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In the beginning there were the Choctaw

In the beginning there were the Choctaw

Few people question that Choctaw is the oldest and purest Muskogean language. This is quite ironic since Muskogee is the newest Muskogean language and the word, Muskogee, didn’t even appear until just before the American Revolution. In reality, the Muskogeans should be called Choctawians.

Architectural, cultural and forensic evidence strongly suggests that the Choctaw are the direct descendants of the original mound builders in North America. In fact, they could well be the descendants of the aboriginal people of the Gulf of Mexico Basin.

The Irreverent Observations of Bubba Mythbuster

Season 1 – Episode 4

NanihWaiya-close

Nanih Waiya, pictured above, is located in Winston County (East Central) Mississippi. Archaeologists have determined that it was built between around 0 – 200 AD. The principal platform mound is today about 25 feet (7.6 m) tall, 140 feet (43 m) wide, and 220 feet (67 m) long. This mound was surrounded by a ten feet tall circular earthwork, which covered about one square mile. Within it were some houses and communal structures.

The massive complex probably functioned as a regional ceremonial center for an alliance of villages over a vast region, which spoke proto-Choctaw and shared cultural traditions. Large numbers of people probably stayed in and around the complex during seasonal religious and market festivals.

The Nanih Waiya mound marks the traditional location, where the Choctaws “came out of a cave.” This cultural memory of formerly living in caves is similar to the migration legends of several other Muskogean tribes. Other versions of the legend state that Nanih Waiya was the place where the ancestors of the Choctaw ceased to be migratory.

Eighteenth century artist and explorer, George Catlin wrote:

“The Choctaws a great many winters ago commenced moving from the country where they then lived, which was a great distance to the west of the great river and the mountains of snow, and they were a great many years on their way. A great medicine man led them the whole way, by going before with a red pole, which he stuck in the ground every night where they encamped. This pole was every morning found leaning to the east, and he told them that they must continue to travel to the east until the pole would stand upright in their encampment, and that there the Great Spirit had directed that they should live.”

Today, the popular concept is that the Choctaw and Chickasaw were Mississippi tribes, who now mostly live in Oklahoma. However, up until the mid-1700s, most of the indigenous peoples of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle spoke dialects of either Choctaw or Chickasaw . . . which are very similar languages. In Colonial times, Choctaw speakers were concentrated in eastern Mississippi, Mississippi Coastal Plain, southeastern Louisiana, western Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The massive towns along the western edge of Mississippi were built by an intrusive ethnic group, but their commoners may have originally been Choctaw speakers. The chroniclers of the De Soto expedition recorded very few Muskogean town names along the Mississippi River.

The Chickasaw occupied all of the northern fourth of the future state of Alabama, plus the western 2/3 of Tennessee, the western fourth of Kentucky, and smaller provinces in northwest, northeast and southwest Georgia. The Chickasaw occupied the mouth of the Tennessee River on the Ohio River at Paducah, Kentucky until settlers from the new United States forced them out. In earlier times, they probably occupied lands all the way up the river to Cincinnati. At some point in the past, the Choctaw and Chickasaw were the same people.  Our next episode will be on the Chickasaw.

It is quite likely that the Choctaw formerly occupied most of Louisiana. Several versions of their traditional history describe migrations over terrain that included snow covered mountains, deserts and large swamps. However, the traditions associated with high mountains and deserts, just like their cousins the Creeks, may represent the dim memories of individual bands of immigrants, who joined the Choctaw Alliance.

Mounds, skulls and bones

A typical Adena Culture mound. Like Nanih Wayia, most Adena mounds were surrounded by earthen walls or ditches.

A typical Adena Culture mound. Like Nanih Wayia, most Adena mounds were surrounded by earthen walls or ditches.

There is a dirty little secret in the Ohio River Basin. I have the first modern anthropological textbook on the Adena and Hopewell Cultures. It was published in the 1940s, after pioneer anthropologists had been studying skeletons found in the Midwest for several decades. Anthropology books of that era provided extensive text on American Indian skeletons. Today, the subject is barely mentioned, because of the profession’s embarrassment over the discovery of hundreds of thousands of indigenous skeletons being stored in warehouses . . . for no particularly convincing reason.

The Adena People arrived in the Ohio Basin from somewhere else around 1000 BC. Their brachycephalic skulls and robust, medium height skeletons were very different from the inhabitants, who preceded them, but also the creators of the Hopewell Culture, who arrived in the region around 100 BC – 0 AD.  The Adena Culture disappeared soon thereafter.  Adena skeletons were more similar to the people of the Fort Ancient Culture, who flourished from around 1000 AD until the European Disease Holocaust.

Proto-Archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institute, Heye Foundation and Peabody Museum had brought back railroad car loads of skeletons from the “mound builder” sites in the Southern Mississippi River Basin. They were identical to the Adena skeletons. Midwestern academicians concluded that the skeletal evidence was absolute proof that advanced indigenous culture of the Adena originated near the hometown of General William Tecumseh Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio. The Adena then paddled down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to populate Louisiana and Mississippi.

According to their beliefs, the Adena invented mounds, pottery and agriculture. The Hopewell Indians then developed the concepts to a more sophisticated level and eventually founded Cahokia. Missionaries from Cahokia then introduced these concepts to the ignorant savages south of the Mason-Dixon Line. A version especially popular in the 1800s was the Sherman’s troops introduced corn, beans, squash and mounds while marching through Georgia, but that is not likely. <joke>

After development of radiocarbon dating technology in 1947, a century of Midwestern presumptions fell apart. In the late 20th century, mounds in Louisiana were found to be as much as 3,000 years older than those in Ohio and 1,900 years older than the first earthen pyramids in Mexico. Pottery made in Georgia was as much as 1000 years older than Mexican pottery and 2,000 years older than Ohio pottery. The oldest maize (Indian corn) pollen found in the United States was at archaeological sites in southern Alabama and southern Florida. The mounds and village platforms of Poverty Point, LA predate the first permanent Adena villages by 1000 years.

A 5,000 year old architectural tradition

Watson Brake Mounds in northeastern Louisiana

Watson Brake Mounds in northeastern Louisiana

The circular platform and mounds at Watson Brake, Louisiana were built between 3,500 and 3,400 BC. The communal structures may have been part of a regional ceremonial site or the focus of a village.

The landscape around Watson Brake has changed so much since then, it is almost impossible to determine if houses, composed of saplings and thatch proliferated in the area. However, one thing is clear, the architectural tradition of a ring of mounds surrounding a circular plaza moved eastward into Mississippi and Alabama. They stayed there until around 1600 AD. Even the massive town site now called Moundville, AL began as a ring of mounds. This tradition was confined to where the Choctaw and Chickasaw lived.

Poverty Point, Louisiana. This town existed between 1600 BC and 500 BC - the exact time span of the Olmec Civilization.

Poverty Point, Louisiana. This town existed between 1600 BC and 500 BC – the exact time span of the Olmec Civilization.

The Tchula Shell Ring was constructed around 500 BC, but is very similar to Watson Brake, constructed 3,000 years earlier.

The Tchula Shell Ring was constructed around 500 BC, but is very similar to Watson Brake, constructed 3,000 years earlier.

 

Birdseye view of the entire Nanih Waiya site - constructed around 100-200 AD.

Birdseye view of the entire Nanih Waiya site – constructed around 100-200 AD.

 

Moundville, Alabama began as numerous earthen mounds around a plaza. They were constructed about the same time that Tamaulipas was being invaded by Chichimec barbarians.

Moundville, Alabama began as numerous earthen mounds around a plaza. They were constructed about the same time that Tamaulipas was being invaded by Chichimec barbarians.

 

This is strong evidence that the primeval people, who became the Choctaw, can be considered aboriginal to Louisiana and Alabama. It is quite likely that over the eons, they received immigrants from elsewhere who introduced their own old cultural memories and new cultural traditions, which were mixed in with the aboriginal ones.

The Choctaw word for town, tama, is the Totonac word for trade.The Choctaw word for a winter house, choko, is the Itza Maya word for warm. Nanih Waiya looks like its much larger contemporary, Mound A Kolomoki in Georgia, but also much later structures such as Mound A at Hiwassee Island, Tennessee, an early stage of the Irene Mound in Savannah, GA and the Nikwasee Mound in Franklin, NC.

I am convinced by the 5,000 years of continuous architectural traditions that the Choctaw are aboriginal to the Lower Mississippian Basin and that the other Muskogean languages represent mixing of Choctaw with the languages of immigrants. However, how could the Choctaw be the descendants of an aboriginal people and yet show many Mesoamerican traits? The answer can be explained by the early cultural history of Mexico.

The surprising early history of Mexico

GulfofMexico-IceAge

Geological history is very pertinent to understanding the early human occupation of the Gulf of Mexico Basin. During the Ice Age and Early Archaic Period, the ocean channels between Cuba and Florida was little more than rivers between islands. There was a land bridge between Cuba and Yucatan. The coast lines of the region extended a hundred miles farther out. There were islands scattered across the Gulf of Mexico. The last one disappeared as the waters rose in the early 1800s.

Thus, it is quite easy to conceive a very early Pan-Gulf of Mexico culture around the edge of what was essentially an inland sea. With canoe transportation so easy, it is also quite plausible to visualize people from present day Vera Cruz to the Florida Panhandle speaking similar languages and practicing similar customs.

The aboriginal people of Mexico were not mound or pyramid builders, nor did they know how to make pottery. Mexican anthropologists are convinced that many of the Paleo-Americans of Mexico were of Polynesian or Southeast Asian origin. Yucatan’s oldest skeletons were Southeast Asians, who strongly resembled the Uchee of the Southeast.

Until around 1500 BC, Mexico lagged far behind Southeastern North American in cultural advancement. Both regions were developing native plants into cultivated ones, but in eastern Mexico, until that time, there was no significant communal architecture.

Then the newly arrived progenitors of the Olmec civilization introduced public architecture and pottery, then began to make great cultural strides as they developed the already domesticated plants of the region.  They also adapted domesticated plants from Central and South America to their environment

Of all the major civilizations in Mexico, only Totonacs and Toltecs were probably indigenous to the region for any length of time before achieving fame and fortune. The elite of Teotihuacan was Totonac. The capital of the Toltecs was named Tula, which is a Totonac word.

Totonac is a language isolate in Mexico. The only other languages in which one finds Totonac words are Itza Maya and guess where else? . . . the Muskogean languages. The Itza were not ethnic Mayas, but apparently were originally Panoans from Peru, who were ruled by the Totonacs for about 500 years.

The Mayas and Huastecs came from either Central America or Colombia. The ancestors of the Aztecs originated from around Lake Athabaska and the Great Slave Lake in western Canada. The Zoque came by water over the Caribbean Sea. The Zapotecs were from Central America or South America. The Purepeche were from either Peru or Ecuador.

Not too much is known about the aboriginal peoples of Mexico’s Gulf Coast, but we are trying to learn more. According to the Creek Migration Legend, the Upper Creek’s ancestors came from the western mountains of Vera Cruz. The Hichiti-speaking Creeks, Seminoles and Miccosukee came from farther north in Tamaulipas and farther south in Tabasco and Chiapas. You can see Muskogean words, prefixes and suffixes in several village names of Tamaulipas State today.

What we do know is that the aboriginal peoples were pushed out of the southern Vera Cruz Coastal Plain by the Zoque around 1400 BC; out of the northern Vera Cruz Coastal Plain by the Huastecs around 1000 BC and out of the Sierra Orientale Mountains by the Aztecs around 1200 AD.

Ethnic groups using words and grammar similar to Muskogean continued to live in the less fertile Tamaulipas region of northeastern Mexico until 1250 AD, when they were driven out by the Chichimec barbarians, and ultimately replaced by Nahua speaking peoples. The Tamauli built pyramidal earthen mounds that were stuccoed with brightly colored clays.

Knowing that there were peoples to the northeast, who spoke similar languages and practiced similar customs, it was natural that many Tamaule refugees headed in that direction, by canoe or foot around 1200-1250 AD, and perhaps earlier. In fact, their name survives in several Muskogean place and ethnic names around the Southeast . . . Tama, Tamasee, Tamale, Tamate, Tamatli, Tamakoa, Tamahiti (Tomahitan), Altamaha, Tomatly, etc.

One band of refugees from Tamaulipas, elected to take Chontal Maya sailboats southward to the Chontal Homeland in Tabasco State. Today, their descendants go by their Itza name of Tamulte. They are the only indigenous people in Mexico, who eat corn on the cob and grits or dance the Stomp Dance. Their calendar is the only one in Mexico that begins on the Summer Solstice. They are also the only tribe in Mexico, who celebrate the Green Corn Festival. Now which group of tribes in the United States also has those cultural traditions? Perhaps, were they the same peoples, who also built pyramidal earthen mounds, stuccoed with brightly colored clays?

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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.

17 Comments

  1. The Adena People arrived in the Ohio Basin from somewhere else around 1000 BC.

    The original posting had a typo and said 1000 AD!

    Reply
    • I saw that article Christine! I wrote the author, “Where were you three years ago when we needed you?” LOL

      Reply
  2. urisahatu@yahoo.com'

    Thoughts and Theories on the peopling of Southeastern North America.

    After having read this post and the previous post it is very clear that the native population of Southeastern North America (SeNA) consists of people of different origins who in later times have mixed after or maybe even mixed prior to peopling SeNA.

    In the previous post I brought up the topic of the discovery of a possible sunken city off the coast of Cuba.

    If the anomalies on the sonar images are proven to be man-made; than we (might) have a very important piece of the puzzle.

    Theory/Theories:

    The sunken city may have been the main seaport/cultural centre connecting South-, Central- and North America (SeNA) together.

    As any (major) seaport around the world; the city would have been (temporarly) inhabited by people of different origins. To communicate with eachother they developed a form of pidgin-language which later developed into a Creole language.

    After a major cataclysm the seaport city sunk (rising sea level) the inhabitants fled into all directions into South-, Central and North America (SeNA).
    ——————————

    On the case of the possible link between Polynesians/Souteast Asians and natives of Mexico and the Uchee(Yuchi).

    In July this year (2015) it was announced that two separate studies published in the journals Science and Nature found evidence (DNA) linking some Native Americans to Oceanians (Australia, Melanesia, Papua etc.).

    Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33612869

    Some skulls of the Botocudo of Brazil are linked to Polynesians.

    Link: http://www.nature.com/news/dna-study-links-indigenous-brazilians-to-polynesians-1.12710

    If all is proven right/true than the peopling of SeNA could become more mysterious and complex.

    There are atleast two Polynesian sounding placenames on the American continent(s).

    ‘Matarani’ – a seaport in Southern Peru (South America).

    ‘Sinaloa’ – on the Mexican westcoast with the Gulf of California on the opposite side (Central America).

    Reply
    • You know I have ALWAYS suspected that the Zoque, who founded the Olmec Civilization were from that area of western Cuba that sunk. All that we now know about their origins is that they arrived on the Gulf Coast of Mexico around 1600 BC in large canoe flotillas. This is also the time when Poverty Point, LA was begun.

      Reply
  3. urisahatu@yahoo.com'

    I’ve done some brief research on the language of the Zoque.

    In doing so I noticed that all (known) dialects of the Zoque have the word ‘kuy’ for tree and the word ‘ay’ for leaf.

    This reminded me of the Mexican anthropologists are convinced that many of the Paleo-Americans of Mexico were of Polynesian or Southeast Asian origin.

    With that in mind I did some brief research on the Austronesian languages and found some interesting similarities which maybe indicates there is some grane of truth to the claim of Polynesian and / or Southeast Asian origin of the Paleo-Americans of Mexico.
    ————–

    Zoque language/dialects:

    Zoque Texistepec

    Tree = kuy
    Leaf = ay

    Sources: Cysouw, Michael,
    Soren Wichmann & David Kamholz ; 2006

    ‘A critique of the separation base method for genealogical subgrouping,
    with data from Mixe-Zoquean.
    Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 13.2-3 225-26. ‘

    Proto Mixe Zoque

    Tree = kuy
    Leaf = ay

    Sources: Soren Wichmann ; 1995

    ‘The relationship among the Mixe-Zoquean Languages of Mexico.
    Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press’
    —————

    Austronesian / Malayo-Polynesian languages/dialects:

    Manobo Western Bukidnon:

    Tree = kuyu
    Leaf = dahun

    Malay:

    Tree = pohon kayu
    Wood = kayu
    Leaf = daun

    (Papua New Guinea/PNG)

    Roinji:

    Tree = kai
    Leaf = kailon (kailong?)

    Nengaya:

    Tree = ai
    Leaf = ailon (ailong?)

    Sources (for Roinji and Nengaya): Bruce A Hooley ; 1971

    ‘Austronesian Languages of the Morobe District, Papua.
    in: Oceanic Linguistics. Vol X, N 2. Honolulu:
    The University Press of Hawaii. 79-151.’
    —————–

    Zoque : Tree = kuy —- Leaf = ay
    Manobo: Tree = kuyu – Leaf = dahun
    Malay: Tree = kayu —- Leaf = dahun
    Roinji: Tree = kai —— Leaf = kailon
    Nengaya: Tree = ai —- Leaf = ailon

    Possible rootwords:
    Tree = kai (kayu/ kay)
    Leaf = ai (aylon/ ay’on/ ay)

    Maybe it’s too far fetched; yet one have to keep in mind that language is always evolving.

    Did the Polynesians and / or Southeast Asians really reached Central America (Mexico)?
    If the Zoque who possibly founded the Olmec Civilazation came from a possible sunken city on the west coast of Cuba; and if the Zoque is related (mixed?) to the Polynesians, Southeast Asians; how did they ended up on the opposite side (east instead of west) of Central America?

    There does seem to be atleast three (3) distinct origins within the Olmec Civilazation which can be seen by looking at the many different stone Olmec Heads(Faces).

    Could it be that some are Polynesian, Southeast Asian faces and some are Melanesian, Papuan faces?
    It could explain why there are similar words for tree and leaf to be found in the Zoque language.

    Reply
    • It’s not far fetched. The oldest DNA in Mexico is SE Asian or Polynesian. To me, one of the two ethnic groups, who composed the Olmec Civilization look very Polynesian.

      When I was in Mexico on the fellowship, the Mexican archaeologists told me that there was still a Polynesian culture on the Baja California Peninsula, when the Spanish arrived. They were convinced that several cultural traits in Mesoamerica came from Polynesia.

      However, I was very young and mainly interested in architecture, because I was an architecture student. I just listened to what they said, but didn’t give much thought to it at the time.

      Reply
      • urisahatu@yahoo.com'

        I’ve heard and read theories about a hypothetical (possible) Polynesian presence on the Baja California Peninsula.

        When it’s proven to be right; it would explain the Polynesian sounding placename ‘Sinaloa’ on the west coast of Mexico.

        This would however not explain a possible Polynesian, SE Asian link with the Olmec civilization via a possible founder population the Zoque who supposedly came from (a possible sunken city off the westcoast of) Cuba.

        If there really is a connection between Polynesians in Baja California Peninsula, Sinaloa (mainland Mexico) and the Olmec civilization; it would mean that the Polynesians sailed southwards from Sinaloa along the shores of westcoast Central America to reach Oaxaca (province Mexico) and from thereon migrating northwards over land to the location of the Olmec civilization on the eastcoast of Central America; atleast that would make more sense.

        This could explain why only few and not many (most) Zoque words are similar to Polynesian and SE Asian words.

        Unless Polynesians and SE Asians migrated from westcoast Central America to the eastcoast towards Cuba prior to the rising sea level; the out of Cuba (backmigration perhaps?) scenario atleast for the Polynesians and SE Asians is unlikely.
        ————————

        This all is ofcourse speculation and theory.

        It would be great if someone would set up a research team and conduct a professional archeological, anthropological study on the possible Polynesian and SE Asian connection with Central(Meso-)America.

        Reply
        • Keep in mind that Polynesians were the aboriginal people of Yucatan. The Mayas arrived thousands of years later. I understand that Polynesian skeletons have also been found on the coastal islands of the State of California.

          The Aborigines arrived in Australia over 50,000 years ago. That gives plenty of time for Southeast Asians or Polynesians to wander all over the Americas.

          Reply
  4. urisahatu@yahoo.com'

    If Polynesians (and SE Asians) were the aboriginal people of Yucatan; it would mean that the current study and knowledge on Polynesians is all wrong.
    ———————–

    My thoughts and theory:

    It is widely accepted that Polynesians or to be more precise Austronesians (the Polynesian forbearers) spread from Taiwan (some believe ultimately from South China) through Island Southeast Asia and Melanesia around 3000 BCE.

    The Polynesians didn’t reached Hawai’i until 500 (400?)CE and Rapa Nui (Easter island) until 700 – 800 CE.

    This would make it too late for them to be the aboriginal people of the Yucatan since by then the Olmec civilization (1500 BCE – 200 CE) would already have ceased to exist and the Maya civilization (200 CE – 900? CE) would already be in the classic state.

    With the current knowledge on Polynesians it would make more sense that they migrated to Central America during the classic Mayan civilization (in small numbers) and settled amongst the natives of the Yucatan.

    From thereon they developed a pidgin language to communicate with the local natives (mixe-Zoque etc.) perhaps even developed a Creole language.
    Which would explain the similar words for Tree and Leaf found in Austronesian/Malayo-Polynesian and Zoque languages/dialects.

    If the Polynesians (and SE Asians) mixed with the natives of the Yucatan or stayed a separate communion is another question.

    Reply
  5. urisahatu@yahoo.com'

    Although ‘m not entirely convinced that Polynesians and SE Asians are the aboriginal people of the Yucatan; it is worth looking into it.

    The lexical items that can link Polynesians and SE Asians to atleast the Zoque language are of interest.

    Lexical items:
    – tree = kuy (Zoque)
    – leaf = ay ( ,, )
    ——————-
    Proto-Ongan (Andaman islands)

    Kayiw = forest, stick
    Bebe = leaf
    ————-
    Atayal (Taiwan – dialect)

    Kahuy = tree
    Abay = leaf
    ————-
    Siraya (Taiwan – dialect)

    Bukung = tree, wood
    Hapa (Haba) = leaf
    ————–
    Manobo (Philippines, Western Bukidon dialect)

    Kuyu = tree
    Dahun = leaf
    —————
    Mori Bawah (Sulawesi – dialect)

    Kau = wood, tree
    Lewe = leaf
    ————–
    Mori Atas (Sulawesi – dialect)

    Kau = wood, tree
    Leve = leaf
    —————
    Malay

    Kayu = wood, tree
    Dahun = leaf
    —————-
    Efate (Vanuatu – dialect)

    Na-kau = wood, tree
    Naul = leaf
    —————
    Bieria (Vanuatu – dialect)

    Lakai = wood, tree
    Lukai = leaf
    —————-
    Maii (Vanuatu – dialect)

    Lakai = wood, tree
    Lure-ne = leaf
    —————
    Marquesas

    Akau = wood, tree
    Au = leaf
    —————
    Hawai’i

    La’au = wood, tree
    Lau = leaf
    —————
    Maori (New Zealand)

    Raakau = wood, tree
    Rau = leaf
    —————
    Tahiti

    Raa’au = wood, tree
    Rau = leaf
    —————
    Fiji (Bau dialect)

    Kau = wood, tree
    Drau ni kau = leaf
    —————
    Roinji (Papua – dialect)

    Kai = tree
    Kailon = leaf
    —————-
    Nengaya (papua – dialect)

    Ai = tree
    Ailon = leaf
    —————–
    Kemak (Timor – dialect)

    Ai taha = leaf
    —————-
    Mambai (Timor – dialect)

    Ai nora-an = leaf
    —————-
    Galolen (Timor – Talur – dialect)

    Ai’ron = leaf
    —————–

    Philippines, Sulawesi, Timor = Malayo-Polynesian (Southeast Asia)
    Fiji, Marquesas, Hawai’i, Tahiti, New Zealand = Polynesian (Pacific triangle)
    Vanuatu + Roiji, Nengaya (Papua) = Melanesian

    As you can see; the lexical items for tree and leaf in the Zoque language (dialects) are closer to Malayo-Polynesian (read: SE Asian) and Melanesian than they are to Polynesian.

    Tree = kuy – kuyu, kayu, kai

    Leaf = ay – ai’ron, ai’lon (ai nora-an, ai taha), kai’lon

    Word of interest: daun (dahun) = leaf

    The Polynesian words for leaf is clearly derived from daun (dahun).

    As in Malay (Malayo-Polynesian) dua meaning two; the letter ‘d’ shifts to r and l in Polynesian.
    In combination of the letter shift and the deletion of the letter n you will get:
    Leaf = daun, rau, lau

    In the Fiji language we have ‘drau ni kau’ meaning leaf.
    The literal meaning is:
    leaf of a tree (drau – rau = leaf, kau = tree)

    Now we can make the connection to the Melanesian (Papuan – Roinji and Nengaya) and some Malayo-Polynesian dialects of Timor.

    Kai’lon, ai’lon and ai’ron meaning leaf actually consists of two words kai (kau) = tree and lon / ron (laun, raun) = leaf.

    This is not a definitive conclusion; yet it does seem more likely ‘atleast on language based on the lexical items’ the Zoque are more closely affiliated to Malayo-Polynesians (SE Asians (admixed with/?)and Melanesians).

    Perhaps a separate (discussion-)forum within POOF can be constructed for the possible Polynesian and SE Asian connection with MesoAmerica (North-,Central- and South America?).

    Reply
    • urisahatu@yahoo.com'

      Malayo-Polynesian d to Polynesian r and l letter shift.

      Example letter shift from d to r and l:

      two = dua, rua, lua
      leaf = daun, rau, lau
      lake = danau, rano, lano

      Reply
  6. urisahatu@yahoo.com'

    I have took the time to do some research on the Choctaw language.
    In doing so I came across some interesting find.

    Choctaw:

    baii, baiyi = white oak

    iti = wood, timber, tree

    iti kula = a canoe, a boat

    iti kula peni = a canoe, a pirogue

    peni = a boat

    Source: ‘A Dictionary Of The Choctaw Language by Cyrus Byington,
    Edited by John R. Swanton and Henry S. Halbert’
    ————

    Here we have some Choctaw words for tree and canoe.
    For linguists it’s always the question if words are genetically related or appear by chance.

    Due to the constant evolving languages/dialects(loanwords) it’s often a
    long and difficult process to identify which words/dialects belong to which language family.

    Maybe there is some connection between the Choctaw and the Muskogee language.

    Example:

    iti = wood, timber, tree (Choctaw)
    eto = tree (Muskogee)

    peni = a boat
    pila = canoe

    For the word tree it’s more easy to imagine a comon origin and
    therefor a connection between both languages.
    In the case of the word canoe/boat it could be a bit of a challenge.

    I would like to remind you that in many languages we encounter letter shifts and letter deletions.

    Earlier we came across a letter shift from d to r and/or l in the Austronesian languages.
    Another letter shift from r/l to n is also common in Austronesian languages.

    Example: items – hand and five

    rima = hand (Tahiti) rima = five
    lima = hand (Hawaii) lima = five
    nima = hand (Tonga) nima = five

    If we shift(change) the letter l in pila to n we will get pina which would bring Muskogee and Choctaw closer together.

    peni (pene?/pini?)
    pina (pena?/pina?)

    When the word Kanoa/kanowa (Arawak word for canoe) has gone through the same letter shift r/l to n we get
    karoa/karowa – kaloa/kalowa.
    The Arawak word for tree is ada; the Warao word for canoe is wara.

    When we consider both languages (Muskogee and Choctaw) are related or atleast could have borrowed words from eachother
    we can perhaps ultimately link the words for tree/white oak and canoe together.

    Example:

    iti kula peni = kula peni = kulape = canoe

    eto kvlv pila = kvlv pila = kvlvpi = white oak

    ada kalo wara?= kalo wara?= kalowa?= canoe (Arawak/Warao)
    ada kano wara?= kano wara?= kanowa?

    In this case we can imagine some language (linguistic) relation between Muskogee and Choctaw and perhaps even to a South American/Caribbean origin.

    Reply
    • Oh yes – That is why Choctaw, Chickasaw, Alabama, Muskogee, Koasati, Hitchiti and Miccosukee are called Muskogean languages. They are all derived from Choctaw.

      Reply
      • urisahatu@yahoo.com'

        Very interesting.

        ‘m trying to find – identify possible Arawakan, Warao, Taino and Carib words in the various languages/dialects in Southeastern North America.

        The sunken city (if proven) off the westcoast of Cuba should be put back on the agenda.
        It seems to be a (the?) missing link between mainland South America, Caribbean and MesoAmerica.

        There should also be a research on the Guanahatabey of western Cuba. They were the inhabitants of west Cuba during the second voyage of Christopher Colombus in 1490’s.

        Were the Guanahatabey a remnant/surviving population of a once great City State on the coast of western Cuba?

        Reply
        • My understanding is that the Guanahatabey were quite primitive aborigines in Cuba, who were pushed inland by the Arawaks. Several ethnologists believe that the Guanahatebeys settled Cuba from Florida and were the aboriginal people of the Southeastern United States.

          Reply
          • urisahatu@yahoo.com'

            ‘m not convinced like ‘several’ ethnologists that the Guanahatabey were the aboriginal people of the Southeastern United States/North America (SeNA).

            I haven’t heard of an aboriginal maritime native people in SeNA migrating into the Caribbean.

            If the Guanahatabey were to be an aboriginal people of SeNA; there must be legends/myths – stories about them and an actual Guanahatabey related population still living on the mainland even durig the European settlement/colonization of America.

            It’s dificult to place the Guanahatabey since there is very little known about them and there is virtually no wordlist to get an idea what their language was.

            What if they seem to be living a primitive lifestyle only because their way of living (sunken city(state?) changed over night and weren’t able to adapt to the new situation? They could have been part of the survivors of a civilization in decay.

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