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OMG! An old Irish Gaelic word is all over the Southeast’s landscape

OMG!  An old Irish Gaelic word is all over the Southeast’s landscape


(photo above) The Reinhardt Boulder is one of several petrolgyphic boulders in northern Georgia, which are identical to those in County Kerry, Ireland.   Even more petroglyphs in the Georgia Mountains are identical to those in southern Sweden, which was during the Bronze Age probably was occupied by the same pre-Gaelic, pre-Germanic people as County Kerry.


The wildest things happen after your third cup of real Irish Breakfast Tea, early on an autumn morning.


For years, I have been trying to figure out the geographical origin of the suffixes Li, Lee, Ra, Ri and Ree in many Southeastern ethnic names, river names and even in Creek words.  Their etymology is complex because many indigenous peoples in the Americas, such as the Muskogeans and Panoans rolled their R’s so hard that they sounded like an L to everyone, but the Spaniards. Thus, the town on the Upper Chattahoochee River named Apalu on European maps is really in English phonetics, Aparu, which in Panoan means “From Peru.”

On the other hand, some tribes with Algonquian heritage pronounced an L like an English R.  They are particularly prevalent in the South Carolina upstate in such tribal and river names as Suale, Wataree, Enoree and Congaree.  In Georgia, you see them in the Nottaly River, Satilla River (Satele),  Tugaloo River (Tokahle in Creek), Yupahalee (Horn River People~ Rome, GA), Aucilla River, Tivoli River and the Creek word for Southern People . . . Wahale.  The Eno People of South Carolina lived on the Enoree River.  Thus, Re and Le had to mean “people.”

Cherokee, Shawnee and Algonquian speakers typically changed a Muskogean or Panoan ethnic name from an “li or le” suffix to an “ra” ending.  So Nantahali  (River Rapids – People)  became Nantahala Gorge in the North Carolina Mountains.  Enote (Eno People in Itsate Creek) became Enotah Mountain in North Georgia after the Cherokees lived there for awhile.

You even see this suffix on the northern Gulf Coast of Mexico . . . which was then carried to Southeastern North America.  Tamaulipas State gets its name by combining words from three languages.  The are (1) Tama = “trade” in Totonac, (2) li = equals “people” in ? and (3) pas = “place of” in Chontal Maya.   I couldn’t understand how the Nahuatl word for “place of” . . . tli . . . became the word for “people” in many languages.  However, after 11 years of searching,  I had given up.  All sorts of fancy statistical tricks could not find a single language, elsewhere in the Americas that used the word, “Re” for people or nation. 

Back to the Uchee connection

For those of you, who are newcomers to POOF,  the Uchee (Yuchi, Euchee, etc) have always stated that there ancestors came across the Atlantic Ocean from the “Home of the Sun.” The Uchee look very similar to full-blooded Sea Sami (Lapps) from the Northwest Coast of Norway. Mixed-blood Uchee look very similar to the “Black Irish” of the Atlantic Coast of Ireland.  In fact, it was very common for mixed-blood Creeks and Uchees in Northeast Georgia to call themselves “Black Irish” in order to avoid discrimination under Georgia’s harsh laws against Native Americans.  These laws were not repealed until Jimmy Carter was governor!

The Itsate Creeks called the Uchees living in the Atlantic Coastal Plain and Piedmont, Ucci* (Uchee),  Okate (Water People) or Okasi (Descendants from Water).   The Muskogee Creeks called them Yocci or Okani.   The Muskogee Creeks also use the Pre-Gaelic word for water on the Atlantic Coast of Europe, ue.  It became the French word for water, eau.

*A Muskogean C is pronounced like an Italian C = “ch”.

I suspected that the word, Uchee, must have something to do with water.   The Irish Gaelic word for water is uisce.  It is pronounced exactly the same way that the Itsate Creeks pronounced Ucci

I looked up what the words in Archaic Gaelic would be for Water People.   That would be Uisce Raighe . . . pronounced exactly like the Itsate Creeks would say, “Ucci-Re”      If you recall,  the Reinhardt Petroglyphs (pictured above) in North Georgia are identical to the Bronze Age petroglyphs in County Kerry, Ireland.   Wikipedia had this to say about the history of County Kerry, Ireland . . .

Kerry (Irish: Ciarraí or more anciently Ciarraighe) means the “Ciar People,” which was the name of the pre-Gaelic tribe, who lived in part of the present county.  In Old Irish “Ciar” meant black or dark brown, and the word continues in use in modern Irish as an adjective describing a dark complexion.  The suffix raighe, meaning people/tribe, is found in various -ry place names in Ireland, such as OsryOsraighe = Deer-People/Tribe.


Back to the Creek People Connection

The Culasee or Kurasi People were one of the major divisions of the early Creek Confederacy.  Their name means “Descendants of Kurā or Korā.”  The location of Kurā was probably the town with multiple mounds, which is now under the campus of Western North Carolina University in Cullawhee, NC.   Curahee Mountain, GA is also named after this people.  Most Cullasee survivors relocated to Southeast Georgia and then later to northern Florida, where they became a major division of the Seminole Alliance.  Anthropology professors at WCU are now calling that town under their campus, “an ancient Cherokee town.”  The descendants of the people, who lived in that town, would beg to disagree.

Kura, would be pronounced in Itsate Creek similarly to Ciarraí  in Irish Gaelic.

In the Apalache-Creek language of Georgia,  Korā was the word for “people or tribe.”   It was often written down as “cola” by English speakers.   Thus, we know that Pensacola, GA was originally a colony from Northeast Georgia.  Choctaw and Chickasaw speakers absorbed this suffix into their language, but added the Panoan prefix “O” which changed the meaning to “Principal People.”  By the 1800s, Ocola had evolved to Ocala and Okla.   That’s right, Oklahoma means “Principal People – Red” in Choctaw. 


And now you know!

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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.



    Crazy stuff! Sorta explains how the Lapp dna shows up & my grandmother’s claim we were black irish!

    • Its crazy but RE/Ri means the same thing South Carolina as it does in Ireland.


    and the circles on the glyphs are drops of rain falling on the water surface. omg


    Richard, Great work again. Clear connections from 4 locations now across the Ocean from each other. (Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Georgia) Perhaps many waves of peoples crossed back and forth in the old days and when the Ocean rose 3-400 feet starting about 17,000 years ago… then much less Sea traffic. Viking saga’s note that part of this landmass they called “Great Ireland”. “Duhare” people most likely the Scot-Irish but the “Cofit-achi-ke” people is South Carolina.. “the ancient Black Irish” and mixed blood. These peoples that could get away from the 1500-1700’s slavers were incorporated into the remaining Native Nations. Also I wouldn’t rule out the Visigoth’s and Alans crossing the Ocean as well. 7 cities of Gold stories of Spain match the 7 cities lore of the Cherokees. (another people that used the Great Sun symbol) Aztlan? “that the lake around the Aztlan island was called Metztliapan or “Lake of the moon”.


    Richard T, Yet another great post. The words Okate, Okasi and Okani with the meanings ‘Water People’ and ‘Descendants from Water’ have caught my attention.

    The following may seem/sound to be very far fetched yet would you like to take a look at it and give your opinion.

    In Southeast Asia / Island Southeast Asia there are people who traditionally live at sea stretching from Thailand to eastern Indonesia. These people are known as: Moken, Chao Lay, Urak Lawoi, Orang Laut, Sama Bajau, Sama Dilaut, Tau Laut
    In Thailand you have the so-called ‘water gypsies’ who are a mix of austro-asiatic and austronesian people traditionally living on the sea. One of the subgroups is known as Moken.

    From Padi States to Commercial States: Reflections on Identity and the Social Construction Space in the Borderlands of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar – 2015

    Authors: Jacques Ivanoff, Olivier Ferrari, Maxime Boutry, Frédéric Bourdier

    Page 90: Quote:
    “Moken, in turn, according to some authors, comes from the association of mo, the waterline of the Moken boat, and oken meaning ‘salthy water’ in the Moken language.”

    Here you have the word ‘oken’ which is similar to ‘oka’ from Okate, Okasi and Okani. The words ‘oka’ and ‘oken’ could be related and could come from one source language or dialect.

    Here are links to Southeast Asian/Island Southeast Asian canoes which are similar to the Sami (Saami) and Uchee/Uchi canoes seen in petroglyphs.

    Moken Canoe:

    Canoes from Sangir / Sangihe islands (northeast of Sulawesi island, eastern Indonesia):

    Map of North Sulawesi Peninsula and Sangir/Sangihe islands:

    Haplogroup B DNA

    In an earlier post I have posted a Heat Map showing the B4 DNA signature found over the world. When you look closely you can see spots lighting up in southern Sweden and northwestern Russia; the regions where Sami/Saami traditionally live.

    Link to Haplogroup B Heat Map:

    From the wikipedia page: Haplogroup B (mtDNA)
    Quote:”Although haplogroup B in general has been found in many samples of Altaic-speaking populations of Siberia, the subclade that is phylogenetically closest to American B2, namely B4b1, has been found mainly in populations of southern China and Southeast Asia, especially Filipinos and Austronesian speakers of eastern Indonesia (approx. 8%) and the aborigines of Taiwan and Hainan (approx. 7%).”

    Here you can see that Haplogroup B is mostly linked to (Island) Southeast Asian Austronesian speaking people. Polynesians speak an Austronesian language.

    The following interesting book is written by James Hornell adding more proof to an ancient Austronesian link between Island Southeast Asia, Scandinavia and the Americas.

    Water Transport: Origins and Early Evolution – 1946 – by James Hornell

    Page 213
    Quote:”As we have seen, the Viking type of plank-built craft agrees with the orembai of Indonesia in (a) insertion of frames tied to cleats on the hull and (b) the high upturned ends. The still more ancient type belonging to the Bronze and early Iron Ages similarly agrees in the strangely bifid form of both its ends with several types of Indonesian boats and canoes (Java, Celebes and Philippines); the Oceanic type of bailer characteristic of the Pacific is to-day found nowhere in Europe except in Norway. Boat burial and arrow form have been noted as further notable parallels.”

    Are there any researchers, geneticists (experts in genetics), POOF members/readers who are willing to take a look into this and share their findings; research?


    Hey Richard,
    Well it’s official the first people in America did not come over the Bering Land Bridge
    The scientist have caught up to info you put on the POOF website a while back! I’m glad they are pulling there head out of the sand slowly
    Thanks for all you do.


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