Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Original Creek Migration Legend Has Very Odd Grammatical Feature
The research team needs the help of POOF members and readers, who are knowledgeable about the Muskogee Language.
Approximately 2/3 of the sentences in the original Migration Legend of the Creek People begin with the word, “that.” In Muskogee, it would be Mv. The use of “that” seems to have no communication function other than what might be seen in legal documents, which begin paragraphs with “Whereas”. In fact, “that” has the same meaning as “Whereas” in these sentences, but why would Chikili constantly use the word in a speech that was otherwise informal?
For example, in the section of King Chikili’s closing statement shown above he says, “That I am never tired of hearing the stories told by Tamachichi about when he traveled . . .”
I tried contacting professors that teach Muskogee in Oklahoma, but only one even responded and that was only once . . . if you excuse the pun. She didn’t understand that I had the ORIGINAL Migration Legend and wanted to know who was the translator of this version of the story. I wrote back, Mary Musgrove. The professor never replied to my response. I strongly suspect that she didn’t know who Mary Musgrove was and assumed that she was one of our POOF researchers.
Fascinating history associated with the Migration Legend
According to the Migration Legend documents, Palachicola was the oldest Creek town and originally was located where Downtown Savannah now sits. Chikili said that the first Creek “emperor” was buried in a mound in Savannah. Thus, the first Creek Indians were Apalache, not Muskogee. This information is radically different than the story now being told by Oklahoma Muskogees, who place the beginning of the Creek polity at Muskogee towns on the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, GA. Perhaps that is why they are not terribly interested in the discovery of the original Migration Legend. It’s like telling the North Carolina Cherokees that they didn’t invent corn, beans, squash, the Stomp Dance, Swift Creek pottery, Indian mounds, jet propulsion and the transistor radio.
The Master of Breath does have a sense of humor on this one. If you recall, during late 2012, two Oklahoma Muskogee bureaucrats came to Georgia to get in bed with the corrupt USFS office in Gainesville, GA. I knew that this office was under criminal investigation for association with organized crime, but had to keep my mouth shut. One of the many nasty things the two Oklahomans said was that I was not a “real Creek” because I was not an Oklahoma Muskogee. Lordamercy, according the Migration Legend, I iz a bonified, blue-blood Creek, since my mother town was Palachicola. LOL
The cover letter by Georgia Colonial Secretary, Thomas Christie, refers to an endowment to the Church of England in Mr. Christie’s will. Thomas Christie only lived a few more months. His endowment was used in November 1735 to hire the brothers, John and Charles Wesley, to travel to Georgia. John was to be a missionary to the Creek Indians, while Charles was to be Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Instead, Governor James Oglethorpe assigned Charles to be the chaplain to the Scottish soldiers and colonists at Fort Frederica, while John was required to spend most of his time with the colonists in Savannah.
Charles was immediately rejected by the Scottish Presbyterians at Fort Frederica. John went over like a lead balloon when he tried persuading the Creeks at Palachicola to adopt Anglican liturgy. Their response was, “We have the same basic beliefs as you, except that we worship outdoors. Why are you here?” However, John became close friends with the Moravians at New Ebenezer. Their simple faith would greatly affect his ministry in the future.
Charles left Georgia after a few months. John courted the most desirable young lady in the colony then dumped her. He got into big trouble, however, when he refused to give her communion after she married someone else. He was charged with criminal slander and then quickly shipped back to England, where the colony’s trustees fired him.
However, later in life, John Wesley remembered the spirituality of the Creek people and their outdoor worship services at Palachicola, plus the simple faith of the Moravians. These concepts were merged together into the Methodist Movement, which after Wesley’s death, became the Methodist Church. Charles Wesley went on to become one of the greatest hymn writers of all time.
According to my mother’s family lore, our ancestors at Palachicola were converted to Christianity by John Wesley. I don’t think that is factual, but it is true that the Creek congregation that they helped found in the late 1700s on the Savannah River, was one of the first Methodist churches in Georgia.
Governor James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of Savannah, is best known to Americans as a brilliant city planner. However, after returning to England, he rejoined the British military. Just before the American Revolution, he rose to the rank of commanding general of the British army. However, he retired when things began heating up in the colonies, because he greatly sympathized with their complaints. An elderly General Oglethorpe befriended John Adams when he became the first American ambassador to Great Britain in 1784. Life is stranger than fiction.
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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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