The First Creek Confederacy did not include the Muskogees!
Reprint from July 2015
There have been many surprises as I go through the high resolution photographs of documents sent by Supervising Trustee, James Edward Oglethorpe, to HRH King George II on July 6, 1735. These are the so-called “Creek Migration Legends” that have been missing for 285 years. With the critical assistance of Dr. Graham Davies, Assistant Private Secretary to HRH Prince Charles, I was able to find them in a wooden box, being stored at the Lambeth Palace Library. Most of the missing documents appear to be written by Georgia Colonial Secretary, Thomas Christie. Apparently, Christie was given the assignment by Oglethorpe of leaning everything he could about the Creeks and Uchee.
The primary information about the original Creek Confederacy or “People of One Fire,” comes from a speech made by the High King of the Creek Confederacy, Chikoli, to the assembled “gentlemen” of Savannah on June 7, 1735. It was translated by Kvsapvnakese (Mary Musgrove). Thomas Christie recorded her translation in shorthand then the two later got together to finalize the version which was given to Oglethorpe.
Chikili stated that the original People of One Fire was composed of the Kaushete (Kusate~Cusseta), Chickasaw, Albaamaha (Alabama) and Apeke. The Kaushete and Chickasaw had such “tight” relations that they built their towns side-by-side or opposite sides of the river in the Tennessee Valley and Northwest Georgia. This would explain why Dallas Culture and Mouse Creek culture towns are side by side in the Tennessee River Basin. There is no mention of the Coweta Creeks in the Kaushete (Creek) Migration Legend, but his oral history did say that after a wandering Kaushete band had destroyed several Itsate towns in the High Mountains it fled southward to the Apalache in the Lower Mountains and were given sanctuary there.
Other documents written by Christie stated that the “Old Apalachen Confederacy” fell apart during the Yamasee War. This was the remnants of the Kingdom of Apalache, visited by Barbados planter, Richard Briggstock, in 1653. [See The Apalache Chronicles by Ray & Thornton.] At that time, Apalachen was the name used by the British for the Georgia Mountains. In 1717, the People of One Fire was re-constituted at a conference held at the ruins of Ocmulgee. The conference was dominated by the province of Koweta, which then was located along the upper Ocmulgee River. Coweta and Cusseta were then located side-by-side near Jackson, Georgia.
The Koweta’s pushed through a requirement that the parliamentary language of the new confederacy, would be the one that they spoke. That language was then called Kowetaw, but is now called Mvskoke (Muskogee). Words similar to Muskogee, did not appear in the colonial archives and maps until after Chikili retired in 1746 and was replaced by Malatchi. It well be Malatchi or one of his advisors, who coined the world Mvskoke. Prior to 1746, the Upper Creeks were called Cusatta and the Middle Creeks were called Coweta. The two other major divisions of the 1717 Creek Confederacy were the Itsate (Hitchiti) and Apalache (Apalachicola). The latter two were by far the majority in Georgia, but they apparently were under the military thumb of the Muskogee speakers.
The Chickasaws were also original members of the 1717 People of One Fire, but dropped out in the 1720s due to resentment of the domination of Muskogee speakers in the confederacy’s government. Emperor Bemarin (Brim) ordered the other tribal members of the confederacy to attack the Chickasaws, but the Upper Creeks refused and also announced that they would attack an town, which molested the Chickasaw. Some or all of the Chickasaws in Georgia stayed in the Confederacy. Their separate tribal identity disappeared with a few years. The Chickasaws and Upper Creeks continued to be close allies until 1818, when the last Chickasaw lands in the east were ceded.
There was also extreme resentment toward the Muskogee minority among the Creeks and Uchees in eastern Georgia and South Carolina. Nevertheless, they realized that the Creek People must maintain unity in order to win a long war of attrition with the Cherokees and also to prevent being gobbled up by Great Britain, France or Spain. Once Great Britain had won in 1763 most of North America in the Seven Years War (French & Indian War) many Eastern Creeks either voted with their feet by moving to Florida or else began assimilating with their neighbors from the Old World. In 2006, Trail of Tears Association official, Leslie Thomas, examined the 1820 and 1830 US Census figures. She was astounded to discover that over 20,000 Creeks, Chickasaws and Uchees remained in Georgia after all Creek lands were ceded in 1827. Also, prior to 1838, there were at least 3,000 Creeks living in the Cherokee Nation. Since they were not on the rolls of the Cherokee Nation, only 800 were captured by federal troops. Given the high death rate among Creeks traveling to the Indian Territory and during the American Civil War, it is highly probable that there are far more Creek descendants in the Southeast than in Oklahoma today. However, virtually all the Creek and Uchee descendants in the Southeast have more European or African DNA today than they do, Native American.
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