Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Historic Map: The Cherokee Nation in 1810
There are a series of maps of the Southern Highlands, beginning in 1785, however, this 1810 map by Sturges has the highest resolution and shows all the Cherokee villages and hamlets, no matter how small they were. None of the maps between 1738 and 1838 mention an Indian village named either Taliwa or Long Swamp Creek. This Sturges map does label Long Swamp Creek. Below is a detail of the map, in which you can see Long Swamp Creek slightly left and above the center.
There was another bit of surprising information obtained from examining the historic maps. None of the Cherokee villages in the eastern and southern part of the nation had Cherokee names! They were either Creek or English words. Note the village on the right of the map above and the center of the map below. In this map, it is called Chota. In later maps it is called Frog Town. Chota is the Creek word for frog. The most common Cherokee word for frog is walasi.
Also note the word Noccassee on the right above and the center below. That is the Anglicization of the Creek word for bear. This is quite strange, but what I found was that in the 1840s, after the Cherokees were gone from Georgia, white settlers or mapmakers? changed Mount Noccassee to the Cherokee word for bear, Yonah. Chota Gap or Frogtown Gap was also changed to its Cherokee name of Walasi-yi . What has become obvious is that most of the “Native American History” kids are exposed in public classrooms was created by white settlers after the Indians were gone.
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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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