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Images: The coastal marshes of Tabasco and southern Vera Cruz States

Images:  The coastal marshes of Tabasco and southern Vera Cruz States

The Migration Legends of the Creek People

In 1734, Georgia Colonial Secretary, Thomas Christie, wrote the Archbishop of Canterbury that while walking around the future site of Savannah with James Oglethorpe, Tamachichi (Trade Dog or Itinerant Merchant in Itza Maya) told him the origin of his people, who were the Itzate (Hitchiti) Creeks.   Tamachichi stated that they were from a land far to the south.  His ancestors had first crossed a great water to reach southern Florida.  There they lived near a great lake (Okeechobee?) for several generations.  They then migrated northward to a Land of Reeds (Everglades?)   After other peoples began to invade the region, they paddled northward until they saw a coast that looked like the coast of their ancient homeland.

Tamachichi said that the Itzate Creeks first lived where Savannah was to be built and that his ancestors were buried in mounds on Yamacraw Bluff.   That Itza Maya colonists would first live on the Savannah River seems surprising, until one visits the coast of Southern Mexico. As you can see in the photos below,  it is almost identical to the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia.





Mayas . . . Then and Now Series on POOF


Part One – When the Mayas Invaded America

Part Two – Meeting the Mayas

Part Three –  New Understanding of Mesoamerican History Exactly Matches Creek Migration Legends

Part Four – Origins of the Mayas

Part Five – Symbols of Earliest Known Olmec Writing System Found in Florida and Georgia

Part Six – Five Waves of Maya Immigration into the Southeast

Part Seven – The Chichen Itza – Palenque Connection


The Many Migration Legends of the Creek People

Images: The Tamaulipas-Chattahoochee Connection

Image:  Maya “Indian Mounds” and the Creek Migration Legend

Images: The Coastal Marshes of Vera Cruz and Tabasco States

 Article: Are the Muskogee-Creek People Descendants of the Olmec Civilization?

Article: Did “Apocalypto” Really Happen?

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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.



    Hi Richard. First, I’ve been reading your articles for years and am grateful for all I’m learning!

    I just wanted to drop a line and toss my proverbial “two cents” into the discussion ring. My humble light bulb went off when I read this part of your article:
    ” There they lived near a great lake (Okeechobee?) for several generations. They then migrated northward to a Land of Reeds (Everglades?) ”

    I am from the central east coast of Florida. I love FLA history and attend any event that highlights our history. I especially love maps, and went to an exhibition of rare early maps of Florida. One stuck out to me: it was dated from the 1580’s and showed Cape Canaveral! I always thought that was a modern name, but it then explained that ‘Canaveral’ is Spanish for “reeds!”
    And it is north of Okeechobee….

    • Yes, it is possible. Cape Canaveral was on the maps from the 1520s onward. We probably will never know for sure, since all Tamachichi said was a Place with Many Reeds.


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