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Quapaw Migration Legend puts them on the coast of South Carolina!

Quapaw Migration Legend puts them on the coast of South Carolina!


The Quapaw have long been associated with the Kanza (Kaw), Osage, Omaha and Ponca in Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Our intrepid terrace garden builder in Arkansas, Eric Dunn, sent POOF a fascinating article that originated in the Quapaw Nation of Oklahoma.  The Quapaw were called the Arkansas by Algonquian speakers.  In 1962 Quapaw Elders were interviewed and taped to record the ancient traditions of their people before they passed on.  Their Migration Legend places their first contact with white men on the coast of South Carolina in the vicinity of Myrtle Beach.  This is interesting because in the 20th century academicians decided that the Dhegihan Siouan-speaking tribes (Quapaw, Kanza, Osage, etc.) originated in the Ohio Valley then migrated downstream to live in the suburbs of Cahokia before embarking onto the Western Plains. Believing this to be true, all of the Dhegihan tribes teach this version of their past to their children.   In the 1880s, the famous Smithsonian Institute ethnologist, Albert Gatschet, stated that the Coosa Creeks and the Kansas Indians (Kanza) were originally the same people.   In 2017,  the People of One Fire found absolute proof that the Kanza originated in North-Central Alabama then migrated to the Coosa River Valley in Northeast Alabama and Northwest Georgia to become the predominate population of the Kusa Province.  Some left Georgia and Alabama in the late 1500s. Others stayed. Indeed . . . 18th century maps showed a Kanza town at the confluence of the Oostanaula and Conasauga Rivers in Northwest Georgia until they were booted out by the Cherokees, who wanted to build their capital, New Echota, at the same location.  The fascinating story of the Kanza People will become the first video on the People of One Fire YouTube Channel.


Mary Maude “Grandma” Supernaw ~ Interviewed by: Bill Supernaw, Jr. ~ Interview Date: 1962 ~ Transcribed by: Rise Supernaw Proctor and Billy Supernaw Proctor

Quapaws Meet White People

Irene: This story was told by Grandma Supernaw to her son Bill, this is how her father, Tallchief, told it to her, also how it was told to him by his father (Lame Chief). Grandma: Well, I was gonna tell a story, what my father and great grandfather where talking about …. My father learned from him, so I’m gonna tell how Quapaw, they come from the …. I try and tell a story …. They claim, my father said they claim a big fire, a big tree fire, that’s what, they come out of it, they told me. So, and uh, I’m gonna tell them, and uh, and they brought corn with them too, to raise, eating on it, and they make medicine out of it too. So, they brought that with them, I guess, I know, I guess God give them, I guess. So, they bring with them. So, they travel around, they camping somewhere around there, working, making a living, so, and uh, they right along the ocean1, and they see that, uh, people come in a boat, white, white man, woman. So, they funny looking that first time they see whites. So, they didn’t know what to do, they want kill them, and they don’t want to, and so, they went over there and shake hands with them, and they talking, motioning around and after awhile they got whiskey and they said, uh, give whiskey and they said their mother call, uh, white woman, they call father, uh, mother and the white man, father. So, they didn’t kill them. So, they talking around there awhile and they told when they give them so many days to come back in. So, they left, Indians left, and so they went back and, back ocean, I guess, across. And, uh, later on, many days, they going to come back, and they went over there again and they meet them again and they bring flour, coffee, salt, sugar, something like that, they bring with them. So, that’s what the Indian learned how, what taste of salt was, and flour, and the coffee, that’s what they learned, they say, so.  Rise Supernaw was told this would be around Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


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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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