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Video: Ancestors of the Florida Apalachee in Colombia

Video:  Ancestors of the Florida Apalachee in Colombia


Two things immediately caught my eye is this video with English subtitles.  The chiefs word a “split cane, halo-like crown like those of the Florida Apalachee and the communal building was very similar to those built by the Florida Apalachee and Calusa.  It is rectangular and has a gable roof.  Spanish missionaries to the Apalachee adopted this architectural tradition to the construction of mission churches.

I also noticed several artistic themes practiced by the Yurupari, which were very similar to Florida Apalachee art, but not proto-Creek art.  Some of the engraved wood motifs of the Yurupari can also be seen in Florida Apalachee copper art.

Almost all references describe Florida Apalachee as “Southern Muskogeans.”  However, none of the surviving Apalachee place names and political titles are Muskogean words.   All are South American words, the vast majority being Southern Arawak.  The Florida Apalachee never called themselves by that name, until the Spanish told them that was their name.  They had one village, named Apalachen (plural of Apalache) which was a colony from the Highland Apalache in Georgia.


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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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