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Plot of movie, Apocalypto, really happened!

Plot of movie, Apocalypto, really happened!

 

The REAL Maya were solely those people living in the provinces named Maiam in north central Yucatan and southern Florida!

In 1911,  school teacher,  John E. Lazelle, became the first educated white man to live among the Seminole People of southern Florida. I will be producing three videos for my Youtube channel, based on his experiences . . . Miccosukee Origin, Religion and Folklore.  In 1917, he was interviewed by the Palm Beach Post newspaper.  The fascinating information that he told the reporter has been conveniently left out of the anthropological and history texts that one reads today.  These facts would totally mess up the simplistic little world that academicians have created about the Pre-British Southeast.  Most important is his statement that the “Seminoles” from Lake Okeechobee southward did not call themselves Creek, Seminole or Miccosukee.  They called themselves . . .  Maya.

Late 16th century Apalache stone tablet, found near Eleanor Dare’s tomb in the Nacoochee Valley of Georgia, by archaeologist, Robert Wauchope.

Now, it is well documented that in the Early Colonial Period, both French and Spanish explorers listed several place names and ethnic groups with the word Maia or Maya (pronounced the same) in them.  The Spanish name for Lake Okeechobee was variously Lago Mayam, Lago Maya, Lago Mayacoa or Lago Mayaco.    Contemporary Florida anthropologists explain that fact by saying that the word, “Maya” had different meanings in Yucatan and Florida.  It is important to remember that in 1500 AD, there was little difference in the cultures of the “Mayas” in Yucatan and the advanced indigenous societies of northern Georgia, western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.  Both the Sokee and the (real) Apalache in North Georgia had writing systems, plus wore elaborate woven clothing.

Lazelle tells us that when the Spanish invaded northern Yucatan in the 1500s,  bands of Maya escaped northward to their relatives in southern Florida.  The Florida Maya lived much simpler lifestyles than the Maya in Yucatan or the Proto-Creeks in North Georgia, but the refugees adapted to and thrived in their hunting-fishing-gardening culture.  During the early 1800s,  Itsate-speaking Creeks, originally from northern Georgia and western North Carolina, immigrated into southern Florida to escape US Army troops.  They spoke a dialect of Creek that mixed Itza Maya with Peruvian and Muskogean words, but could immediately communicate with the indigenous Mayas.  The Seminole lifestyle of southern Florida was born.  Miccosukee elders were very emphatic in telling Lazelle that most of divisions of the Creek Confederacy were originally from Mexico, but some branches came earlier than others.  That is a game changer!

It is highly unlikely that Apocalypto’s producer, actor Mel Gibson, was aware of Lazelle’s work among the Seminole.   There is one major difference between actual history and the plot of Apocalypto.  The Mayas still built earthen mounds and small stone pyramids when confronted by the Spanish, but they did not live in large cities, sacrifice humans at an industrial scale or own many slaves.  Lazelle’s version of history is still a game changer.

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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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