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The Coosa River Basin was originally inhabited by several distinct peoples

The Coosa River Basin was originally inhabited by several distinct peoples


Update on creation of educational films on the Coosa River Basin

As readers were told in December 2017,  I will not be able to write frequent,  long articles for the next few months.  Much more work is involved in creating educational films than cranking out essays.  Also, very frankly, I have a lot to learn technologically.   Due to the Mega-Recession, for the past nine years I have not been able to afford new software and hardware.  Suddenly, due to the generosity of others, I now have the latest Microsoft word  processing, desktop publishing and Power Point software for professionals, the software for converting slides to animated films, an HD video camera (with night vision, no less) and most recently, the latest 2018 CADD platform required for working with the new French Artlantis software, which converts three dimensional architectural computer models into full length animated films. With Artlantis, people walk, birds fly, smoke blows, flags flutter, rivers flow,  ponds have small waves, waterfalls tumble and canoeists paddle.  All I lack now is the Artlantis, but really need to learn how to use the software that I have now, first.  LOL

Look at this!

“The Kaw Nation (or Kansa) is a federally recognized Native American tribe in Oklahoma. They come from the central Midwestern United States. The tribe known as Kaw have also been known as the “People of the South Wind”, “People of Water”, Kansa, Kasa, Kosa, and Kausa.  The name of the State of Kansas came from the French spelling of their name.  Their tribal language, Kansa or Kanza, is classified as a Siouan language, but is quite different than Northern Siouan languages.”


“The Coosa Creeks of North Georgia and Alabama were the descendants of, ancestors of, or perhaps, close relatives of the Kansas Indians.  Other names for the Coosa were Coça, Cosa, Kausa, Kusa, Kasa, Kause and Kaushe.  The Upper Creeks now call themselves the Kauche.”

Albert S. Gatschet ~ Chief Ethnologist – Smithsonian Institute – 1885


* For those of you, who don’t know the grammar of the Muskogean languages,  Kause (pronounced Kaw-she) means “descendants of the Kaw!” Kaw means “eagle” in Itza Maya and Itsate Creek.  The two divisions of the Kaw Nation are the White Eagle and the Black Eagle Clans.







Around 1300 AD, ancestors of the Kusa People migrated from McKee Island, AL to what later became New Echota. The Kansa People originated on an island!

Lessons learned so far about the Coosa River Basin

In outline form, here is what I have learned:

(1) Without a shred of architectural, cultural or linguistic evidence, 20th century ethnologists announced that the Siouan tribes of Arkansas, Missouri and the Western Plains were the progenitors of the Hopewell Culture, while living in the Upper Ohio Valley then moved downstream to become the residents of Cahokia . . . then when Cahokia was abandoned, they journeyed out onto the  Great Plains.  I researched the statements made by Wikipedia about all the Dhegihan Peoples (Kansa, Osage, Ponca, Quapaw, Mandan, Crow, Hidatsu, etc. )  Although the academicians, who wrote the Wikipedia articles, state that “their traditions place their origin in the Upper Ohio Valley,” this is not true.  I have been in contact with their tribal leaders.  The Dhegihan Migrations only place their origins east of the Mississippi and with some tribes, actually in the Southeast. 

a. The Mandan and Hidatsu say that they originally lived in the Southeastern United States among giants, who built giant teepees out of logs (i.e. the Creeks).   They then journeyed to near the west side of the Mississippi Delta, where an advanced people on the east side taught them how to grow corn.  They then journeyed up the Mississippi River to near its source then came down south again and went up the Missouri River.  The Mandan, Hidatsu and Crow Poeple use the exact same suffix for “people” as do the Muskogee Creeks . . .  “Ki or Ke.”

b. The Quapaw say that they originated on the coast of South Carolina near present day Myrtle Beach.

c.  There was at least one Kansa village in Northwest Georgia until after the American Revolution.  The Kaw Migration Legend says that they once lived on an island, but the island became too crowded so they migrated to an area where there was more land for cultivating crops.

d.  The Crow Migration Legend says that they originally lived east of the Mississippi, but were pushed west by an advanced people, who invaded from the southeast.  That sounds like the Itstate Creeks invasion of Central Tennessee.

(2)  There was a much more profound Panoan-Arawak (South American) presence in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina than the academic anthropologists ever realized.  I think that the Muskogee-speaking Creeks became dominant over many provinces that had originally been Arawak or Kanza (Siouan).  The Kanza or Kaw sure do look just like Middle Georgia Creeks.

(3) There does not seem to be any accident that the Kawita Creeks were associated with the Wind Clan and that Kaw, as in the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma, means “Wind” in their language.  Kaw means “eagle” in Itza Maya and Itsate Creek.  The Kusa (Upper) Creeks were known as the “Eagle Warriors.”   The two clans of the Kaw Nation are the White Eagles and Black Eagles.

(4) Culturally,  the Kaw or Kanza People show a profound eastern Peruvian influence.  Look at their traditional clothing above.  It is identical to that of the Panoans in Satipo Province, Peru.  They are classified as Siouans, but that Siouan influence may be much more recent than ethnologists realize.

(5)  Until around 1300 AD,  Northeast Alabama was Chickasaw and Northwest Georgia was a mixture of Chickasaw and Itsate Creeks.  The people, who would become known as the Kusa Creeks, migrated from the area around Guntersville, AL to the confluence of the Conasauga and Coosawattee Rivers in Northwest Georgia to found their first village.  More of their relatives followed, so they soon had many villages on the Coosawattee and Oostanaula Rivers.  In 1375 AD, about the same time that Etula (Etowah Mounds) was abandoned, the elite of the Province of Kvse (Kawshe =Descendants of Kaw) built a separate town on the south side of Talking Rock Creek at its confluence with the Coosawattee River.  Most of the village names of this province cannot be translated by Creek dictionaries . . . but some can.  This suggests that the elite were Muskogeans from Etula, while the commoners were from two or more ethnic groups.

(6) From Childersburg, AL southward were provinces of mixed Alabamu, Panoan (Sati), proto-Creek (Talaxi/Talasee)  and Arawak (Toasi) villages.  POOF co-founder, Ric Edwards, has long pointed out that the Alabamu used the Arawak word, cacique, for their village chiefs. 

(7) According to French and British maps, between 1684 and 1776, the Kusate (late arrivals from Mexico) occupied the Tennessee Basin from Hiwassee Island to Chattanooga.  The Chickasaws occupied Northeast Alabama and the section of Northwest Georgia north of the Oostanaula River.  the Apalachicola Creeks (Conchakee’s) plus Satile from the Georgia Coast, occupied the region between the Oostanaula and Etowah Rivers. 




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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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We are now celebrating the 11th year of the People of One Fire. In that time, we have seen a radical change in the way people receive information. The magazine industry has almost died. Printed newspapers are on life support. Ezines, such as POOF, replaced printed books as the primary means to present new knowledge. Now the media is shifting to videos, animated films of ancient towns, Youtube and three dimensional holograph images.

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