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Why study the peoples of Mesoamerica, the Andes and Amazon Basin?

Again this month,  the People of New Fire web site has added many new readers.  The new subscribers are probably wondering why a research alliance, supposedly devoted the study of the Southeastern indigenous peoples, devotes so much attention on South America, Mesoamerica and the Caribbean Basin.  There are several reasons.


It is quite common for Creeks, Seminoles, Miccosukees and Koasati’s to carry at least a trace of Mesoamerican DNA.  In some individual families, Mesoamerican DNA is predominant.   The “Mayas in Georgia thing” was NEVER a theory.

As commercial DNA labs became more sophisticated in their analysis of individual genetic samples, something totally unexpected was also appearing . . . DNA test markers from northwestern South America.   Native American descendants from such widespread regions as South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, western Virginia and southern Louisiana were showing up with substantial ancestry from ether the Andes Mountains or Amazon Basin.

There is a unique population of Native American descendants in one Georgia mountain county that was geographically isolated until paved highways were constructed over the mountain passes in the mid-20th century.  It has exceptionally high percentage of Asiatic ancestry, about 500% higher than the median of BIA card-carrying Native American descendants in the North Carolina Cherokee Reservation, 50 miles to the north.  When some of these people had their DNA tested, they were shocked to discover that their Asiatic DNA was 100% Peruvian,  or a mixture of Peruvian, Maya and typical Creek DNA test markers.  Keep in mind that even typical Muskogean test markers were originally from northern Mexico.


We have always known that Muskogee-Creek is the most aberrant Muskogean language and Cherokee is the most aberrant Algonquian language.  There was something radically wrong in the orthodoxy that academicians had adopted to explain the origins of these languages. The Southern Shawnee, Muskogees and Cherokees share the same suffix (ki~gi) for “people or tribe.”  “Ke” or “ki” is a suffix for “people or tribe” used by several Southern Arawak peoples in the Andes and northern Amazon Basin.

Other branches of the Creek Confederacy use different suffixes for “people or tribe.” The Itsate (Hitchiti)  and Koasati use the Itza Maya suffix, “te.”  The Tamale (Tamaule) used the suffixes from northeastern Mexico, “le” and “tli.”  The Apalache (Apalachicola) of northeastern Georgia and the Chattahoochee River Basin used the Peruvian suffix “kora,” which Muskogees pronounce as “kola.”  Apalache itself, is the Europeanization of the hybrid Peruvian-Muskogean word, Aparasi, which means “From – ocean – offspring of.”  The Chickasaws and Choctaws use “okla” which appears to have evolved from okora~okola, and means “principal people” in eastern Peru.

Almost all the words associated with architecture, agriculture, trade,  political offices and writing in the Itsate-Creek language are pure Itza Maya words.  Itsate was the predominant language of much of Georgia, western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee in 1540.  Itsate is also what the Itza Mayas called themselves.   Muskogee Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Alabama contain many  of those words, but in slightly altered forms.  For example, the Itza/Itsate words hene ahau (sun lord) is  henehv (henehaw) in Muskogee-Creek and is now the official title of the Second Chief of the Muscogee-Creek Nation.

The Toasi were located on the Lower Ocmulgee River, when Hernando de Soto came through in 1540. Their capital was name Toa.  A glossary of Toasi words from the 1700s survives.  It is definitely a mixture of Arawak and Muskogean.  However, the main body of Toasi were Ciboneys along the Toa River of central Cuba and in the Toa Province of north-central Puerto Rico.

Curious as to why the indigenous peoples of the Atlantic Coast in South Carolina and Georgia seemed to have practiced South American cultural traditions at the time of European contact, we closely examined their surviving words and town names.  Most could be easily translated with either Panoan (Conabo-Shipibo-Kashibo) dictionaries from Peru or Tupi Language Family dictionaries from Brazil.  A town named Satipo was located on the coast of Georgia and in the Tennessee section of the Smoky Mountains.  Satipo is also an ancient city in eastern Peru.   It means “Place of the Colonists” in Panoan – referring to Southern Arawak peoples, who fled there from northern Peru to escape the Incas.

Coming back to Muskogee-Creek and Cherokee . . . we found that each language contained other important words, borrowed from Peru.  The Chisqua (Bird) Clan of the Cherokees obviously gets its name from the Chiska People, who lived in eastern Tennessee and eastern Peru.  Chiska also means “bird” in the Panoan languages.  The Muskogee words for a village chief or foreman, orata,  is even today the Panoan word for a village chief.   The Muskogee words for tobacco and Yaupon Holly~Sacred Black Drink are the same among the Panoans of Peru.  Sacred Black Drink is still an important aspect of Panoan cultural practices.   There are probably many other connections between Muskogee, Cherokee and Peru that we just have not discovered yet.

Apalache-SatipoComparisonPottery and artistic themes

A radically different style of pottery, along with the construction of pyramidal mounds suddenly appeared in Georgia about 1900 years ago.   It was followed by Weeden Island pottery, which had a distinct Caribbean feel to it and finally, Napier pottery, which looked like Swift Creek pottery converted to angular geometric shapes.  Then suddenly around 800 AD shell-tempered pottery identical to what Maya commoners made suddenly appeared in Georgia.

It never dawned on those archaeologists, who presented themselves as THE EXPERTS on the Woodland Period in the Southeast to look elsewhere for cultural influences.  In fact, pyramidal earthen mounds identical to those at Kolomoki and the Chattahoochee and Etowah Rivers in Georgia, plus Nanih Waiya in Mississippi, were being built in Peru several centuries earlier and at the same time.

Well, there is something else.   To this day, the clothing of the Conibo People in Peru looks like Swift Creek pottery,  The clothing of the Shipibo People in Peru looks like Napier pottery.  As POOF subscribers saw in a recent video,  the dances done by the Shipibo today were painted by French and English painters, who visited the Southeast in the 1500s, 1600s and early 1700s.

Being that the Conibo’s and Shipibo’s were making Swift Creek pottery before it appeared in Georgia, there must be a connection.  They were under severe attacks from the bloodthirsty Moche kingdoms at the very same time that Swift Creek pottery appeared in Georgia.

These discrepancies clearly point out the difference between a professional anthropologist and an archaeological technician . . . even if the latter has a PhD and perceives himself/herself as an intellectual giant.  In my very first meeting with Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, Director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia de Mexico, at the start of a fellowship,  I presented him with two books on the Native American archaeology in the Southeast.  He knew virtually nothing about the Southeast, but after skimming through the books, he instantly recognized that most aspects of the “Mississippian Culture” could be traced to Mesoamerica, but he was puzzled by the stamped pottery styles, such as Swift Creek.  “Ricardo, I think your ceramicas were from somewhere else, far away.”


The Choctaw continued their ancient architectural traditions, dating back to at least 3400 BC.  However, almost all the domestic and public architecture produced by the ancestors of the Chickasaws, Alabamu, Creeks, Koasati, Seminoles and Miccosukee, after around 800 AD, is virtually identical to what can be found among the commoners and less advanced peoples in northeastern and southern Mexico at that time.

The archaeological profession has always been rather vague in its understanding of Woodland Period communities (1000 BC to 800 AD) in the Southeastern United States and Ohio Basin.    Why do the Southeastern Woodland Period mounds look like the Formative Period in Peru, while the geometric earthworks of the Hopewell Culture look like what was being built in the Amazon Basin at that time?

As you can see above,  the people of Amazon Basin are still building houses and outbuildings exactly as they did before Europeans arrived.  The only difference is that they now have steel tools.   I am studying videos and plans of these aboriginal buildings in order to better understand how Southeastern indigenous peoples constructed their buildings.

As you can see in the previous video,  there are tribes in the Amazon Basin, who have never even entered the Stone Age.   Many more live lifestyles akin to the Woodland Period in the Southeast. In general, the indigenous peoples of the eastern Andes and western Amazon Basin have maintained a cultural purity that has been lost in other areas of the Americas.  By studying these primitive peoples we can have a clearer understanding of how the indigenous peoples of North America lived during the Archaic and Woodland Periods.

What we hope to accomplish in 2016 is development of a more solid understanding of the migrations of our Native American ancestors and the lifestyles that they lived.   The information already obtained in 2014 and 2015, will be re-documented with the multiple references that academia demands in order to assume credibility.  The timing and scale of these migrations remain major questions.

The POOF website tries to appeal to the broadest range possible of interests.  If you, the reader would like to suggest other topics, please feel free to do so, by writing us at  

Happy New Year!

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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.



    Richard, First of all… you have done great works in connecting the words and the real history of the South to other parts of the world. That is the reason why words and sound’s cross over the Atlantic and are also found in the Hebrew”Torah”.
    The Pi-Tani (People of Alba) could very well be the Ki-Tani clan of the Cherokee (Chee-ra -ki) word for a Priest. That priest clan was killed off for their abuse of power and the name of GOD “Y_H_W_H” they brought over in the timeline of (1000’s BC-1200’s AD) was later changed to “other meanings”. That would explain the “DNA” from Israel of the Cherokee people and the other Native people with the “X” DNA markers?
    Saint Andrew is believed to have shipwrecked in Scotland (Pi-Tani / Albannach) one of the “10 Lost tribes people?” and founded one of the “first Christian churches” there.
    Clearly that church was seen as a threat to the “Rome church” by it’s leaders (As we have the history to understand that!!) and as you have noted created “one” migration to the South.
    That might be the real reason that Desoto’s army? went again to “Explore” the same area as the 1525-6 first try Spanish colony “Duhare”, red hair people, area? and have you found any Spanish maps with the word Duhare on it?
    The Duhare (Pi-tani) people must have been in the South before 1000’s AD time period as “Red hair, white men” by the Norse saga’s accounts were already in the South. So were African people. As noted in the saga’s.
    4 Tribes of the Hebrews were seafaring people and some could have migrated to other parts of the world before the 700BC time enslavement period.
    They were also Associated with the “conical hat” wearing Phoenicians (Red hair)/Palcusa/ Apalachi /Chisca people? and most likely the decedents of the first Seafaring Kingdom of the world (Called by the Greeks: Atlantis?) The people that have those GENES is would be taller than most people as most of the native American people that migrated across the Gulf or the Atlantic ocean do?
    Clearly Richard, you can read better, a Italian 1527 map, than our so called historian experts can. “Palma” word is clear on that map for palm trees (Florida). Happy New Year!!!

    • Hey Mark

      Kitani and kituwa (Kitooya) are Alabama Language words derived from the Alabama root verb, kituuya, meaning “to ignite a fire.” Apparently, at one time in the past, the ancestors of the Cherokees had Alabama priests.


        Yes… Richard, and as reported by the blood thirsty Spanish conquistadors , the main city of that area was called “Pi-achi”. According to one report… they had Very beautiful women even more beautiful than the ladies of Spain.
        As you have noted there were “pockets” of places that the “Amorite” people were still living in the A-mer-ica’s. As noted even by the Greedy conquistadors and who clearly enslaved them and sold them off like all the other “Indians”. That’s what they called “us, all of us” Indians….
        By the way… “Mer” is a clan name of the Amorite people (2500 BC). Perhaps, they lived in Peru?, Alabama?, Georgia?, South Carolina? as they had migrated mostly to the South by the 1500’s… at one time and left some of their people behind in Peru?
        1st book…2nd chapter…10-14 verse (3.14) Pi.

        Happy Year…Lets’ hope it’s a… GOOD ONE!!!

        • Amorites are Semites. How do you know that there were Amorite People in North America? I never said such a thing. This is exactly how the archaeologists took the “Cherokee thing” to ridiculous extremes and Eurocentric pseudo-historians had everybody except Native Americans building the great American civilizations. You can’t treat a supposition as a fact on which to make another supposition. What we have some evidence of is that AmerIndians were at one time on both sides of the Atlantic and that some bronze weapons and tools have been found in Georgia. They could be items that AmerIndians took back from Europe. They could be from one shipwreck or massacred crew. No one knows the stories behind these artifacts.


            Richard, the Native Americans did build all the earth works in the America’s and Yes.. according to some of the Native nations peoples there were Amorites people living by them in the Ancient days. The “Shawnee”, “Cherokee”, “Chippewa”, the “Ute’s”, “Mexca”, “Maya”, “Inca” all these nations Elders passed on oral and some written records of a mostly Tall, auburn/red haired, Amorite AND a Black haired Hittite, seafaring people that on many accounts “some” got into Boats and went away….
            If you are looking for the “proof” its found by looking at the “embalmed” people of Peru, who according to reports some have” red or auburn”, some have Black hair. Perhaps a few DNA tests would be helpful?
            Perhaps some of the (two groups) merged in the Americas, one from Asia (Hittites) one from South America (Amorites). Both were building Boats (Fisherman) and made it the Americas and then some to Europe and some then continued to the Middle East.
            As you noted “the Stones” hinges people migrated “from” North America… to Europe. “Wood hinges” continued to be made in the Americas as known by Natives here. “Semites” is a term for a “language” and there were many different looking people in the Middle East in the time of the migrations there, one was called the “Amar”. There are many “Semite” sounds connections with the America’s: “Ha”, “Ah” being 2 key one’s
            As is stated in the Torah the genes of JESUS are connected to the (Amorites and Hittites) of the Americas and the other 3 landmasses that these seafaring people had settled long ago.
            That is one interpretation of the Torah History as stated earlier…


    Good post and very interesting comments/ conversation.

    This is my theory and should not be taken as fact until proven.

    Regarding the Cherokee; In an earlier post on the Cherique Province in Panama, I have done some intensive research on the possible translation and meaning of the word/name Cherique or Chiriqui.

    It seems that the Cherique province in Panama was once part of a Kingdom which stretched from Southern Costa Rica to Northern Panama which territory is now called Gran Chiriqui.

    The Spanish claim that the word/name Cherique or Chiriqui is from the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé language.

    In the combined Ngäbere and Buglere language I have managed to form the word “Chi-Ru-Kui” which can be
    translated as “Dwelling place of the Sea People”.

    “Chi” orginally meaning water.

    There is however a song in Panama’s Folklore about a
    certain “Ciri Klave”.
    His origin is shrouded in mystery. Legend says he came from the north (probably Meso America).
    Ciri Klave is said to have came in a great canoe and he
    clashed with the tribes on land (Panama); one being “Deko”.
    Deko seems to have been a leader (chief?) and the main
    enemy of Ciri Klave.

    After some research I found that there is a place in Southern Costa Rica called Diquis meaning “great waters” or
    “great rivers” in the Boruca language.

    Further I found that “di” means water and “kongróhk” means man/male in the Boruca language which forms “dikogróhk”
    or “diko” in short meaning “water man” which can be translated as “Water People” or “Sea People”.

    I also proposed that the mythical figure “Ciri Klave” can be the origin of the word Chiriqui.
    “Ciri Kui” means “People of Ciri” or “Ciri’s People”.

    “Diko” or “Deko” being the Boruca (Costa Rica) word/name
    can be translated as “Chi Kuia” or “Chi Kui” in Buglere (Panama) meaning “Water People” or “Sea People”.
    When you incorporate the word “Ru” meaning canoe the
    word becomes “Chi-Ru-Kui”. Canoe can be a synonym for dwelling place.

    In this case Chiriqui could either refer to “Deko” or
    “Ciri Klave”.

    If there ever is a Middle Eastern origin for the word Cherokee and / or Chiriqui; one should do research on the “Kyriakos” and/or the “Ciriaca”.
    Both Kyriakos and Ciriaca have roughly the same meaning
    “of the Lord” and “belonging to God” in old Greek language.
    This implies that they belong to the early (earliest?)
    Christians of the Middle East.

    Still, To be certain what the real origin is; one would have to determine if the Cherokee and the Chiriqui are one and the same.


      A wonderful post!!! (Ah- Cher-ra-Ki) might be the “Origin” of the Cherokee people name used by some of the other Nations for them. The Cherokee state that their ancestors built “boats” crossed the “Atlantic Ocean” long ago…made it to an Island (Antarctica perhaps?) migrated up South America-Central America-North America in the ancient past.
      The “Yuchi”( Itza-te?) people, “Maiama” (Maya) people “oral and some written” also state that they traveled “from the land of the Sun” long ago. It is looking very clearly that they were all Seafaring people that made it to the America’s.
      There has not been found the proof that “anyone” walked over a “Bering Sea ice bridge” path, so perhaps we might give our ancestors a Brain bigger than ours, (which it was) and understand that some people were fisherman and that’s how they got here?
      There are way two many connections….”FROM” us to Europe….to the Middle East. Follow the “Dolmen” (uncut Altars?) and “Stone Hinge” pillars….. As Richard has noted the historians didn’t even take the time to research the meaning of Native American words or “sounds”. You can find them in the Torah IF you look?


        Thank you.

        The origins of the Cherokee (Souteast North America) and the Chiriqui (Costa Rica and Panama) is very complex.

        There are multiple layers of different tribes living amongst eachother which formed a confederation. It’s difficult to determine which tribe is the original namegiver.

        So far the Costa Rica / Panama Chiriqui Kingdom seems to be a good candidate for the origin. Yet other research done on the Chiriqui Kingdom doesn’t state what the origin is for
        the word/name Chiriqui.

        This leaves the option open for a so-called foreign origin which could very well be the “Kyriakos” or “Ciriaca” which means “of the Lord” and “belonging to God” in old Greek.

        This is why ‘m looking into multiple scenarios.
        All the words that I have found so far in the local
        indigenous languages of Costa Rica and Panama
        which could be the origin of the word/name Chiriqui
        relates to “water” (“sea”) and “man” (“people”) and to Panama’s Folklore “Ciri Klave” which came in a great
        canoe of undetermined origin.


          “Diquis”, “Chisca” ” Mississippi” words are all perhaps connected some way to the migration of the “old language” to the Western Sea area of Europe, “Isca” for water. There are still many towns with the “is” at their ending in Scotland. That “is” word may be one of the ancient words that was part of man’s first language.
          The Torah word “Is-ra-el” I think describes a migration from the West to the Middle East… the last location “Beth-El” where a “Stone pillar” was placed.
          The word “Genes-is” begins the Torah for a reason and Paris means similar to “IS” a lost city long ago.


    To make things clear so other readers don’t get confused;

    It is not determined that Cherokee and Chiriqui are the same or related to eachother.
    More research has to be done. There is geneflow from
    South-, Central-, MesoAmerica, Europe and the Middle
    East into Southeast North America.

    There are basically three main options:
    1. Chiriqui from Costa Rica and Panama is the origin of the Cherokee.
    2. Cherokee is the origin of the Chiriqui.
    3. Chiriqui and Cherokee do not have a common origin.


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We are now celebrating the 11th year of the People of One Fire. In that time, we have seen a radical change in the way people receive information. The magazine industry has almost died. Printed newspapers are on life support. Ezines, such as POOF, replaced printed books as the primary means to present new knowledge. Now the media is shifting to videos, animated films of ancient towns, Youtube and three dimensional holograph images.

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