OMG! . . . There was a Polynesian tribe in the Lower Southeast
It is probable that the Bilbo Mound in Savannah (c. 3545 BC) was built by a mysterious, proto-Polynesian people.
In the previous article on the status of my Bronze Age research, I dropped a linguistic bombshell, which actually occurred yesterday. For a decade, I have been trying to figure out the etymologies of Wassaw Island, Georgia and of the Southern Highland Native town in North Carolina, which was spelled variously Guaxule, Guasule, Guaxali and Guaxile by the chroniclers of the Hernando de Soto Expedition. Late 20th century anthropologists had decreed that Wassaw was a Creek word and that Guaxule was the ancient capital of the Great Cherokee Nation . . . but its Cherokee meaning had been lost. The anthropology professors from the Universities of Georgia and North Carolina, who visited my office in Asheville, NC while promoting their route for De Soto, pronounced the word, Gwak-silly. Somehow . . . I didn’t think so.
I learned enough Muskogee, while working on projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation to know how to convert Europeanized words to their original indigenous form. Wassaw and Guaxule were written in the Creek alphabet as Wasv and Wasv-li. Wasv-li means Wasaw People, but what did Wasaw mean? It was definitely NOT a Creek language word, but rather a proper noun, created by the Creeks. It would take a long, long time to figure out the meaning. I eventually figured out that the South Carolina tribe and place name, Waxhaw, was also related to this ethnic group. The original word was Wasa-haw, with haw being the Itza Maya and Creek word for river. The haw part merely sent me on a fruitless “wild goose” chase. There was no word like Wasa in the Itza language . . . at least the Itza spoken today.
It should be explained that in Muskogee grammar, a “aw” suffix, spelled “V”, is attached to the end of an ethnic name to indicate a tribe. Thus, the people of Kusa were called the Kusaw. Itsate-Creek more typically added a “se” suffix, which was pronounced either like “she” or “che”, to indicate a tribe.
I was particularly interested in translating the Native American place names around Savannah because my grandmother said that the Savannah area and the Nacoochee Valley in Northeast Georgia was where our “Indian” mother towns were. According to family tradition, we had direct ancestors, who were living in Palachicola, when the Rev. John Wesley preached there. Wesley later founded the Methodist Church.
Ossabaw Island was a no-brainer. It was a major center of Yaupon Holly cultivation. The original word was Ase-bo, which is Panoan (Peru) for Yaupon Holly – Place of. The same could not be said of Wassaw. When working on research projects associated with the South Atlantic Coast, I would sporadically search indigenous language dictionaries of the Americas, trying to find a word like Wasa . . . which made sense. None appeared.
Fact! The petroglyphs, created by the aboriginal “red-haired” people of New Zealand are identical to many petroglyphs found in western Peru, the North Georgia Gold Belt, southwestern Ireland, eastern Scotland and southern Scandinavia.
A genetic clue
Long long ago, in a land faraway, known as America before the Great Recession, I took a DNA test. It was primitive by today’s standards, but surprisingly matches much more precise tests being done by my cousins. Back then, I thought that all real Indians looked like Iron Eyes Cody and so was surprised when I showed up with a rather high percentage of Native American DNA. Turns out that Iron Eyes Cody was a fraud. He was a first generation Lebanese-American. However, the test said that the combination of O+ blood and Haplo Group C DNA meant that all of my indigenous DNA was from Mesoamerica or South America and seemed similar to Maya genetic profiles. That was a shocker. Most everything else was either Scandinavian or Gaelic . . . no wonder I was able to pronounce Swedish so easily. Most Scandinavians and all the Sami I met, thought I was a Sami, not an America! LOL However, there was another surprise. I carried some Polynesian DNA. Where in the world did that come from?
Last year, my cousin Ray carried out a much more sophisticated DNA test on himself. He had DNA test markers associated with two types of Scandinavians – Sami and post-Bronze Age Scandinavians. He also carried Basque and Maori DNA test markers . . . Maori? Well, the Maori are considered Polynesians, so maybe that’s what my test found. But where in the world did this Polynesian DNA come from.
Initially yesterday, I tried to find a meaning of Wasa among the Nordic languages which include Dutch, Anglo-Saxon, Friesian, Plat Deutsche, Danish, Skansk, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Sami and Finnish. Sami and Finnish are Turko-Uralic languages, but are geographically grouped with the other Germanic languages. Nada! Vasa meant an elk or reindeer calf in Sami and Finnish. That didn’t make sense. The middle and southern German word for water is Wasser. It was derived from the Bronze Age Celtic word for water and ocean in the Austrian Alps. It seemed to have no connection to Wassaw, but then at the end of this article, you will see it does.
In desperation, I reverse-engineered the word, using Google search and was astonished to see that Wasa was the ancient Pan-Oceanic word for ocean. The Pan-Oceanic language was spoken by a maritime people, who in very ancient times spread all over the Pacific and Indian Oceans . . . perhaps much farther. Wasa is the archaic Maori, Samoan, Fiji and Hawaiian word for ocean. These Polynesian peoples today typically use the word wai for ocean, but they will understand wasa.
Uchee is the Muskogee-nization and Anglicization of the Irish Gaelic word for water, uisce. The Itsate-Creeks called the Uchee on the Savannah and Oconee Rivers, the Okvte or Water People. De Soto’s chroniclers wrote the word down as Ocute. The Itsate Creeks labeled the Uchee on the Ogeechee River, Okeshi, which means “Descendants from the Ocean.” Wassaw Island is at the mouth of the Ogeechee River. It all makes perfect sense . . . except how did proto-Polynesians reach the mouth of the Ogeechee River? That is a whole lot of sailing . . . unless there is a whole lot that we don’t understand about mankind’s ancient past.
That leads us to another mystery. The true Celts lived in the Austrian and Bavarian Alps. Although the Irish, Scots and Welsh will often call themselves Celtic, geneticists have discovered that they absorbed Celtic cultural practices, but were not genetically, Celts. Wasser is obviously related to the Pan-Oceanic words for water and ocean. How in the heck did Proto-Polynesians get into the Austrian Alps?
The Truth Is Out There Somewhere!
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