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Hidden World Comes to the Light

Arawak, Tupi-Guarani and Quechua populations in the Southeast

If there was any moment when I personally began to question the orthodox history of the Southeastern United States, it was probably while living in the Shenandoah Valley 20 years ago. Archaeologists had just discovered a permanent Archaic Period community of over 1000 residents on the Shenandoah River near Front Royal, VA. Then an architecture client, who lived along the Shenandoah River near Mt. Jackson, VA showed me his family’s collection of Native American artifacts. His ancestors had plowed up these stone and ceramic items from their fields or retrieved from long gone mounds that were being leveled for more fields.

The artifacts were produced by an indigenous people who were clearly sophisticated and heavily involved with agriculture. What particularly puzzled me were the quadruped stone metate’s and flat tortilla/cassava cake griddles that clearly belonged in Mexico, Colombia or Puerto Rico, not in Virginia. Early accounts of the Shenandoah Valley described many pyramidal and conical mounds. Some pyramidal mounds still exist in extreme southwestern Virginia and in Loudon County near the Potomac.

The presence of a branch of the Creeks, with a heavy-duty Mesoamerican heritage and living in southwestern Virginia, is well documented by British archives. They were the Tamahiti (Merchant People in Totonac) also known as Tomahitans in Algonquin. They returned to Georgia in the early 1700s because of attacks by the Cherokees. Some Shawnees called Indian corn, tama, because it was originally obtained from the Tamahiti in the Virginia Mountains.

Yet, to this day, the Commonwealth of Virginia does not even list the Mississippian Culture as occurring in its territory. I dare you to find any official map or 20th century archaeological paper that describes an advanced, agricultural people living in the Shenandoah Valley. In the past decade, the archaeological profession in northern Virginia has begun to examine the region’s Native American heritage more intensely, but its findings are not reflected in official documents.

The People of One Fire’s research

During the past seven years, the researchers of the People of One Fire have focused on the surviving eyewitness accounts of Native American cultures in the Southeast. We have analyzed the contents of those accounts then interpolated them with information obtained from archaeological reports. In particular, we attempt to translate all surviving Native American words, and analyze all descriptions of their buildings, towns and cultures.

If you have not figured it out already, none of the research of the People of One Fire has an objective of proving any particular theory. We follow the evidence,wherever it leads us. If my professional experiences had led me to interpret the Track Rock Complex to have been built by Shoshone Indians, I would have said so publicly. However, we often find evidence that changes or expands our interpretation of the past from the previous day.

It happened again this past week. The ethnic composition of the Southern Highlands was far more complex than we had dreamed. The Itza Maya immigrants were just one of many flavors added to the cake. Their cultural influence on the indigenous Muskogeans created the modern day Seminoles, Creeks, Koasati’s and Choctaws, but they were not the only act in town. We will tell you about another act in a little bit.

Native Americans should first understand that the fossilized intellectual environment in America is a direct result of its dalliance with fascism. Successful research can only occur in an objective, free-thinking environment in which any theory, no matter how revolutionary, can be put on the table for discussion. We try to provide such an intellectual environment in the People of One Fire.

In an authoritarian society, truth AND history are defined by the oligarchy. Anyone who produces research that conflicts with the truth that was approved by the oligarchy is a threat to the power of the oligarchy. Like two year old toddlers, such people are driven by an obsession to control others. They will attempt to destroy an individual or a nation that they cannot control. There is no sanity involved with the process. This is a current reality that portends badly for the future of these United States.

During the strange events of 2012, one of the Georgia archaeologists, hired by the U. S. Forest Service to discredit the scheduled premier of America Unearthed, made the following public statement, “He is some amateur, who came up with some crazy ideas out of thin air.” In 2013 his friend from Spain wrote a commentary in an international archaeological journal that restated this assessment and added, “He is just an ignorant peon who is not qualified to talk about anything.”

Let’s see . . . what was the final score the last time Spain invaded the Creek Nation in 1703? Was it 600 out of 800 Spanish soldiers were dead on the battlefield and only 30 of the survivors made it home without serious injuries? You would think that a Spanish archaeologist would think twice before publicly slandering a Creek warrior, who was a complete stranger.

Needless to say, I was rolling in the floor laughing when I read the comments and salivating about the historic farm that this homeless mount’n boy could buy from the court judgments. Neither speaker had ever even been in Mexico, much less climbed up and studied the ruins of Itza Maya terrace complexes like I had. The reason that I knew that Itza Mayas had been at Track Rock Gap was that both the Creeks and the Cherokees called the area around it, “The Place of the Itza Mayas.” It was a no brainer, but there is a continuing story.

Evidence of immigrants from the Caribbean Basin & South America

It is pretty well accepted now that many of the ethnic groups in Florida at the time of European contact were of Caribbean-South American origin. The research of the People of One Fire in 2012 extended their presence to southern South Carolina. The Natives around the Santa Elena Colony at Port Royal Sound, SC worshiped the South American sun god, Toya, had Moche political titles and used Tupi-Guarani words. However, irrefutable evidence that immigrants from the south went into the interior is as follows:

Sweetwater Creek Petroglyph

The Sweetwater Creek Petroglyph was apparently at one time worshipped as a shrine. Georgia Division of Archives & History

(1) The first evidence of an Arawak presence within the interior of the Southeast was the Sweetwater Creek stelae. It is a 4+ feet high stone slab that was discovered over a century ago on a hilltop shrine overlooking the Chattahoochee River in SW Metro Atlanta. The shrine had stone steps. Numerous Native American artifacts were once scattered along the slopes of the hill.

The image carved into the stela is identical to a deity described on Taino petroglyphs around Arecibo, Puerto Rico. That region was inhabited by the Toa branch of the Tanio Arawaks.

(2) One of the first towns encountered by Hernando de Soto when he reached the Ocmulgee River in south-central Georgia was Toa. He said that the Toasi (means offspring of Toa in Creek) were different than the Indians in the Florida peninsula. The Toasi latter moved to the area around Birmingham, AL where English-speaking settlers called them the Towasee. By then they were members of the Creek Confederacy. Some of their language survives in a glossary. It is a mixture of Arawak and Mvskoke words.

(3) During 1564-1565 René de Laundonniére recorded numerous provincial and town names on the Georgia coast and along the Altamaha River that ended with the Arawak suffix, koa, which means “people or ethnic group.” The suffix is the equivalent of “te/ti” in Itsate Creek and Koasati, “ke” in Mvskoke or “kola” in Lower Creek-Apalachicola.

(4) There are several surviving place names in the mountains of western North Carolina, Georgia and eastern Tennessee that also have the “koa” suffix. Some are Muskogean or Maya root words combined with the Arawak ending. These include Toccoa (Freckled People,) Stecoah, Talikoa (Town People) and Seticoa. I strongly suspect that Amicalola and Nantahala are Caribbean or South American words, since they have no known meaning in either the Creek, Cherokee or Itza Maya languages.

(5) There was also an Arawak tribe living just north of Athens, GA until the 1780s. Its name was Tamakoa, which was Anglicized by early settlers to Thamagoa. The original name of the county seat of Jackson County, GA was Thamagoa. Tamakoa would be a Totonac-Arawak hybrid meaning “Trade People.” It is the origin of the Spanish word, Timucua, but is not what the Timucuans called themselves. The Tamakoa moves westward and became members of the Creek Confederacy.

(6) Tupi-Guarani DNA markers are showing up in DNA tests of some Creek Indians. At present, no geographical association has been identified.

When given DNA tests in 2012, several families in Towns County, GA (east of Track Rock Gap) were found to carry as much as 25% Native American DNA. However, almost all of this DNA was a mixture of Maya and Andean tribes that speak a Quechuan language. Some carried a trace of what was interpreted as “Muskogean” DNA. Their overall DNA profiles were entirely different than the Cherokees living 46 miles away on the Qualla Boundary Reservation.

(7) Items 1-6 represent circumstantial evidence collected by Native American peons, who are not qualified to know Native American history. However, the new member of the POOF research team from Boston University recently discovered an eyewitness account from a 17th century book written in French.

A French trader, who frequented the Mountain Apalache in the 1600s, stated that the King of the Apalache told him that in the past, many Caribbean peoples had lived in the Appalachian Mountains, but there were still some. They had their own villages, but were subject to the Paracus (king) of the Apalache.

Paracus is a Moche title derived from the ethnic name of the people, who built the Natzca Lines. Many words of Maya origin also appear in the European accounts of Apalache. Evidently, there were at least two major immigration’s into the Southern Highlands in addition to the large Muskogean population, which settled among the aboriginal Shawnee and Yuchi.

The merchant also mentioned that there had been a long war between the Apalache and Kusa (Coça in De Soto Chronicles.) Apparently, de Soto bypassed the territory of the Apalache because his guides were from provinces allied with the Kusa.

Thanks to a detailed description of a temple visited by French traders, that our Princess OMG from Boston University discovered this weekend, I have found another stone architecture complex in Union County, GA. The cone-shaped mountain can be seen from the acropolis plaza at Track Rock Gap.

Software used to find lost Maya cities in Mexico was given to me by ERSI. It was used to identify the ruins. According to the French accounts there are also the ruins of commoner’s town with over 2000 houses in the Nottely River Valley about 2.5 miles from the temple. There is also a set of petroglyphs in this area that are different than those at Track Rock Gap. We are trying to find its specific location.

This mountaintop temple faced the sunrise of the Summer Solstice, while the temple at Track Rock Gap faces the sunset of the Winter Solstice. Robert Wauchope was puzzled by these stone structures on a cone shaped mountain in the late 1930s, He gave them an official site number, which is in the state archaeological files. So Princess OMG and I can’t claim to have discovered them. Georgia archaeologists have ignored this archaeological zone since Wauchope visited it. These ruins violate the orthodox interpretation of history . . . and even my own orthodoxy from two weeks ago.

You can now all collectively say, OMG!

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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.

1 Comment


    The more I read from you the more I say OMG. Wow ! us Southerners are special!! Lol. I learn so much and sometimes it is hard to absorb it all. Thanks and Thanks for you hard work. I am beginning to understand my roots more and more. Now I am understanding why my DNA says South American, Turkish and of course knowing about the history of the British Isles forever.


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We are now celebrating the 11th year of the People of One Fire. In that time, we have seen a radical change in the way people receive information. The magazine industry has almost died. Printed newspapers are on life support. Ezines, such as POOF, replaced printed books as the primary means to present new knowledge. Now the media is shifting to videos, animated films of ancient towns, Youtube and three dimensional holograph images.

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