Several branches of the Seminoles considered themselves, Mayas
Maya Facts – March 18, 2019
This article begins a new People of One Fire series that will provide brief facts on the ethnic history of the Creek, Seminole, Soque, Miccosukee and Maya Peoples . . . as I work on a series of videos for posting on Youtube.
J. E. Lazelle, in 1917 was a teacher at the Indian Town School near Palm Beach, Florida. He apparently became the first educated white man to be allowed to live among the Miccosukee Seminoles. His memoirs make it very clear that the Miccosukee and Chiaha were separate ethnic groups, who were ethnologically different than the majority of member tribal towns of the Creek Confederacy. At that time, Lazelle states that all Istate (Hitchiti) speaking Seminoles in South Florida considered themselves to be Mayas.
- The other members of the Creek Confederacy were described by these tribes as descendants of Mayas, who arrived in the Southeast earlier and who had mixed with various tribes, such as the Chickasaw, Shawnee, Kansa and Uchee that were culturally less advanced.
- Chiaha is an Itza Maya word, which means “Salvia (chia seeds) – river.
- Mikkosukee is the Anglicization of a Mixtec-Zoque word which means “Leaders of the Civilized (People).
- The Chiaha Migration Legend began in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico and went by water to what is now the Western North Carolina Mountains.
- The Miccosukee Migration Legend began in the coastal plains of Chiapas and Vera Cruz, Mexico then went by land to the mountains of Northeast Georgia.
- The Miccosukee speak so many Zoque and Maya words that they can carry on conversations with members of several tribes in southern Mexico.
- At that time, the Chiaha and Miccosukee did NOT practice the traditional Creek monotheistic religion, but worshiped a pantheon of southern Mesoamerican deities.
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