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Lies your teacher told you about the Chickasaws & Creeks – Part Two

Lies your teacher told you about the Chickasaws & Creeks – Part Two

 

(Image Above) – This is a map published in 1701 by the Royal Cartographer of France, Guillaume De L’Isle. The map shows Eastern Tennessee occupied by Cusate Creeks, Koasati, Chicksaws, Uchee and Panoans, while Western North Carolina is occupied by Shawnee (Chouinons) and Creeks.  The French dispatched traders, Royal Marines and surveyors throughout the region from a fort near present day Lenoir, TN in order to make contact with potential Native American trading partners. A word like Cherokee does not appear on this map.  Tennessee and North Carolina students are not told about either the French fort or any of the maps from this era. That information would conflict with the fake history that they are taught!    

This 1715 map by John Beresford confirmed the French fort, but now showed Cherokees living in extreme northeastern Tennessee.

Reincarnated Cherokee Princesses, Casino Developers and Academicians Without Scruples

Most state history texts in the Southeast present Native American history as a series of fairytales that have changed little in content since the 1950s. The authors, hired by book publishing companies and the state bureaucrats, who approve these texts clearly have only a superficial understanding of the subject . . . at best.

A general criticism of all state history texts (both printed and online) in the Southeast is that they were written by people, who never had a personal relationship with a Native American.  They certainly never had one as a guest in their home or kissed them at the end of a date.  In reading the texts one gets the same detached feeling that you would expect in a textbook describing dinosaur fossils.  Complex cultures are reduced to short biographies of a few Native American leaders, more often than not with false information that no one bothered to fact check for two centuries.

The state history textbooks in the Southeastern United States present Native Americans as being at least irrelevant to the present and in most curricula, extinct.  Only the state textbooks in Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana present their Native American heritage as being a complex story of many indigenous ethnic groups with many different traditions.  Texas takes this approach also, but it is no longer considered a Southeastern state.

However, this People of One Fire series is focusing on the Chickasaw, Creek and Uchee Peoples of the Lower Southeast, plus those many other indigenous peoples in that region, who have been completely erased.  The discussion of Native Americans in Florida’s, Mississippi’s and Louisiana’s state history texts are so comprehensive that those three states will not be put under the magnifying glass.  We will focus on the official state histories of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.  These are all states, where at least one of the three tribes, under study, lived. 

Weird religion and basic greed

Four decades have passed since a group of affluent Caucasian women, living in Northside Atlanta, decided simultaneously that they were bisexual and in fact, were reincarnated “Cherokee Princesses.”  The leader of the group had lived with a woman on the North Carolina Reservation for a couple of years then returned to Atlanta, preaching the new gospel and desiring to become an archaeologist.  I was friends with her ex-husband, who happened to be a Creek from Southwest Georgia and who was a prominent writer on the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.   Most of her followers also gave themselves ridiculous Injun names*, abandoned their husbands, dyed their hair black and dressed like Plains Indian women.  Many were teachers, state employees and even professors.  All were politically influential because of their wealth and social connections.

*One of my cousins purchased the estate of one of these Cherokee Princesses after her passing.  Among her cult sisters, she called herself “Princess Chewanee.”  She was on the State Board of Education and several regional commissions.   He gave me all of her library.  Inside several of the books were notes sent to her by her “sisters.”  The notes and letters were very eye-opening for a simple Jawja boy.

These women set about to create a mythical version of the past, based on their extremely simplistic, and often erroneous understanding of indigenous culture. They spread their religion by their control of state historic markers, state history texts, museum exhibits and public television programs.  Their power extended to determining, which anthropology graduates were hired as professors and who was rewarded for covertly supporting their new gospel. During this period, my Creek mother, as Georgia Teacher of the Year and holding a Masters and Six-Year post-graduate degrees, was on the state history curriculum committee. She stayed strangely silent as these women rammed through their curriculum changes, but then would send me angry letters, complaining about the false history being taught to the next generation of children.

Their new version of history was at that time detached from reality, but now has become orthodoxy.  When Georgia was founded in 1733, the entire present boundaries of the state were occupied by Creek, Chickasaw and Uchee provinces.  There were very few real Cherokees in Georgia until after 1785, when state officials gave them land secretly that belonged to the Creeks.

At its maximum size, the Cherokee Nation in Georgia occupied less than 20% of the state’s land area. Ultimately, the Cherokees were forced out by state officials in 1838 . . . 53 years later . . .  after it was discovered that cotton would grow in Northwest Georgia and that route was needed to connect Georgia with Midwest via rail.  Georgia had already gobbled up most of the gold bearing lands from first the Creeks and then the Cherokees.  We will talk about gold later.

The activities of the Cherokee Princess Cult were supported by economic boosters in northwest Georgia and eastern Tennessee, who wanted to legalize the development of “Cherokee Casinos” in their respective states.  These men, thought by exaggerating the role and the presence of the Cherokees in their states and perhaps, even figuring out a way to establish federal reservations there, the federal government would permit construction of casinos. 

Some prominent members of the archaeology profession became willing stooges for the wannabe casino developers. They prepared reports, which re-labeled Uchee, Muskogean or Siouan sites as being Cherokee. Year by year, they extended the presence of the Cherokees in the South far beyond the dates supported by colonial archives and maps.  In fact, all of the private sector archaeologist-spokesmen for the US Forest Service’s “Maya Myth-busting in the Mountains” Program in 2012, had previously worked for casino developers or the Eastern Band of Cherokees in North Carolina.

At this point, it should be emphasized that the Cherokees played no role in the colonial Province of Georgia and that the North Carolina Cherokees were arch-enemies of the Patriots in Georgia during the American Revolution.  In 1776, white men with Native American wives fled the chaos of the American Revolution and established farmsteads at the edge of the mountains in present day Bartow and Gilmer Counties. The mixed-blood children of these white men became the leaders of the Cherokee Nation in the 1800s, even though many of their Native American mothers were not even Cherokee.

In 1780, a small band of renegade Cherokees under Chief Sour Mush traveled down into Georgia and established a camp on Upper Creek land in present day Pickens County, GA. Along with a troop of Tory Rangers, living with them under the command of Major Thomas Waters, they raided farmsteads on the Georgia Frontier. In fact, my Creek ancestors received large veteran’s reserves after the Revolution, for helping protect their white neighbors from Cherokee raids.  The last battle of the American Revolution was a raid against this Tory base by the Georgia and South Carolina Militia, under the command of Colonel Andrew Pickens and Major Elijah Clarke. 

Georgia gave the Cherokees lands owned by the Chickasaws and Creeks in North Central and Northwest Georgia in 1785, in order to prevent the young state being surrounded on three sides by the much more powerful Creek Confederacy.  In return, Congress and then later, President Washington, promised that the Cherokees would be relocated out of the state by 1805.  The federal government reneged on its promise.  In 1790, when the Creek Confederacy learned about the secret treaty with the Cherokees, it declared war on the State of Georgia, but affirmed its friendship with the federal government.  

An example in Oconee County, Georgia

The effect of four decades of a combination of factual, fraudulent and obfuscated history can be seen in the version of state history curriculum taught eighth grade students in Oconee County, GA . . . which is immediately southwest of Clarke County, where the University of Georgia is located.  Both counties are located on lands stolen from the Oconee Creeks in 1784 in a bogus treaty, not signed by the leaders of Creek Confederacy and soon declared fraudulent by the United States Congress.  However, the local histories of both counties now state that their counties were created on lands formerly occupied by the Cherokee Indians.

The State of Georgia quickly filled the region, east of the Oconee River, with Revolutionary War veterans and so the Oconee and their neighbors, the Talasee Creeks in present day Athens, GA, had no choice, but to move south to Florida or westward across the Oconee River to still intact Creek lands. Once the University of Georgia was established in 1785, its male students became overly attracted to seeing pretty Creek girls skinny-dipping in the Oconee River.  So . . .  the State of Georgia legally purchased what is now the western halves of Oconee and Clarke Counties to end this voyeurism by the students.

The Okonee were a major branch of the Creek Confederacy.  Their capital was located in Watkinsville, which is the county seat of Oconee County.  The three mounds of this major Creek town are still visible, but not mentioned in any governmental or Oconee County Historical Society website.  

Oconee is an Itsate Creek word, which means “Born in or on water.”   It refers to the origin of the Oconee in the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia.  All governmental and historical society websites from Oconee County state that “Oconee is a Native American word, which means “spring on a hill.”  

One of the things that the Cherokee Princesses did was to substitute generic labels for words that were clearly not Cherokee words.  In fact, there are very, very few Cherokee place names in Georgia.  Three out of the five legitimate Cherokee place names in Georgia (Dahlonega, Yonah and Walasiyi) were added by whites, after the Cherokees had already been banished from the state.  Those three words do not appear on the 1830 official map of Georgia. Nevertheless, many white North Georgians today assume that just because a place name looks Injun, it must be Cherokee.

Despite the fact that Cherokees never lived in Oconee County, eighth grade students are issued a map showing their county to be in traditional Cherokee territory for thousands of years. When Oconee County teachers go beyond the scope of the state history textbook, they typically discuss “Charakey thangs.”  The presence of a former major, Creek town in Watkinsville seems to be unknown to most educators there.

Oconee County has a highly respected school system and has posted the beautiful Georgia Studies Eighth Grade textbook online.  Its URL is below.  Readers can look at the textbook for themselves.  The Uchee and Chickasaw Peoples are not mentioned at all in the book, even though the Uchee’s territory in 1735 was twice the size of the actual territory where Cherokee villages were located.  The many mounds and townsites in Georgia, which are clearly ancestral to the Creek Indians, are labeled either “Mississippian” or “Mound Builders”.  A favorite statement of the North Carolina Cherokees that “No one knows who built the mounds in Georgia” is included in the Georgia history text.   learning.oconeeschools.org/mod/folder/view.php?id=43520

Keep in mind that about 80% of Georgia’s land area was always occupied by tribes associated with the Creek Confederacy until ceded to the United States. Muskogean (Chickasaw & Creek) and Uchee tribes once occupied almost all of Tennessee.  You would never know that from reading their official state history texts.

In the latest Georgia Studies textbook, there are four pages devoted to the Creeks and 25 pages devoted to the Cherokees.  Since very little Cherokee history actually took place in Georgia until the 1820s, most of the Cherokee pages are about events and people in either North Carolina or Tennessee.  The Georgia text tells nothing about the long history of the many distinct peoples, who came together to form the Creek Confederacy.  It falsely treats the Creeks as one ethnic group and briefly states that the Creeks migrated from the “Southwest” some time in the past.  As you will read, the text then describes the Cherokees as the “most advanced Native American tribe in the Southeast in many areas of achievement.”

Tennessee’s state history text devotes approximately 80% of the chapter on Native Americans to the Cherokees. It does mention the Chickasaws, but presents them as a small tribe on the western edge of the state.  The “Yuchis” are mentioned once, but no explanation is given of their culture.  Tennessee students are never told that the main occupation area of the Uchees was in eastern Georgia. Tennessee students are never told that Creek provinces once occupied the south central and eastern part of their state and the Shawnee occupied the north-central portion of the state, north of Nashville. 

A lie, told enough times, not only becomes a fact, but in the 21st century Southeast, it became a religion.

The De Soto Expedition as propaganda

The most onerous activities of anthropology and history professors in Tennessee and North Carolina involved the blatant connection of the Hernando de Soto Expedition (1539-1543) to the Cherokees, when no Cherokee town names or words are recorded in the De Soto Chronicles.  In fact, ALL of the town names and Native American words recorded by the expedition in present day Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee were Creek or Itza Maya words translatable by dictionaries, except Chisca.  The Chisca were a Panoan tribe from Peru, but Southeastern anthropologists have never thought of looking up the word in an international anthropological reference.

The Tennessee state history text falsely states, “When the Cherokees in southeastern Tennessee greeted the Spanish soldiers of the Hernando de Soto Expedition in the spring of 1540.”   This lie has been told Tennessee students for a generation now, so that the current crop of text message newspaper and TV reporters think it is factual.  Contemporary journalism at the local level in the Southeast rarely involves fact checking.

At a conference on the University of Tennessee in 2005, a bleached blond, bubble-headed local TV reporter made that “when the Cherokees greeted De Soto” statement to crowd of academicians and Native American scholars at its opening.   NOT ONE University of Tennessee anthropology professor said a word.   I cornered the lady after that session and informed her that all those words and place names that she called “the ancient, sacred Cherokee words of Tennessee’s landscape” were Creek words.  She laughed at me and walked away.

Adopting the tactics of the white Cherokee princesses in Atlanta, North Carolina academicians have been steadily modifying history to make it compatible with their Cherokee religion. A substantial portion of the funding for the professors, who created the “new route for De Soto” came from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, the State of North Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokees.  In my office at Asheville’s City Hall, two state archaeologists and I told those professors that no 16th century Spanish artifacts had been found in the French Broad River Valley and there were no occupied Native American towns in the French Broad River Valley during the mid-1500s, when De Soto and Juan Pardo were wandering about the Southeast.  Nevertheless, the professors published two popular books, which have De Soto and Pardo passing through present day Asheville.

Keep in mind, that De Soto was only in North Carolina for less than two weeks!

One of those professors, Charles Hudson, went a step further.  He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and apparently wanted to show his loyalty to his alma mater. In his book, Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun, Hudson had De Soto traveling to Asheville then turning around and zigzagging all the way to extreme northwestern North Carolina, while supposedly trying to get from the South Carolina coast to northwest Georgia . . . a total distance in North Carolina of over 300 miles.  It was also in this book that Hudson, without any proof, because there was none . . .  proclaimed the Chisca to be one and the same as the Yuchi.  We are stuck with that lie to this day. Like a deadly pathogen, the false history promulgated by Hudson has multiplied and spread across the internet.

Hudson tapped a graduate student of his, who described herself as being Cherokee, to write the chapter in his book, “De Soto in the Cherokee Country.”  It is, by far the largest chapter in his book, even though we are talking about less than ONE PERCENT of the total time that De Soto was in the Southeastern United States!  Readers were so accustomed to the narcissistic approach to any aspect of history, labeled Cherokee, they did not stop to consider how delusional it was for Hudson and the young lady to spend so much of the book’s content on this topic. They claimed that the conquistadors traveled over 300 miles of mountain wilderness in 12 days . . . which included a four-day layover to let their horses graze.

The North Carolina State History text presents both the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and the Charles Hudson Delusional routes for De Soto, with preference given to the delusional route.  Perhaps more accuracy could be achieved in their state history curriculum, if they used math teachers to teach state history.

Modernized history equal fake history

In 1673, James Needham and Gabriel Arthur, traveled from the Virginia Tidewater region to northeastern Tennessee in an attempt to establish trade with the Tamahiti People there.  Tamahiti is a Totonac, Itza Maya and Itsate Creek word, which means “Merchant People.”  The Tamahiti’s home base was the Altamaha River in Southeast Georgia.  At the start of the Creek-Cherokee War in 1716, they returned to Georgia.  The two Virginians encountered several people, who spoke either Spanish or Portuguese in southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee.  They spoke of Spanish-speaking villages, but also visited a town, occupied by whites, apparently at the headwaters of the Tennessee River near present day Knoxville.  It was built of brick and its resident practiced religious traditions, typical of Anatolian and Armenian Orthodox Christianity.  They also mentioned a town, built of wood, which was occupied by Africans. 

In 1991, R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr., a history professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, published what he called “a modern English update” of the original description of their journey in the Commonwealth of Virginia State Library.  Substitute the words “fake history” for “modern.”  Davis inserted that Needham and Davis were traveling to the Little Tennessee River to initiate trade with the Overhills Cherokees at Chota.  The words Tennessee, Cherokee, Overhill and Chota are never mentioned in the original document.  He changed the names of tribes with Creek names to “Cherokee.”  He also deleted most of the references to Spanish and Portuguese-speaking travelers.  “Well, shucks Gomer . . . if there’uns wuz them durn illegal immigrants from Spain were all over southwest Virginny and northeast Tennersee, our good, God-fearn’ Charakeys couldn’t have been right thar.” 

It is Davis’s version that you will read in both the North Carolina and Tennessee State History texts.  You see his lies over and over again within an astonishing range of articles on the internet.  Even the article on the Wilderness Road in Wikipedia inserts the “fake history” version of the Needham-Arthur expedition. The legend of amateur “Cherokee History” websites add additional usages of the word, Cherokee, beyond what Davis inserted.  To the wannabes, use of the word Cherokee is like a religious mantra.

Florida’s state history text tells students that in 1646, Spanish Governor Benito Ruíz de Salazar Vallecilla ordered construction of a road between St. Augustine and the head of the Chattahoochee River in Georgia’s Nacoochee Valley in order to initiate deer skin trade with the Apalache Creeks, living there.  There a fortified trading post and small Catholic mission were constructed.  Virginia’s state history text tells students about a mysterious journey that Edward Bland, an English Catholic, recently arrived from Spain, made in 1646 from Jamestown to that same Spanish trading post. Georgia’s state history textbook leaves those stories out, because if there were Apalache Creeks in Northeast Georgia, obviously the Cherokees were not there.  

Georgia’s state history text fortunately does not mention the fake version of Gabriel-Arthur Expedition, but in order to fill the 25 pages allotted to the Cherokees, devotes an entire page to a fairytale created by white settlers in Northeast Georgia from North Carolina.  It is called the Legend of the Cherokee Princess Nacoochee and the Chickasaw Brave, Sautee.  They jumped off the cliffs of Yonah Mountain,when their fathers wouldn’t let them marry.  Nacoochee is the Anglicization of the Creek and Chickasaw word for bear. Nokose.  Nokose was also the official name of Yonah Mountain, while indigenous people lived in the region.  A decade later, white settlers changed the name to Yonah, the Cherokee word for a Grizzly Bear!  Sautee is the Creek word for the Soque People, who occupied the region north of Clarkesville, GA until 1818.  The Georgia history textbook does not tell students that both words are Muskogean, not Cherokee . .  . it certainly does not tell them that the Chickasaw village of Nacoochee was located where Cleveland, GA is today . . . just south of Yonah Mountain.  So perhaps in real life or at least, original fairytale,  Nacoochee was a Chickasaw Princess and Sautee was a Soque brave?  It certainly makes more sense.  Then again,  wannabes would not get that warm and fuzzy feeling from hearing the word, Cherokee.   And the beat goes on . . .

In Part Three of this series, we will explorer what State History texts in the Southeast say about the Uchee People.   The Uchee People are by a long shot, the oldest tribe in the Southeast.

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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.

7 Comments

  1. shannoneileen@gmail.com'

    Wow, wow, wow(!!!) & LOL @ “Cherokee Princess Cult”.

    Reply
    • I know several of their names. One of my cousins is a developer and bought the property of one of the Cherokee Princess Cult. She called herself “Princess Chewanee.” My cousin gave me her library. Several of the books had notes from other members in them. At the time, I was living in the Shenandoah Valley and didn’t dream that those books and notes would ever have any relevance. Life is indeed, a box of chocolates.

      Reply
      • shannoneileen@gmail.com'

        Indeed! Damn…

        Reply
  2. markveale@hotmail.com'

    Richard, Thanks for your articles. James Needham and Gabriel Arthur do seem to have found a mining operation down on the Tennessee river: “They journeyed nine days from Occhonechee to Sitteree, west and by south, past nine rivers and creeks which all end in this side the mountains and empty themselves into the east sea. Sitteree being the last town of inhabitance and not any path further until they came within two days’ journey of the Tomahittans.” ” Many nations of Indians inhabit down this river, which runs west upon the salts which they are at war with and to that end keep one hundred and fifty canoes under the command of their fort. The least of them will carry twenty men, and made sharp at both ends like a wherry for swiftness. This fort is four square, 300 paces over, and the houses set in streets. “Eight days’ journey down this river lives a white people who have long beards and whiskers and wear clothing, and on some of the other rivers live a hairy people. Not many years since the Tomahittans sent twenty men laden with beaver to the white people. They killed ten of them and put the other ten in irons, two of which ten escaped and one of them came with one of my men to my plantation as you will understand.” (25 miles a day @ 8 days= 200 miles from the French fort?) North West Georgia silver mines?
    http://www.carolana.com/Carolina/Explorers/abrahamwood_letter_1673_expedition.html

    Reply
    • There was a Spanish silver mine at the base of Fort Mountain in NW Georgia. All the other mining operations were for gold and precious stones.

      Reply
      • markveale@hotmail.com'

        “What does it profit a man if you gain all the whole world but lose your Soul” (Gainesville, Georgia Best Gold in the world?)

        Reply

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