Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Mystery, speculation and mythology surround the chronology of Southeastern Native Americans
The chronology of the arrival of Native American tribes in the Southeast was already a big question mark prior to the discovery of the lost documents in Lambeth Palace, UK during April 2015. Now everything has been turned upside down. Who would have thought that the original “Creek Confederacy” would have included the Chickasaw and Alabama, but no tribe that spoke the Muskogee language or that the oldest “Creek town” was at Savannah? Who would have thought that the elite of the great province of Kusa, were actually the same people as the Cusabo and that both had ancestors from Peru?
None of the Southeastern tribes are pure ethnic groups today. All took in remnant tribes back in the 1600s through the 1800s. The enhanced immunity of mixed bloods with European and/or African ancestors enabled them to have a much higher survival rates during European plagues. The fact is today, very few “card-carrying” members of federally-recognized Southeastern tribes carry even 50% Asiatic DNA . . . 40% is considered an unusually high figure. Many federally recognized Cherokees have 0-2% Asiatic DNA, but twice as much Semitic DNA as practicing American Jews.
This topsy-turvy situation is further complicated by increasing evidence that ethnologist Charles de Rochefort’s 17th century book, which put substantial numbers of Caribbean and South American peoples in the Southeast, appears to be on target. They are completely out of the world view of most Southeastern anthropologists.
Bubba Mythbuster began with an analysis of the Uchee/Euchee/Yuchi and now will continue his irreverent look into the evidence this week with the Muskogeans. Right now the seniority list for major Southeastern tribes looks like this: In several cases, their ranking is based on when two or more ethnic groups mixed.
- Southern Siouans
- Southern Shawnee
- Virginia & Carolina Algonquians
- Okate, Wakata, Tekesta
- Panaoan-Swift Creek Culture & Chiska
- Caddo-Tunica-Chimacha & proto-Natchez, etc.
- Southern Arawaks (Peruvians ~ Southern Highlands
- Mapile (Mobile), Tamatli, Tamahiti, Colima
- Cusabo (South Carolina Coast & NW Georgia)
- Tupi (Georgia Coast)
- Satibo (Calusa, Satibo in GA Coast and NC Mountains)
- Orinoco Arawaks (Timicoa)
- Tulahalwase (Florida Apalache)
- Muskogee-speakers (originally NC Mountains)
- Kusate (Upper Creeks)
- Ilape (Pee Dee & Hillabee Creeks)
- Tokase and Kowete (Coweta)
- Rickohockens & Westebo
- Catawba Confederacy
- Yamasee Confederacy
- Ichesi Confederacy
- Cherokee Alliance
- Coweta-Creek Confederacy (Modern Muskogee Creeks)
- Seminole Confederacy
You KNOW the angry letters are going to fly, because many people view their tribal ancestry like it was cheering for a football team. One hint of the controversy . . . indigenous art suggest that the Chiska were at Cahokia . . . perhaps either its warrior class or the people, who caused its abandonment.
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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.
Latest posts by Richard Thornton (see all)
- Georgia gave the Uchee (Euchee/Yuchi) Tribe a reservation in 1958! - May 25, 2017
- What does Coosa mean? - May 23, 2017
- The Secret History of Northeast Alabama - May 22, 2017
- Outstanding website created by Alabama Office of Archaeological Research - May 20, 2017
- The People of One Fire’s county agent explains the “Three Sisters Thing” - May 19, 2017