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Evidence grows for Jewish colonists in the Appalachians

The archival and genetic evidence is growing that there was a substantial population of Sephardic Jews and Moors in the Southern Appalachians during the 1600s and early 1700s. As late as 1784 (or later) there were villages in eastern Tennessee where the inhabitants spoke Spanish or Portuguese exclusively.

However, the latest DNA studies are downright shocking. The average North Carolina Cherokee carries more Middle Eastern DNA than the average Ashkenazi Jew in the United States. Not only do the Cherokees carry typical haplogroups from the Levant, but also other areas of the region. In a large Cherokee DNA sample, 34% carried typical Mesopotamian DNA, while 26.8% were in the Type T haplogroup that is typical of Egypt. Twenty-five percent of Egyptians carry Type T.

Shalom y’all!

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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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