Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Marilyn Rae creates innovative music video to teach Cherokee
PAINTING ABOVE: “Water at Night” by Marilyn “Mary” Rae
Someday, the words “Mary Rae” will become synonymous with “Renaissance Woman.” People of One Fire readers probably remember her name as the diligent scholar, who discovered a 355 year old book, printed in French, which had been gathering dust in the “Fantasies and Utopia” bin of Carter J. Brown Library at Brown University. Charles de Rochefort’s book, l’Histoire naturelle et morale des îles Antilles de l’Amérique, contained two chapters that thoroughly described the indigenous peoples of Georgia in 1653 and provided a general history going back to the Archaic Period. Early 19th century Ivy League academicians dissed the book, because it contained descriptions of advanced Native American cultures in the Lower Southeast, who built large mounds and towns in the river valleys or large stone architecture complexes on the sides of mountains. They knew for fact that a region as backward as the South could only have backward Injuns.
Mary’s bio reads like a history of the Southeastern United States. She grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her family name, of course, is Scottish, but she is also a Cherokee descendant. She has substantial Apalachee and Sephardic Jewish DNA on top of the Scottish and Cherokee heritage. Her formal education from Boston University was in Spanish Renaissance History and the Romantic languages. She speaks Spanish so fluently that it fools Latin Americans. She is a professional musician and composer, whose compositions have been performed by orchestras in Europe. As can be seen above, she is also an accomplished artist. She was co-author and the artist for the covers of the books, The Apalache Chronicles, plus Nodoroc and the Bohurans. Both books are available from Ancient Cypress Press!
About 2 1/2 years ago, Mary decided that she wanted to learn Cherokee. Somewhere along the line between then and now, she decided that she wanted to learn how to play the Native American flute . . . and now plays it at a professional level. Voila! Miss Mary now has completed a new project! It is the introduction to a Cherokee educational film, but also could stand alone as a teaching tool.
The concept of her animated video on YouTube is to combine a Cherokee grandfather teaching the pronunciation of Cherokee syllables to a child . . . with calming flute music in the background. Many forms of music interfere with the learning of a foreign language . . . especially pronunciation. However, the Native American flute produces a meditative effect that allows the student to focus on the sounds and truly learn them. It is obvious that Marilyn is on to something and that this is just the beginning of many such educational videos from her.
Below is the link to Mary Rae’s new video. Yes, that is her playing the flute in the background.
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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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