Is Cherokee a North African Sephardic word?
Jonathon Rex, an avid contributor of intelligent comments to POOF has sent us a bombshell. Out of respect for the research he has done for this comment, I am posting the entire essay. However, I do disagree with his interpretation of Shawnee. As he sometimes does with English versions of Creek words, he researched the etymology of the English word Shawnee, when in fact, they called themselves Shawan, Shawano or Sawano, which means “Southerners” in their language. Nevertheless, his evidence of a North African origin for both the words “Cherokee” and Aniyunwiya are profound.
The Cherokees might howl on this one, but here are the facts. In 1673, two Virginians, Robert Needham and Gabriel Arthur, were sent southwestward by their employer, Abraham Woods, to make contact with a cluster of culturally sophisticated Creek towns in southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee. They were to set up trade relations with the Tamahiti and the Caskenampo (Koasati). Along the route, the men repeatedly encountered men speaking Spanish or Portuguese. In Northeastern Tennessee, the men visited a town built of brick and inhabited by Anatolian Christians. Nearby was another town, built of wood, inhabited by Africans. The Christian Anatolian word for tribe or nation is “ani.” It is the same in Cherokee.
In 1717, the first European map to mention a tribal name similar to Cherokee, labeled the occupants of NE Tennessee, Charaqui! One also sees the word Chiraqui or Chirakey on early maps.
In 1783, Colonel John Tipton (Tipton-Haynes House) and Colonel John Sevier led a wagon train of 80 families from Shenandoah County, Virginia to settle in NE Tennessee. While traveling along what is now US 11 in SW Virginia and NE Tennessee, Tipton and Sevier repeatedly passed through “ancient” villages occupied by Jewish families. I know this is a fact, because I personally restored and owned the Tipton House in Shenandoah County.
In 1991, a history professor at the University of North Carolina was given a grant by the Eastern Band of Cherokees to “edit and modernize” the original account of Needham and Arthur that was in the Virginia Commonwealth Archives. He changed the names of Creek tribes to Cherokee, changed the name of the main river to Tennessee and deleted most references to Anatolians, Europeans and Africans being in Tennessee and Virginia. This version is what one normally sees in books and on the web today. In addition to committing academic fraud the PhD in History showed his profound ignorance of history. Until 1785, the Tennessee River was called the Callimaco River, which is a Maya word meaning “House of the King.”
Here is Jonathon’s essay:
In North Africa the Moroccan Jews are known as Chriqui and there is a famous Hollywood actress who has the Moroccan Jewish surname: Emmannuelle Chriqui.
In Peru there is a province called Chiriqui and that may be from Spanish influence. The surnam Chriqui does mean “Easterner” and referred to Sephardic Jews in Morocco who were originally from Ancient Anatolia (whose capital city was “Ani” with Yvnwiya sounding an awful lot like Yvwiya (Yahweh). Your connection to the Chorokhi River makes sense in that light.
It is important to note that the French also referred to many Natives “east” of their forts along the Mississippi, including the Shawnee as Chouraqui. No Hebrew Cha’raccia means (Life Heavenly) and would refer to mountain people.
The fact that the French and Spanish were competing over the region throughout the 1500’s and 1600’s before the British really even gained influence in the mountains makes it very likely that the word Cherokee, Chouraqui wasn’t a reference to the race of the Indians or the origin but was a linguistic reference to their location. When the Spaniards began using the word for people they acquired it from Sephardic Jews. Chriqui became Chiriqui with the Spanish.
I don’t think the word Cherokee originally actually referred to a specific tribe or people but was a reference in the Eastern U.S. to the mixing races of Eastern people. Many were Indians, others were Sephardic Jews who arrived fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and found refuge as allies of the French among the Indians. The linguistics all converging and meshing well it seems cultures merged also.
When books were written comparing the Cherokee to Jews they were often written by crypto Jews such as James Adair from Ireland who immediately recognized Jewish traditions mixed in. Adair is from the Hebrew word Adar. Ani in Tsalagi means “a people” or “the people”. Ancient Anatolia’s capital city of Ani also was used to refer to “a people”. When paired with George Gist’s (Sequoyah) actual original script we immediately notice the style of writing strongly resembles Moroccan and Turkish Arabic that Arabic speaking Jews used.
When the Angolan African relatives of the Ndongo Queen Nzinga were kidnapped by the Porguguese in 1618 they were taken to Brazil and intercepted by a Dutch Man of War piloted by a Sephardic Jewish captain named Jope who left them to Jamestown in 1619 in exchange for provisions. Those 22 Ndongo were not able to be sold as slaves by British law because they were nobility in Angola. They all had Portuguese names before being kidnapped because the Ndongo were by then Christians. Jamestown, trying to keep a fragile peace with Opechanacanough gave them to him in 1619. Pocahontas had died in 1617 and her father died in 1618 and Opechanacanough hated Europeans and wanted war so they were used as a peace offering.
The Ndongo women were given their own village which they called Nsubwanyi (New Place) in 1620. They called themselves “Malungu” which meant “watercraft” in Ndongo and came to mean “comrades”. Powhatan men intermarried with them and the Ndongo warriors joined the Powhatan Confederacy by proving themselves in the Powhatan Massacre of the Bennett Plantation where the only 5 survivors were the Angolan slaves on the plantation who the Malungu recognized. During those attacks on Jamestown several dozen Slavic, Nordic and Irish female slaves were taken and they joined the Nsubwanyi. The Powhatan warriors also mixed with them. This gave rise to Virginia’s first major Tri-Racial group called the Malungees (plural). From Virginia some went south into the Carolinas and intermarried with other mixed race people. The majority went west into the mountains and were called Melange (mixed) by the French. These were ancestors of the Magoffin Melungeons of Magoffin and Floyd County Kentucky.
The word Shawnee, I believe, comes from Nsubwanyi. And so does the Cherokee suffix of “yi” which is originally Ndongo (African) for a place or location. That the Shawnee, Melungee and Cherokee were all relatives and connected to the Lenape (Delaware) is obvious. The Cherokee Moytoy Chiefs were all distant cousins of the Shawnee Hokolesqua Chiefs. Cornstalk actually married a Moytoy daughter to strengthen that bond. The Melungee being between them were absorbed for a time, some as Shawnee and others as Cherokee, in Kentucky. This is why all Melungeons say that they are Shawnee or Cherokee. They were called Chouraqui long before Christian Priber arrived and began trying to create a French allied communistic-life nation which he called the Chouraqui (Cherokee) as a French speaking Jewish agent from Germany. James Adair meanwhile was an English speaking Jewish agent from Ireland working for the British out of South Carolina. The British and French played an enormous role in the creation of the Cherokee as a distinct united people.
This is just the conclusion I’ve come to. Makes much more sense to me than the standard narrative given for the people being a united ancient people. Rituals such as “going to water” resemble Jewish baptism. In Tsalagi Yvwiya is a name for God and the word Yvwi is a name for the human being. The Yvwi in Yvwiya (human in God) is Pantheistic and matches the ideas of Baruch Spinoza and other Jewish Mystics of the time perfectly. Ayvwi was a word for the “Indian” and “Ani-Yvwiya” means “People of Yahweh”. This cannot be a coincidence.
The sacred flame, seven sided council house where the flame is kept burning, the peace town where war and weapons were not permitted, etc all very strongly resemble Eastern (Anatolian) Jewish customs. The fact the Cherokee and Shawnee wore turbans with feathers in them also is highly suggestive. Sequoyah was definitely Jewish because Christopher Gist was his grandfather through Nathaniel Gist. Mordechai Gist was his cousin. The Gist family were all Crypto-Jews (Jews living publically as Christians but privately as Jews). Daniel Boone even worked for a Jewish firm in Virginia that financed the Transylvania Land Company and Ohio Land Company which George Washington’s father helped create. Can’t recall the name of the Jewish firm but that is very well known historically.
Most real Cherokee today will notice when they do genealogy from the mid-1800’s back they begin seeing a lot of Native ancestors with Jewish first names. Old Abram of Chilhowee is a perfect example. Abram was used, not Abraham. Avram or Avi was never used by Christians at that time.
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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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