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Video: Did you know that no one knows who was living here when De Soto came through?

Video: Did you know that no one knows who was living here when De Soto came through?



When is the last time you saw a bald Creek?

In 1976, the US Forest Service installed a small museum in its new observation facility atop Brasstown Bald Mountain, GA.  It displayed hundreds of stone weapons and tools, plus potsherds that represented human occupation of the Southern Appalachians since the Ice Age.  The exhibit was labeled, “10,000 years of Cherokee history.”   In a back corner of the museum, was a stooped, almost naked manikin (left) with Middle Eastern features that was labeled “A Moundbuilder.”  Next to the exhibit was a card that stated: “No one knows who the mound builders were.  They briefly lived in North Georgia and then disappeared.”    

This statement became a mantra for the Eastern Band of Cherokees until the present.   Their logic is that since no one knows who the mound builders were and since the new Cherokee Dictionary has a gorget from Columbus, GA on it and the Eastern Band of Cherokees Tribal Historic Preservation Office has as its logo, a gorget excavated at Etowah Mounds and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian has as its logo, a gorget excavated near Cahokia, Illinois . . .  the most likely candidates for the mound builders are the Cherokees.

The US Forest Service sponsored the excavation of an early 17th century farmstead in Northeast Georgia this past year.  The USFS advertisement stated that they were going to determine, which Indian tribe was living in the region in the early 1600s.  Would it be our buddies, the Cherokees?  Stay tune and find out.   I was wondering how the archaeologists were going to get around the discovery that the Cherokees were not living anywhere in the Southern Appalachians until the late 1600s. 

This video carried the logic of the “we don’t know who the mound builders were” a step further.  US Forest Service archaeologist, James Wettstaed, states in the video that the Cherokees and Creeks were not mentioned by De Soto so we do not know who was living here then.  

Say what?  Duh-h-h,  both words are English ethnic labels and did not appear until around 1715.   The film shows Lamar Complicated Stamp potsherds found at this archaeological site, but does not tell you that the Lamar Village site is near Macon, GA and that even the most brain-challenged Dixie archaeologists equate the Lamar Culture with the Creek Indians.   Therefore, the video never tells the viewer that this farmstead was occupied by ancestors of the Creek Indians.

By the way, all of the major towns mentioned by De Soto’s chroniclers, while he was in Georgia and the Southern Highlands, became branches of the Creek Confederacy.  Also . . . why in the heck are all the excavators wearing construction hard hats?  Were they protection from the falling embers being spewed by the forest firestorms.  Also, doesn’t the USFS know that only architects, engineers and construction managers are allowed to wear white helmets on a construction site?  That requirement is in the International Building Code.

THEN  INSTEAD . . . an employee of the Eastern Band of Cherokees Tribal Historic Preservation Office is interviewed, who tells us that “we are here to learn more about the history of OUR people.” 

So . . . John Q. Public will be left with the impression that this farmstead, dating from around 1600 AD,  was occupied by Cherokees, when exactly the opposite discovery was made.  This is why in my editorials, I warn you repeatedly about the propaganda coming out of government agencies these days.  For some reason, not clearly understood,  changing the history of the United States has a very high priority among US Forest Service bureaucrats.   Putting out forest fires, before they become national disasters, is not a high priority. 

By the way . . . the last name of the Cherokee bureaucrat interviewed means “Shawnee People” in  Upper Creek.  I doubt if she knows that, though.   There is nothing inaccurate stated about the half of the house that they excavated.  It’s just what else they said.  Enjoy the video.

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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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