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Why would my family look like Creeks, but remember our ancestors as Cherokees?

 

A couple of weeks ago,  I was contacted on LinkedIn by a lady in Alabama, who promotes herself as being a Cherokee genealogist.  Her physical features were entirely Apalache-Creek, typical of Northeast Georgia and Northwestern South Carolina.  She has a Muskogean skull,  a widow’s peak and a Creek knot on the back of her head.   A little questioning revealed that her family was from Elbert County, GA . . . the same homeland as my family.  It was always Itsate Creek and Uchee territory.  There is a section north of Elberton, still occupied by families, who look “very Creek.”

This Alabama Belle is not the lone ranger.   Over and over again, I have run into people in North Georgia, North Alabama or the South Carolina Piedmont, who bragged about being Cherokee, but had no Cherokee-Algonquian features.  They either looked like either Creeks or Uchees, or else were obviously of Sephardic Jewish descent. 

I couldn’t completely answer the lady’s question two weeks ago, but now can . . . by again drawing line between the dots.   That is POOF’s 2017 Thanksgiving Day special . . . A Southeastern Holocaust in the Late 1600s.   It finally answers,  who the Lower Cherokees,  Elate and Northeast Georgia Creeks were.

 

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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.

3 Comments

  1. 44philliplayne@gmail.com'

    Can you do some explanation of the “Creek knot” ? My sister and I both have the funny skull bump thing right above the nape of our necks. It comes from our father’s side of the family where there was some “vague memory of Indian ancestry”. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • That means that you are either part Creek, part Highland Maya or part Neanderthal. It is also called an Anatolian knot in the Old World, but can be found only among certain peoples in Anatolia, who have a higher Neanderthal heritage. We thing that the Creeks got it from the Itza Mayas or other related peoples of Eastern Mexico. Almost all Georgia Creeks have the Creek knot. Some Alabama and Oklahoma Creeks do not . . . but they may also be descended from people, who were not ethnic Muskogeans.

      Reply
  2. 44philliplayne@gmail.com'

    Thank you for the explanation. Several of the branches of that part of my ancestry came from Alabama and Georgia by way of Texas. Your information will help me with further research.

    Reply

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