek Confederacy.


Some authors claim that the Chiloki that the Spaniards met in present day South Carolina were ancestors of the Cherokees.  However, chiliki is the Itsate Creek, Totonac and Itza Maya word for a barbarian.  If you look at Colonial Era maps, you will see that those particular sweet potato cultivators, first moved to southeast Georgia and then to southwest Georgia, where they joined the Creek Confederacy.   They were probably Arawaks, because the Arawak name for sweet potato, aho, became the Creek name.

Later this week, Bubba Mythbuster will take you on a fascinating tour of the Chickasaw’s cultural and architectural history.  For unknown reasons, academicians and archaeologists seem to assume that the Chickasaws only lived in western Tennessee, and had only a marginal connection with the Southeastern Ceremonial Culture or any of the great indigenous town sites in the Southeast.  POOF is going to do something about that oversight.


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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.



    There is a Town below me on Highway 43 Named Chickasaw. 43 was a “Buffalo Run” , wagon trail, highway. Keep up the good work! You are appreciated. Kind regards, Dave Turner

    • People are going to be shocked how widespread the Chickasaw towns were. We are talking about regions where they actually lived, not land that they claimed.


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