Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Guide to Creek/Seminole Archaeological Sites in Northwest Florida
Creek/Seminole archaeology in the Apalachicola River Valley in Northwest Florida by April Buffington is a Masters Thesis completed in 2006 at the University of South Florida. It is the only document I have found that provides a comprehensive listing and location information for all the known Colonial and Federal Period archaeological sites in Northwest Florida. It will be an extremely valuable addition to the research libraries of Creek tribes in Northern Florida, Southern Alabama and Southwestern Georgia.
The only criticism I have of this document is one that applies to virtually all anthropological dissertations and theses at universities in the Southeastern United States. Southeastern anthropology professors are grossly ignorant of the Creek, Eastern Peruvian and Highland Maya languages . . . even the pronunciation of the words. Thus, they miss extremely important evidence because they are unable to translate town and personal names.
I strongly suspect that Ms. Buffington was completely unaware that several of the town sites that she documented were either Itza Maya or Peruvian/Amazonian words. When students do try to translate a Creek town name, they quote early 20th century ethnologist, John Swanton, who apparently did not have access to a Creek dictionary, when he dreamed up farcical definitions. For example, Swanton and this academic paper translated Apalachicola as a Hitchiti word meaning “People on the other side.” However, Swanton did not know which syllable meant “people.”
Apalachicola is the Hispanization of a Peruvian or Amazonian word. The actual word is Aparashikora. It probably means “From – ocean – descendants of – people. ” Alternatively, it could mean “From – Pará – descendants of – people.” Pará is the region of Brazil that contains much of the Amazon River Basin and Orinoco River headwaters. This derivation is not as likely since many Creek customs and words are clearly from the Panoan Peoples of the Eastern Foothills of the Andes in Peru.
The virtual reality image above is of an Apalachicola town along the Lower Chattahoochee or Apalachicola River that I created. It is not associated with Ms. Buffinton’s thesis. To download this document for free, go to the following URL:
The Nene Hutke Dancing Ground people have tipped POOF off about a recently completed doctoral dissertation in California that would also be of interest to Creek and Seminole Tribes. It is Dancing Breath: Ceremonial Performance Practice, Environment and Personhood in a Muskogee Creek Community by Ryan Abel Koons at UCLA (2016). To download this document for free, go to the following URL:
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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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