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There was no “Creek” Migration Legend

There was no “Creek” Migration Legend

The MANY migration legends of the Creek Confederacy

Oklahoma Creek students are now being taught that the migration story presented by High King Chikili to the leaders of Savannah in 1735 was THE migration legend of all the Muskogee-Creeks . . . that it begins in the Rocky Mountains and that the Muskogees originally lived along the Red River in Oklahoma.  This is false, Oklahoma-centric history that was dumped on them by Caucasian academicians.  The best known of the numerous Creek migration legends is strictly that of a band of Toltecs in Mexico, who called themselves the Taskete (Tesquita in contemporary Spanish). They were the ancestors of both Cusseta and Taskete/Tuskegee Creeks. The original Creek Migration Legends were recorded by Thomas Christie, Secretary of the Province of Georgia, between 1733 and 1737.  They were ultimately stored in a wooden crate at Lambeth Palace in England until rediscovered in April 2015.  However, summarized versions of most of these oral histories have been in publication since the 1730s, so there is no excuse for Caucasian archaeologists and academicians to claim that the ancestors of Creeks were a single ethnic group, which always lived in the Southeastern United States.

(1) Muskogee (Maskoke, Mvskoke) – This is a relatively new term that first appeared in the late 1740s, during the reign of High King Malatchi.  Its meaning is not obvious, because masko is not in the Muskogee-Creek dictionary. It possibly was derived from the Ladino (Spanish Sephardic) verb, meaning “to mix.”  Malatchi was probably the son or grandson of a Jewish trader, because he had a Hebrew name.  Maskoke was coined to give a name to the members of the Creek Confederacy, who originally spoke several languages and dialects.  However, until the late 1780s, Itsate (Hitchiti) was spoken by more people in Georgia, than either English or Muskogee.  The Muskogee language was originally derived from the dialects spoken by a militarily powerful minority in the 1717 Creek Confederacy.

(2) Muskogee-speaking Migration Legends – There are NO surviving migration legends for any of the Muskogee-speaking branches of the Creek Confederacy.  The Akfvske (Oakfuskee) Creeks did tell Georgia officials that their ancestors tagged along with the Tohkase  (Tuckabatchee), when they migrated southward from the mountains.  At the time, when Juan Pardo was exploring the Appalachians ((1567-9) the Tokase lived in the vicinity of Highlands and Sapphire Valley, North Carolina. Their name became the root of such place names as Tocaria, Togaria, Toccoa and Tugaloo.

(3) People of One Fire or Creek Confederacy – As clearly and repeatedly stated in the original version of the Kaushete Migration Legend . . . the original Creek Confederacy was formed by the Alabama, Kaushete, Chickasaw and Apike to oppose both the Apalache (NE Georgia Creeks) and the tribes that spoke Muskogee, who were invading the region from the northeast.

  • The Second Creek Confederacy or Apalachen Confederacy was composed of all tribes from SW Virginia to SW Georgia and was called by the French, the Kingdom of Apalache.  It corresponds to what anthropologists call the Lamar Culture.  After the Paracusa or High King of Apalache was converted to Protestant Christianity by six French Huguenot survivors of Fort Caroline, most of the elite and people that we now call the Apalachicola Creeks, also became Christians. Other member provinces reverted back to their traditional religions.  The kingdom unraveled. Thus, by the early 1600s onward, the High King had little political power outside of Northeast Georgia, but was treated as a Pope-like figure by the other provinces.  This version of the alliance was unraveled first by a smallpox plague in 1696 and then by a massive military victory by  Cherokee invaders in 1716.
  • The Third Creek Confederacy was founded in 1717 at what it is now Ocmulgee National Historic Park.  The mikko of the Coweta Creeks, Bemarin (Emperor Brim), played a high-handed role in forging this alliance in order to create a united military resistance to tribes, invading from the north and a single political voice to European powers.  Bemarin is a Sephardic and French Jewish family name.  Undoubtedly Emperor Brim was part Jewish.  The Chickasaws were original members of this People of One Fire also, but dropped out when High King Bemarin pushed through a law, which mandated the use of Coweta’s dialect, now called Muskogee, as the parliamentary tongue for all Confederacy meetings.  Bemarin tried to persuade the alliance to wage war on the Chickasaws, but their long time allies, the Upper Creeks, vetoed the proposal.

(4) Uchee – The Uchee told Georgia officials that their ancestors sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from the “Home of the Sun.”  There was no one living in the Lower Southeast at the time, but they saw mounds, built by an earlier people. Uchee seems to be derived from the hybrid Proto-NW European word for water, Ue, with the Muskogean suffix meaning “descendants of.”    The Muskogee Creeks also used “ue” for water.  All other Muskogean languages use “oka” which is linked to the same Proto-Mediterranean root word as the Latin word for water, aqua.

(5) Apalache (NE Georgia), Apalachicola and Cusabo –  They told Georgia officials that their ancestors came across the ocean from the south.  They first landed on the South Atlantic Coast near Savannah then spread inland and northward.   Their first capital was where Downtown Savannah is today.  Their first king is buried in the “Indian King’s Mound” in Savannah.  Apalache is the Europeanization of the Panoan (Peru) word Aparasi, which means “From the Ocean (or alternatively Upper Amazon Basin) -Descendants of.   Even today, some of the most basic words of the Creek languages mean the same in Panoan, the language of many tribes in eastern Peru and the Upper Amazon Basin.  However, Uchee, Creek and Panoan also share some root words with Swedish and English.  Those words in Swedish and English seem to predate the arrival of Germanic peoples in Scandinavia.

(6) Chickasaw – The Chickasaws told Georgia officials that their ancestors “came out of the ground” in some mountainous region far to the west . . . probably western Tamaulipas State, Mexico.   They settled down for awhile along the Mississippi River then parted ways with their Choctaw kin.  They then migrated as far east as the Savannah River.  It was in Northeast Georgia where a more advanced people (Itza Maya refugees) taught them how to grow corn.  They then began spreading westward.  At the time Georgia was founded in 1733,  the Chickasaw’s capital was on the Tennessee River near Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  However, even then their territory spanned a vast distance from Paducah, Kentucky to Cleveland, GA (just south of Yonah Mountain) to even southwest Georgia along the Chickasawhatchee River.  About 80% of the territory now claimed by Cherokees as where their ancestors lived for 12,000 years, was Chickasaw Territory in 1715.  Chickasaws continued to live in Northeast and Southwest Georgia until 1817.

(7) Tulase (Talasee, Tulse, Tulsa) – They told Georgia officials that they were the descendants of the founders of Etula (Etowah Mounds).  This great town was founded around 1000 AD.  The word, Etula, is Itza Maya and means “Principal Town or Capital.”

(8) Okvte (Ocute, Oconee) – They told Georgia officials that their ancestors came across the ocean and first lived for a long time in the Okefenokee Swamp.  Their name means Water People.  They then began migrating northward until the established great towns along the Oconee River in Georgia and on the Oconaluftee River in North Carolina (present day Cherokee Reservation).  Oconaluftee is derived from Okvni-lufte, which mean “Okonee People – Massacred.”

(9) Appalachian Itsate (Hitchiti) and Chiaha – They told Georgia officials that their ancestors came across the ocean from the south and then migrated up to the Chattahoochee River to its source.  They then spread to cover much of the Southern Appalachians.  Both Itsate and Chiaha are Itza Maya words . . . meaning “Itza People” and “Salvia River.”

(10) Macon, GA area Itsate – Mikko Tamachichi told Governor Oglethorpe that his ancestors came across the ocean from the south.  The first lived near the shore of Lake Okeechobee, Florida then migrated northward to a land of grassy marshes . . . probably either the Everglades or the headwaters of the St. Johns River.  They then migrated northward and settled in the Savannah, GA area, where they lived for many years before finally migrating to the Ocmulgee River near present day Macon.

(11) Kansa or Kaw – The Kansa people originated in South Carolina. They migrated to McKee’s Island on the Tennessee River near present day Guntersville, Alabama, where they lived in earth-bermed houses with thatched roofs.  After outgrowing the island, they migrated to the Coosawattee River Basin around 1300 AD, where a Muskogean people became their elite. The elite called themselves the Mesoamerican name of Kawse, which means “Eagle-Descendants of.”  This is how the Kansa acquired their alternative name and why their word for eagle is the same as the Itza Maya word for eagle. Kawse or Kause, is the actual name of the Kusa People. Most of the Kansa left the region during a terrible drought in the late 1500s, eventually arriving on the Kansas River, where they became allied with other Siouan earthlodge people, originally from the Lower Southeast, such as the Mandan, Arikara, Ato and Quapaw.  Some of the Kansa or Kawse moved downstream on the Coosa River, where they became members of the Creek Confederacy.   *Archaeological excavations by several prominent Twentieth Century archaeologists back up the original Kansa Migration Legend 100%, but in recent years Midwestern anthropologists have been telling them that they were from “somewhere” in the Midwest.  So the new generation of Kansa believe this false history concocted by academicians.

(12) Kaushete (Cussate, Cusseta) – The is their legend, which the Oklahoma Creeks are now calling “the Muskogee-Creek Migration Legend.”  It actually is a saga about the Taskete (Tesquita), a Tolteca tribe, which migrated to northwest Georgia and then took on the name of their landlords, the Kawshe (Kusa).  In their migration legend, presented by High King Chikili on June 7, 1735 to the leaders of Savannah, they were called the Kawshete, which means “Kusa People.”   Whereas the Taskete/Tuskegee continued to speak a Mesoamerican language similar to Itza Maya and Huastec, the Cusseta in Georgia eventually adopted the language of Coweta, which is now called Muskogee. 

Originally, the Taskete (Kaushete) were a Toltec tribe, living in caves on the slopes of the Orizaba Volcano in southwestern Vera Cruz State, Mexico. After learning how to grow crops, they migrated up and down the Yama (Jamapo) River, which even today is often called the Bloody River.   After being persecuted by more advanced people they migrated along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico on the Great White Path until they reached the Mississippi River Basin.  There they dwelled for several generations before migrating due east.  They eventually settled in the land of the Kawshe, now typically called the Kusa.   Their town was visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition and called Tasqui.  It most likely was the site of a large Proto-Creek town and Cherokee village on the edge of Fontana Lake, now called Tuskeegee.

A terrible drought struck the mountains, probably the one that began in 1585.  A band of Taskete fled upstream until they reached the terminus of the Great White Path (US 129) at Chiaha. Great White Path is the English translation of the Itza Maya name for a major road. The real site of Chiaha is quite visible in Fontana Lake, just downstream of where, as stated by De Soto’s chroniclers, three rivers meet . . . the Little Tennessee, Nantahala and Tuckasegee.  From Chiaha, this band traveled southward on the Great White Path to a large town on the side of a mountain, occupied by people with flattened foreheads.  This was probably the Track Rock Terrace Complex.  The band ransacked the town then fled southward until they reached the lower Georgia Mountains and the Province of Apalache.  Here they were given sanctuary and assigned to live across the river from the town of Coweta.  From then on, the Coweta and Cusseta paired their towns, wherever they established colonies.

(13) The Otase or Atase – The Otase, known to Anglo-Americans as Atasee, first lived in South Carolina.  They migrated to the Ocmulgee River near present day Warner-Robbins, GA.  Here they learned how to grow corn  from a more advanced people and built earth-bermed houses on low mounds with thatched roofs.  During a terrible drought, some left the region and traveled westward until they reached the Missouri River, where they settled among other Siouan earthlodge builders from the Southeast, such as the Mandan and Arikara.  Those on the Missouri River are known as the Otoe People.  Late 20th century academicians speculated that the Otoe were from the Midwest (Wisconsin) and were really a branch of the Ho-Chunk People (Winnebago).   However, the Ho-chunk were not earth lodge builders, where as the Otase were.  The Otase, who remained in Georgia eventually joined the Creek Confederacy then moved to the Chattahoochee River when their land on the Ocmulgee was ceded in 1805.  They do not have a separate identity today within the Muscogee-Creek Nation.


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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.



    Please forgive my ignorance once again, but which of these migration legends do you think would apply to the Pee Dee?

    • Georgia Colonial officials had no contact with the Pee Dee. I can tell you this. They were once a very powerful people in the Wataree River Basin. They were originally known as the Vehite. Their capital was Ilape. They eventually sold their land to South Carolina and moved to North Georgia. Then after the American Revolution, they moved to eastern Alabama, where they became known to white families as the Hirapes or the Hillabees. Even though they had sent word to General Jackson that they were not hostile, many were massacred by Tennessee volute2rs who intentionally killed them because there was gold on their land.


    Richard, Thanks for the many articles. I don’t know what the symbol means yet but on a tv show I noticed the same symbol for the Savanna boat boulder (line with a circle on the top) used by “the old men people” in Western Saudi Arabia. This geo-Earth symbol is also found in Chile in the Atacama desert…Understood as some of the most ancient Geoglyphs anywhere. A connection from the Mediterranean Sea route.


    Richard, This symbol found in Georgia, Middle East, South America…could be a connection to the last of the Cro-Magnon man (The old men people). That seems to fit with some Native lore of Giant sized people on this land mass before them. Is it possible you have found the artwork of the so called “Clovis people” of Spain / France / Americas on that Savanna boulder that migrated as far South as Chile. The cave artwork of South America seems to match caves in Spain/France.


    Hey Richard:
    So sorry to hear about the cancelation of the Summer solstice celebration. My Dad and sister will be up in your area June 20-24 and he would like to have you give him a call to get together then. Just give him a call and leave your new number on his voice mail he can call you to get together then. Glenn Drummond is the name. He would be sending you this email but his computer is on the fritz.


    Extremely excellent information and after reading your articles I am convinced that people of the Maya civilization came to North Georgia and other places in North America. Extremely love everything that you do, and thank you so much for presenting information that people otherwise wouldn’t know about. By the way, I notice that the mountains and mist in the mountains around where I am in Chattanooga (and also in North Georgia) look similar to the mountains and the mist in the parts of Mexico where the people of the Maya civilization came from. I imagine that they thought North Georgia and the region around Chattanooga looked like home.

    • Don’t have proof of it, but I strongly suspect that the advanced people, who settled on the Cumberland River near Nashville were Maya refugees. Like the people in Georgia’s Nacoochee Valley, they placed their dead in stone lined sarcophagi near their homes just like the Maya commoners did. They were also possibly on Moccasin Island in Chattanooga. Good to hear from Chattanuga. By the way, Chattanuga literally means “red neck” in Muskogee-Creek.” Rather than referring to people, it probably refers to the red-colored rocks along a narrow gorge of the Tennessee River.


        Hello Mr Thornton!
        I just this very date stumbled onto your name and noted that you know a great deal about various tribes of my area. I am wondering if you might be able to help me find information on a several times great grandmother named Meletta Shawuanne, a Shawnee, who married Pierre Sauret Tippins (or Tippens…there are various spellings) in the mid 1700’s. He was allegedly a French-Canadian fur trader on the Ohio River. We have more or less dead ended finding information about them so am hoping you might know where I can search next. I am not well versed in genealogy but do enjoy finding more about my elders. Thank you.

        • Belva, you didn’t tell me where you live! I don’t do genealogical work and my research is mostly in the period before 1700s. I would be able to tell you the location of Native American tribes in 1750, if I knew your location.


    Hi, just want to say that I find your research fascinating! I have spent over 40 years on genealogy and was always mystified of my NA roots. Now, DNA tells me I have Mayan and Andean roots. Always wondered how my ancestors have the most DNA matches from South America. All makes sense now with your research. . One of my families admits NA heritage because “Betsy STACK was a full blood Cherokee and was married in the Cherokee Purchase of Georgia”. I researched New Achota records to no avail although I do have Moravians in my tree. My families are in Surry County NC, where Salem, a Moravian Church has a large community. Long ago I decided that the Cherokee reference was incorrect. Saura Indians were interesting to me because they were in Surry County, then disappeared. Now, with your research, I am beginning to think I am onto something. Were my ancestors Creek? I hope so…

    Thank you so much,

    • Yes, our family is a mixture of Mesoamerican and Panoan (Peru) also . . . in addition to Sami from Scandinavia and Polynesian from “who knows where?” Glad that you are enjoy our articles.


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