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Do you have both Jewish and Native American DNA?

In partnership with Access Genealogy, the People of One Fire are finally going to do something about the injustice done the Sephardic Jewish pioneers of the Southeast. Their existence was completely written out of the history books by British colonial officials and later, American historians. We think that the Sephardim did not disappear from the earth, but assimilated with the Chickasaw, Yuchi, Creeks, Cherokees and Shawnee; or else moved to Savannah, Mobile, New Orleans and East Texas. Both the contrebandeur, Jean Lafitte, and the doctor at the Alamo were Sephardic Jews of unknown origins.

Just like the concealed and fabricated history of the Southeastern Indians that we have been working on for the past seven years, that situation is going to end. The report on our research will be published by Access Genealogy. If you have both Southeastern Native American and Jewish heritage, we need copies of your DNA sample report and/or family genealogies for this study.

Here is some of the evidence . . .

There is a Ladino inscription, carved on a boulder at 5400 feet in the Smoky Mountains that commemorates a Sephardic wedding held on September 15, 1615. Spanish Catholics used the word “suplicacion” for prayer. Sephardic Jews (Ladino) used the word “pre” for prayer.


In 1645, the Governor of La Florida established a trading post on the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River in the Nacoochee Valley to serve the Natives and gold miners living there. We strongly suspect tha the Jewish gold miners living in the Georgia Mountains gave the Spanish governor a propina in order to keep the Inquisition from knowing there whereabouts.

Around 1693 a British Army patrol observed a large Spanish Sephardic gold mining village in the Nacoochee Valley of Georgia. They noted that there were dozens of smoke plumes rising from gold smelters.

When the US Forest Service retained Johannes Loubser of South Africa to study and draw the Track Rock Gap petroglyphs in 2000, he accurately included the inscription, Liube 1715 on his drawings, but made no comment about this inscription. Liube is a name unique to the Ashkenazi Jews. The date 1715 is significant because that was when almost all the tribes in the Southeast suddenly went on the warpath and killed English traders working in their territory.

In 1745 a band of Cherokees, entering the Tuckasegee River Valley for the first time in present day Jackson County, NC (Sylva) observed several villages occupied by white people with skin the color of Native Americans. They reported back to colonial officials in Charleston that there were no American Indians living in the valley. The men had long beards. The families lived in log houses with arched windows. They “worshiped a book.” Most of these enigmatic settlers made a living by working gold and silver. They also had small farms.

Around 1765, the Talasee Creeks living on the headwaters of the Oconee River near the present day University of Georgia defeated the “Bohuran Indians” who lived in the region just south of the Nacoochee Valley. The Bohurans were forced into the Creek Confederacy. There is something odd about these “Indians.” Bohuran is a Breton (French Celtic) family name that means “drum.” All the surviving personal names of the Bohuran Indians are either Portuguese, French or Sephardic Jewish.

1775 – Irish-American explorer, William Adair, married a Chickasaw woman from northwest Georgia. Yes, that’s right, northeastern Alabama and the northwestern tip of Georgia were originally Chickasaw lands. As he got to know her relatives and cultural heritage, he began picking up Sephardic Jewish words and customs. Not knowing about the huge number of Sephardim, who escaped death from the Inquisition by fleeing to the New World, he interpreted these cultural traditions as being from the “Lost 10 tribes of Israel.” His famous book published in 1775, The History of the American Indians, espouses the theory that American Indians were the lost of tribes of Israel. It was a popular myth in the late 1700s that was only completely dispelled when DNA testing came of age.

Between 1780 and 1784, the original owner of my former home in the Shenandoah Valley, Colonel John Tipton, led several wagon trains of settlers to northeastern Tennessee from Shenandoah County, VA. Tipton observed several long-established villages in southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee occupied by Jewish families who spoke a dialect of Spanish. He said that the settlements were very old, at least 100 years. The memoir of his business partner, John Sevier, makes the same statements.

The United States government refused to honor the homesteading rights of the Sephardic villagers. Their lands were subdivided and sold to others. The Sephardim were driven away and erased from history. Native Americans know that story.

In 1828, miners working for South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun uncovered a gold mining village, built with log foundations in the Nacoochee Valley of Georgia. It was built along Dukes Creek. The miners also found 16th century or 17th century Spanish iron tools and weapons, plus a cigar mold!

Charles C. Jones book on the Southeastern Indians, published in 1873, mentions the discovery of the Spanish mining village. Just like the documents in the Spanish Colonial archives that mention a great Native American city named Copal, built on the side of Georgia’ s highest mountain, the Spanish Sephardic colonists have been a taboo subject among contemporary historians and archaeologists. No archaeologist in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia or Alabama has ever tried to find a Sephardic village.

Please feel welcome to pass the notice onto other faculty members or organizations.

The truth is out there, somewhere!

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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.



    In doing research on my Choctaw surname I located a person who I believe to be of my ancestor. My ancestor was a Frenchman – an Indian trader born 1743 at Mobile. The person’s DNA i had tested had the result of being an Ashkanazi Jew in spite of being also Choctaw native.


    I’d like to participate in this study but unsure whether I would qualify. I did the Ancestry DNA test and came back with trace elements of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian DNA for which I have no family story to confirm. We have always been told we are part Cherokee, and I have not been able to confirm this, but as you know, that word was used broadly in the early 1800’s when the dubious bloodline would have been introduced. The family story behind my suspect ancestor, who married my confirmed ancestor in 1838 Marengo County, AL, is that her mother “came from Georgia on horseback with her slaves to marry Grandpa Lucy.”

    • Deb,
      That was a study that we did awhile back. Do you know what part of Georgia your ancestor came from and what her name was? 1838 was the year of the Cherokee Trail of Tears, but that may be a coincidence.


        The name we have is Mary Jane Lucy. The marriage took place in Marengo County, and the family lived very close to the border of Alabama/MS before moving to Texas. The story about coming from Georgia was told to a woman who says she was never told about any Native genetics. She thought it would be easy to find out Grandma Lucy and Grandpa Lucy’s first names, but she has never gotten back to me, and it’s not easy. I have found no documentation nor any other living family members to substantiate any of this. I am not sure that Mary Jane Lucy was really her name. If I get more info, though, I will get back to you. Where can the results of the study be found?


    I have both Jewish and Native American DNA.


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Richard Thornton . . . the truth is out there somewhere!

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