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The original Creek Migration Legend . . . it is a road map, not a myth!

The recently discovered, original copy of the “Migration Legend of the Creek People” describes the journey of the ancestors of the Kvse-te (Kashita* or Cusseta People). They migrated from the foot of Orizaba Volcano in Vera Cruz State, Mexico across the rim of the Gulf of Mexico to southeastern Tennessee, western North Carolina then to Georgia. The last scenes of this priceless document occur at the Track Rock Terrace Complex in the Georgia Mountains. *Kashita is the phonetic pronunciation of Kvse-te.

Photo by David Tugg of Orizaba Volcano

“The chances of rediscovering the original English translation of the Migration Legend of the Creek People are therefore almost as slim as those of recovering the lost books of Livy’s History.”  (Titus Livius Patavinus [Livy] was a famous Roman historian, who lived between 64 BC & 17 AD) – Quote by Albert Samuel Gatschet, 1881 – Ethnologist – Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC

People of One Fire researchers have made some remarkable discoveries in the past three years that will radically change American history books. First In 2012, historian and regional planner, Michael Jacobs, discovered depositions from former residents of the Santa Elena Colony in South Carolina that described covert journeys into the Georgia Mountains by Spanish traders. They called the Track Rock Terrace Complex, “Great Copal” because its priests burned copal resin continuously from the temple at the top of the mountainside town.

Then, in 2013, Cherokee researcher, Marilyn Rae discovered a book written in French in 1658 by pioneer ethnologist, Charles de Rochefort that described a 1653 expedition to the Apalache Kingdom in North Georgia. It was in the “Fantasy and Utopia” bin of the Carter Brown Library at Brown University. Some anonymous Ivy League academician had relegated the book to obscurity because it described a Native American civilization in the Georgia Mountains and Piedmont, whose elite lived in stone houses and temples. The Apalache priests were described as burning copal incense from their mountaintop temples, night and day.

The name of the capital of the Apalache was Melilot and it was located in the Upper Piedmont of Georgia near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Melilot is shown on practically all 17th century French and Dutch maps, but has been left out of American history books. In fact, the Kingdom of Apalache is located in present day northern Georgia in bold letters on all European maps from 1562 to 1707, but has also been left out of the history books.

What apparently “blew the minds” of Ivy League scholars was that the elite of Apalache obviously were of Peruvian origin, but had absorbed some Itza Maya cultural traditions. On the other hand, the Apalache commoners lived in separate towns, which were identical to those of the Creek Indians encountered by early British explorers. The clothing of the Apalache elite was identical to the traditional clothing and hats of the Miccosukee and Seminoles in Florida.

In late 2014, Michael Jacobs made yet another remarkable discovery. In a later edition of the book that Marilyn Rae found, he stumbled upon a letter written in French from Edward Graeves, a director of the English-French colony at Melilot in what is now northeast Metro Atlanta. The letter was dated January 6, 1660. Melilot was a real place. In fact, it was a European colony, which lasted from late 1565 until the early 1700s. It was founded by survivors of Fort Caroline, but became predominantly composed of English and Dutch Protestants, Sephardic Jews, plus some Middle Easterners in the 1600s.

At least some of the descendants of this colony became the Bohurons (Nobility in Anatolian and Aramaic)  who were members of the Creek Confederacy in the 1700s.  Marilyn Rae has translated the surviving names of Bohuron leaders as being Portuguese,  French, Jewish,  Spanish, French, Arabic, Dutch and Turkish words.  It is quite possible that Emperor Bemarin (Bream), the first Principal Chief of the Coweta (Creek) Confederacy, when it was formed in 1717, was a descendant of Melilot.  Bemarin is a Sephardic family name.

This 1620 map clearly labels both the Kingdom of Apalache and the Melilot Colony. Lake May (Lake Tama) is shown far too large for its actual size on this map. The log jam and alluvial soil that created it was pierced or broken by floods in the mid-1600s. The shallow lake soon shrank into being a swamp, now called the Little Ocmulgee River Swamp.

Then on April 29, 2015 the great mother lode of them all was discovered. With the help of Dr. Grahamme Davies, the famous Welsh poet and now Assistant Private Secretary for HRH Prince Charles, I was able to locate a box containing the original Migration Legend of the Creek People from June 7, 1735. Its location has been unknown since the summer of 1735. The box also contained other priceless documents, which described the initial contacts between the founders of the Georgia Colony and the Creek Indians.

As is the tradition of the Creek People, a transcription of the original Migration Legend was offered to Thomas Yahoola, Speaker of the Muscogee-Creek National Council.  As also is the tradition of the Creek People,  the National Council graciously accepted it.  Such was was not the case with some non-Native American institutions, who presumably would have been jumping at the bit to see it.

This following incident is typical of the surrealistic response of academia to these important discoveries. The Georgia Historical Society and University of Georgia Native American Studies Program didn’t even respond to an offer of being sent a copy of the original Migration Legend. A friend of mine, Dr. Joseph Kitchens, who is Director of Georgia’s official Native American museum, the Funk Heritage Center, suggested that I offer a copy to the University of Oklahoma, since Georgia university professors refused to communicate with me.

No one at the University of Oklahoma responded to emails, so I called the Anthropology Department. Fortunately, a Creek lass answered the phone and immediately recognized the significance of our discovery. She gave me the name of a professor to contact.

We did get one response from that professor. It was a terse question, “Who was the translator of this inaccurate version?” Apparently, the professor still did not understand that we had THE Migration Legend that had been lost for 280 years. I wrote back . . . Kvsvponvkesa ~ Mary Musgrove. Mary Musgrove was one of the most famous Creek women, who ever lived, but apparently the professor had never heard of her. I didn’t get another response. Now the train has left the station, it is too late.


Three other migration legends

It should be noted that there were three other migration legends recorded by Georgia officials, whose existences were forgotten, but not lost. The Itsate Creek (Hitchiti) Migration Legend describes them as coming across the sea from the south to a land of marshes (Florida) then migrating northward to a large lake, where they settled. This was either the Okefenokee Swamp or Lake Tama in Middle Georgia. The Itsate then migrated northward into the mountains, where they built powerful towns in mountain gaps that controlled all the trade routes in the Appalachians. The Itsate were the descendants of the Itza Maya. The Itza Maya also call themselves Itsate.

The Apalache Creek Migration Legend arrived from the Atlantic Ocean, probably sailing the Gulf Stream northward.  High King Chikili described their first town as being located in what is now Downtown Savannah, GA.  Apalache is is Muskogean pronunciation of a Peruvian word that means “Offspring from the Sea.”  According to their legend, their first king was buried there. Tomochichi’s grave is at the site of that king’s mound.

The Apalache then migrated to Lake Tama in central Georgia. Over time their capital moved northward to the point that the Itsate and Apalache were neighbors. The Apalache were originally vassals of the Itsate, but overthrew their masters and created a powerful kingdom that spanned from southwestern Virginia to the Florida Panhandle. Archaeologists call it the Lamar Culture.

The majority of provinces that became the Creek Indians subscribe to another migration legend. This one begins west of the Mississippi. These Muskogeans probably originated in northeastern Mexico because they share words and grammar with the peoples of that region.  By following a red stick with a carved fish head on its end, these bands gradually moved east until they settled in eastern Alabama and western Georgia.

Migration legends verified by geography, linguistics and archaeology

There are many details in the original copy of the Migration Legend that legitimize it as an overview of Native American history. The original homeland of the Cusseta was at the foot of a huge, isolated volcano that was separated from an ocean to the east by a plain. That could only be Orizaba, the highest mountain in Mexico.

Several glyphs from the original Olmec writing system have been found in the art of ancestral Creek towns in Georgia. The Olmec Civilization originated to the south of where the Cusseta originated. The opening pages of the Migration Legend described the Cusseta being oppressed by a more advanced people and also their children being sacrificed.

There were surprises. The Kvse-te received their name because they became vassals of the great town of Kvse (Kusa~Coosa) in northwest Georgia. We are not told what they called themselves beforehand. That means that the people, who built the great town on the Coosawattee River were a different ethnic group than the Kvsete or Cussata.

We are finding a lot of evidence that the Kusa People themselves were Kvsebo (Kaushibo) from eastern Peru and that they entered the Southeastern United States from the Atlantic Coast north of Savannah . . . hence the name of the Cusabo Tribe in South Carolina. It seems to be more than coincidence that the Peruvian lima bean first appeared in the Southeast at the exact same time that the first Kusa village was established in northwest Georgia – c. 1300 AD.

While trying to flee oppression, the Cussetta stumbled upon a major road that interconnected several regions. They called it Nene Hvtka Rakko . . . the Great White Path. Great White Path happens to also be the English translation of the Maya word for a major road between two cities. The “White” adjective signifies that no warfare was allowed along its route.

The term was used again in the last paragraphs of the Migration Legend.  Mikko Chikili, the author of the Migration Legend,  stated that the builders of a great town on the side of Georgia highest mountain had flattened foreheads and built a “Great White Path” from the mountains to the sea. The term Nene Hvtke Rakko was still being used for this route when the British first settled South Carolina. That route is now known as US Highway 129, which connects the Great Smoky Mountains with the Gulf Coast of Florida. It also happens to pass through most of the major indigenous town sites in western North Carolina, Georgia and North Florida.

In the last paragraph of the portion of the document discussing the Cusatta’s journey, they left the higher mountains and settled in the lower mountains of Georgia, where the Palache (Apalache) lived. This collaborates the book by Charles de Rochefort, who also placed the Apalache in the lower mountains of Georgia.

The Apalache Foundation is now studying a cluster of Native American towns in Northeastern Georgia, built out of both field and quarried stone . . . exactly where a 17th century French ethnologist and the 18th century Creek Principal Chief, Chikili, said they would be.

Sometimes, you CAN believe everything you read.

Shrine built above my mountainside terrace garden that honors the day that the Migration Legend was discovered . . . by marking the shadow of the sunset.

Shrine built above my mountainside terrace garden that honors the day that the Migration Legend was discovered . . . by marking the shadow of the sunset.

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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.



    Hey Richard and others who are interested,

    This is an amazing discovery and a great post.
    I have read it couple times over.

    It’s unbelievable that the universities don’t even bother to take a look at it.
    This is further proof that there are people who want to keep the truth hidden.

    Hopefully in the near future; the history books can be re-written.

    For me the other migration legends in your post/article are of interest.

    When I read that Istate Creek (Hitchiti) and Apalache are linked to the sea,
    it makes me wonder how far south they came from.

    As you know; I have been doing extensive and intensive research on the words for
    (oak)trees / canoes in various native American languages.

    When Apalache “offspring from the Sea” is a word of Peruvian origin then
    we can expect that the Muskogee-Creek word kvlvpe
    (kalapi/kulupi?) = pin-,white oak originated (in-)directly from south America.

    This of course is my theory; and let me remind you I’m a part time researcher.

    I have no information on the names (words) for tree in the Peruvian language;
    but I can imagine it to be similar to the Tunebo (U’wa) word Karukwa = tree.

    Why do I think that the word karukwa is important?

    I hypothesize in the case of the spreading of the word karukwa;
    that there was an upward migration (from south to north) from mainland South America
    into mainland North America via the Ocean and Sea.
    When you look on a map you can see that Colombia where the Tunebo (U’wa) are located;
    has access to both the North Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean sea.

    When you look at the similar words for (oak)tree in mainland North America;
    you will see that most if not all are found in languages near the coast;
    in this case near the North Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico (and North Atlantic Ocean?).

    Alawas = tree, valley oak – Miwok -near/on North Pacific Ocean

    Aruwax = tree, white oak – Chalon -near/on North Pacific Ocean

    Talewil = tree – Wiyot -near/on North Pacific Ocean

    Kalapi = pin-, white oak – Muskogee-Creek -near/on Gulf of Mexico

    Garuda = tree – Mohawk oneida -near/on North Atlantic Ocean ?

    I have taken a closer look at the Warao language in Venezuela.
    It is said to be an language isolate,
    yet there seems to be a link via the word aruwa = sago-canoe and the word karukwa = tree
    in neighbouring Colombian Tunebo (U’wa) language.

    Unless there was intensive contact (via trade); the Warao being a language isolate
    makes it virtually impossible to link the Tunebo/U’wa, Arawak(Taino),
    Lokono and Carib languages together.

    When these tribes truly were trading and seafaring people;
    it would be possible and more likely that they have borrowed words from eachother.
    In this case the word aruwa from karukwa could have been a loan word
    into the various languages spoken on the coast of north and stouh California, in the Caribbean sea and eventually in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The Taino word Kanowa where the Spanish word canoa and later the Englsih
    word canoe comes from could be ultimately derived from Karukwa.


    Kanowa – k ano wa = canoe – Taino
    Karukwa- k aru wa = tree – Tunebo (U’wa)

    Garuda – g aru da = tree – Mohawk oneida

    Here also the Mohawk oneida word for tree is similar.

    How did the word Karukwa (aruwa) entered the Muskogee language in Florida?

    Having looked into the possible migration routes via the sea south of Florida
    I have come to the temporary conclusion that the dispersal place is more likely to be
    found on an island nearby rather than directly from mainland south America.

    After having done some research; I found a plausible dispersal place which is the island Cuba. Western Cuba to be more precise.
    Cuba is right between the Caribbean sea and Gulf of Mexico.

    Here I found that there was a people/tribe called Guanahatabey.
    The Guanahatabey died off early in the period of the Spanish colonization.
    From little that is known of them; there seems to be parallels in the Warao language.

    It has also been hypothesized that the Timucua language (another language isolate)
    is related to the Warao language.
    If so; the Muskogee-Creek word kvlvpe could be a loan from Timucua
    in turn from Guanahatabey from Warao;
    and ultimately perhaps from the Tunebo (U’wa) ‘karukwa’.

    Another possibility is that the Itza Maya, Apalache migrated via (west-)Cuba;
    had trade relations with the Guanahatabey or atleast had contact;
    bringing Warao words with them during their migration into Florida.

    Here the other migration legends stating that the Itsate Creek and Apalache
    “came from the sea (from the south)”; “are offspring from the sea”
    also seem to hold some truth as well.


    I can’t wait to see what else comes from these findings. I have always been fascinated with some of those “lost civilizations,” especially of the Mayan and Olmec. I was just curious, in what form did the copy come in? Is the cover photo at the beginning of the article a part of your findings or just a comparison of an older found Mayan text?

    • The original documents are on parchment and difficult to read because over the past 280 years of sitting in a box under less than ideal conditions, the ink has bled through the parchment. The folks in England generously paid for high resolution photos of the original documents rather than charging me the normal fee that would have been several hundred pounds. I used special software developed for analyzing ancient maps to make the documents more readable. The section of the writing you see in the photo was a product of my software. The Apalache writing system was described as “peculiar red and black characters, not pictures or letters.” This is exactly what Postclassic Itza Maya writing looks like, so I spliced a section of a Itza Codex dating from around 1600 to the photo. We already known some of the glyphs in the Apalache writing system. They are on the art produced at Etowah Mounds and on Boulder Six of the Track Rock petroglyphs. They are definitely Itza glyphs. The inscription at Track Rock reads: Hene Mako Ahau Kukulkan, which means “Great Sun (High King) Lord Quetzal Serpent (Quetzalcoatl). What is interesting is that Lord Quetzalcoatl was the leader of the Toltec city now called Tula. Tula is actually just the Totonac word for city or large town. He and his followers fled from Tula and sailed into the Gulf of Mexico a year or two before the founding of the town at Track Rock Gap. In other words, Copal (Track Rock) could have been founded by Lord Quetzalcoatl himself – or perhaps his son. Next month, the director of the Funk Heritage Center will be in London, looking for the buffalo vellum on which the Apalache version of the Migration Legend was painted. Oh, by the way, the Itsate Creek word for town or city is also Tula. The Muskogee Creek word, talwa, was derived from tula.


        Very interesting! I have been re learning my Chickasaw language and since we are of a Muskogean dialect as well; I can see the similarities.
        For instance:
        “okla”= town, land, etc.
        “minko” (other spellings include miko, Mingo, micco)= Chief, King, etc
        “itti” = tree
        “piini’ sawa’,” “piinoshi'”= canoe/boat
        Upon looking at our Chickasaw dictionary there are a few different words that are affiliated with oak, such as: (boshto”, chiskilik, chisa’, nassapi’, shokhalanchapi’.)


    I am very excited to see this! I don’t care if universities aren’t interested. I would personally love copies of these maps and translations. I had long theorized based on my own research that despite the general accepted migration story, Koweta was from Mexico. My theory is actually that they or at least some of them are from Colima. Are there any plans to compile these images into anything for sale? I would love to have them if ever it were possible.

    • Hey Samantha
      Actually there was a prominent division of the Creeks called the Colima and they made the Chihuahua pots just like the Colima in Mexico. Guess, you are just coming onto POOF. We had a article awhile back where I had traced the Coweta back to the Northeast Georgia and North Carolina Mountains near Dillard, GA and Franklin, NC. Scroll for an article about “Muskogee originated in North Carolina Mountains.” About the book . . . POOF researchers are going to combine all of our amazing discoveries in the colonial archives into one book. I will announce when it is published. Have a blessed day. Richard


        Hi Richard-I’ve been researching Colima, Mexico and the Creek Indian -I’ve been commissioned to publish a book On Dr. A.A. Guglieri from Genoa ,Italy during the
        Late 1800’s he lived for 11 years with locals in Colima studying their herbs, he studied their ways and healed. He came to San Francisco later in 1800’s continued his medical research at Stanford Univeraity first three years of being founded – I have translated a phamphlet published by him in 1917, there are testamonials of his patients, and their praises. If anyone has information I would appreciate being contacted. Dr Guglieri married twice both his wives were from Colima. Thank you ,Sherma

        • No one has any information because the Caucasian anthropology professors here do not even know about the connection between Colima and the Kolimo-Creeks. They settled on the lower Chattahoochee and were famous for making effigy pots of small dogs just like the ones in Colima. Kolomoki Mounds is named after them, but they probably migrated into the region several hundred years after those mounds were built. Creeks, whose ancestors came from the Lower Chattahoochee River, typically show some DNA trace markers from the tribes in northwestern Mexico and also the Pima in the SW United States.


    it’s time to let the rest of the world know the TRUTH regarding the planned genocide of the Southeastern Indians. Especially, the murders and thefts of Creek land in Georgia and Alabama.
    “The Alabama Terror” was real and it is past time that those responsible were revealed. Keep the faith!


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