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New video . . . The Discovery of the Kansa and Mandan Homeland

New video . . . The Discovery of the Kansa and Mandan Homeland

 

The Siouan presence in the Southeast has largely been erased from the history books, except in South Carolina.  Where they once lived is typically either labeled “Tribal Affiliation Unknown” on the official Department of the Interior map or else is assigned to one of the large indigenous alliances in the Southeastern United States that is now a federally recognized tribe. This documentary video examines the profound evidence provided at archaeological sites on the Coosa, Oostanaula and Ocmulgee Rivers were occupied by the ancestors of the Kansa, Mandan and perhaps other tribes of the Great Plains.  Indeed, one of those towns later had a Cherokee name that means “Place of the Kansa People!”

It’s an odd situation.  The elders of several “Earthlodge Peoples” out on the Great Plains told ethnologists and historians in interviews that their tribe originally lived in the Southeast,  These interviews were published in books and professional papers, but both Wikipedia and even their official tribal websites now tell the public that they originated “somewhere” in the Midwest.  Unlike the migration legends provided by elders,  anthropology textbooks are vague as to specific locations where they lived. Most of these articles for public consumption also state that the Siouan “Earthlodge” Peoples formerly lived in Cahokia.    There no evidence is furnished to support these statements.   The response to this challenge is that  they had to go through Cahokia on the way to the Great Western Plains.

Throughout most of Chattanooga’s existence, its scholars claimed that the ancestors of the Mandans lived immediately downstream on the Tennessee River.  In the 1950s that vague cultural memory was somehow elaborated by saying that the Mandans were the descendants of the Welsh colonists, who accompanied Prince Madoc to North American in 1170 AD.   However, in the politically correct environment of the 1990s and early 21st century,  all references to the Mandans were deleted then replaced with the generic statement that Chattanooga was founded on land ceded by the Cherokee Indians.  This last version of history does not explain why Chattanooga has a Creek name meaning “Red Neck” (referring to a gorge in the Tennessee River) and Chickamauga is a Chickasaw word meaning “Place to Look Out.”

This investigation into the origins of the Earthlodge Peoples on the Great Plains had important implications for the complex origins of the members of the Creek Confederacy.  There appears to be very significant cultural connections between the Kansa, Koweta-Creeks and the Creek Wind Clan.   Also, the Osage may have originated as a group of Siouans, dominated by very tall ancestors of the Upper Creeks.

Pay close attention to the musical introduction!

You will be hearing authentic, traditional Creek music during the introduction.  It was performed by three Oklahoma Creek musicians.  If it sounds like a song that belongs among the indigenous peoples of southern Mexico, there is a good reason.  Traditional Creek music was syncopated and very much like the music played by their cousins in Tabasco State, Mexico.  The slow, mournful songs commonly heard in Oklahoma today reflected the cultural influence of Protestant missionaries in the 1800s.  

The video has a surprise ending!

 

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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.

3 Comments

    • This article is a good example of how Native Americans traveled and migrated long distances.

      Reply
  1. kkakins@gmail.com'

    I grew up in Kansas surrounded by Native American heritage. I’m married to a native American. Every summer my family helped paint dorms for Native American colleges. This is fascinating.

    Reply

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