Richard Thornton | May 1, 2017 | 2
Proof of the Chickasaw being in the first “Creek” Confederacy
Many Chickasaw readers are either surprised or upset about the news that the Chickasaw were one of the four members of the original People of One Fire or “Creek” Confederacy. Next week, Bubba Mythbuster will go into much detail about the fascinating history of the Chickasaw People.
This information about the Chickasaw came straight from lost colonial documents, found in April 2015. It is not a theory or even something that can be debated. It is based on eyewitness accounts and statements made by the Principal Chief, Chikili, of the Creek Confederacy that were carefully recorded by Thomas Christie, the first Colonial Secretary of Georgia.
The Chickasaw’s membership in the original Creek Confederacy is mentioned matter-of-factly in several Colonial documents, but more details are given in the Kaushete Migration Legend. The following is an excerpt of the Legend, translated into modern English:
Creation of the People of One Fire
The Kaushete met with the people of three different nations. They took fire from the great volcano and saved it. While living in that place they gained the knowledge of medicinal herbs and many other things. The Sacred Fire, shared at this place came from the land to the east. They did not like to use it for starting domestic fires.
Another portion of the fire came from the lands to the west, whose color was black. They did not like to use it either. Another portion of the sacred fire came from the south. Its color was blue. Another portion of the shared sacred fire came from the north. Its colors are red and yellow. This fire, they mixed with the fire from the great volcano. It is used to this day and sometimes makes a rumbling sound.
A dispute over which nation should lead
A dispute arose over which of the four nations was the oldest and therefore have the dominant role in the People of One Fire. The leaders agreed that since they were four different ethnic groups, they would set up four timber poles and cover them with clay. The clay is yellow at first, but turns red after being burned. All four nations would go to war together. The nation which first covered its pole from top to bottom with the scalps of their enemies would be considered the elder nation.
All four tribes attempted to accomplish this feat, but the Kaushete covered their pole first, so the wood could not be seen. The leaders of the whole nation declared them to be eldest and to take the leadership role.
The Chickasaws covered their pole next. They were followed by the Alibamus. However, the Apikas could not raise their mass of scalps higher than the knee.
Original symbol of the People of One Fire
What is interesting is that this symbol was used as a pattern of clothing worn by the leaders of Etula (Etowah Mounds.) The four logs symbolize the original four members and also the Sacred Fire. It also has been found in several Native American town sites in Eastern Tennessee.
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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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