The Uchee (Yuchi) . . . Everything you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask!

All references on the Uchee People read pretty much the same.  They are mixture of half-cocked speculations by 19th and early 20th century academicians (who never met a Uchee in their life) with actual historical facts of the Late Colonial and Federal Periods.  When Uchee descendants try to insert factual, referenced information into such references as Wikipedia, they are quickly deleted by Caucasian occultists . . . the same type people, who in 2012 deleted all references to the Creek Indians and famous Creek towns in the history sections of Wikipedia articles about all North Georgia counties.  That is why there is no mention of Etowah Mounds National Historic Landmark in the Wikipedia article on Bartow County, Georgia.  Any attempt to reinsert the three original paragraphs on Etowah Mounds are deleted within minutes by an elderly man living in rural England!  He describes himself in Wikipedia as a “Purple Gatekeeper.” 

Westmoreland Petroglyphs – Habersham County, Georgia

What you rarely are told about the Uchee People

  • Most of the petroglyphs in Northeast Georgia are identical to those in Bronze Age Scandinavia.  In fact, the only other location where I have been able to find online the Nyköping, Sweden style petroglyphs (c. 2000 BC) is in Northeast Georgia – USA! 
  • Most of the petroglyphs in the Etowah-Amicalola River Basin of Georgia are identical to those in southwestern Ireland. Almost all of Georgia’s petroglyphs are in the Georgia Gold Belt or very close to the edge of gold deposits.
  • The Uchee are the oldest indigenous people in the Southeastern United States.
  • They called themselves Tsoyoha, which means “Children of the Son.” They actually consisted of several tribes and clans, so their collective name may actually represent a shared religion.
  • The Uchee told Georgia colonial officials that they sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from the “home of the sun” before first landing in the Savannah Area.  There was no one living in the Southeast at the time, but they could see mounds and shell rings, built by an earlier people. 
  • The greatest concentration of Uchees was in a band of territory, running from the Atlantic Ocean near Savannah to the Cumberland Plateau in Central Tennessee. This region included the eastern half of Georgia. 
  • Typically, Uchee families lived in dispersed farmsteads or hamlets, while the provincial capitals would be occupied by Itsate Creeks.  Thus, a vast swath of territory, much larger than the area actually lived in by the Cherokees, was really occupied mostly by Uchee, but considered “Creek” by British officials.
  • Despite in one sense being commoners, the Uchees furnished many, if not, most of the priests in nominally Creek provinces.  The Uchee priests were renowned for their knowledge of astronomy and nature.
  • At the time that British settlers began arriving in what is the Southeastern United States there were also many Uchee trading villages scattered around the Southeast and probably also the Midwest.  These trading villages remained politically neutral so that trade routes could be maintained during wars between non-Uchee tribes.  For this reason, the Uchee played a very important role in the economies of the Pre-Colonial Southeast.
  • Most Uchee villages in the Piedmont and Highlands were round, plus all their principal structures were round. This architectural tradition was maintained in honor of the Sun God and Sun Goddess.  Among both the Uchee and the Bronze Age peoples of northern Europe, the Sun God was symbolized by a cross within a circle, while the Sun Goddess was symbolized by a spiral.
  • While British officials and Indian traders recognized the Uchee as a separate ethnic group or tribe, officials of the newly created United States did not.  Virtually, all of the Uchee’s land was assigned to the Creeks and Cherokees during the 1780s and 1790s.
  • Most Georgians are unaware that a significant population of Uchee lived in the Cohutta Mountains of northwest Georgia until the early 20th century, when their lands were seized by the US Forest Service.  These Uchee worked as teamsters and firewood cutters for the copper foundries at Copperhill, Tennessee.  After becoming landless, most of these Uchees moved to the Snowbird Cherokee Reservation near Robbinsville, NC.  
  • There is still a significant population of Uchee descendants in southern South Carolina, because South Carolina state officials never tried to send them to the Indian Territory.  Most of these descendants are now bi-racial or tri-racial.
  • There are also significant populations of biracial or tri-racial Uchee in the vicinity of Hawkinsville, GA,  Sparta, GA,  Irwington, GA and Sandersville, GA.

I strongly suspect, but currently have no proof, that over the centuries after the arrival of Proto-Uchee bands, they intermarried with American Indians to varying degrees. Some marriages eventually resulted in the creation of new tribes and new languages. Other marriages brought in people to Uchee villages, which resulted in the injection of ideas from the outside world. Overall, the descendants of the original Proto-Uchee came to look more and more like “full-blood” American Indians.

A Uchee town in the Georgia Mountains
Most of the symbols on the six Track Rock boulders in Georgia (USA) can be found in Nykoping, Sweden (c. 2000 BC). These Bronze Age Scandinavian symbols can be found on several other petroglyphic sites in Northeast Georgia, but not in the Etowah Valley.

Uchee Migration Legend

In 1734, Uchee leaders, living on the Lower Savannah and Ogeechee Rivers, told Supervising Trustee, James Edward Oglethorpe and Colonial Secretary for the Province of Georgia, Thomas Christie, that their ancestors sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from the “Home of the Sun.”   They first settled at the mouth of the Savannah River then spread inland all the way to the Tennessee River, but later established a network of politically-neutral trading villages throughout much of eastern North America.  They said that when they first arrived on the South Atlantic Coast, there was no one living in the Lower Southeast, but Algonquian peoples lived farther north.  However, they saw many mounds and shell rings along the coast, which were built by an earlier people, who had moved farther south.

Uchee brine salt drying operation on Tybee Island, GA.

In 2015, I found Thomas Christie’s original report on the Uchee among many other documents on the Creek Indians, in a forgotten wooden chest at the Lambeth Palace Library in London.  However, the claim of the Uchee that they came from across the Atlantic has been generally known since the early 1700s.   It is left out of most discussions by Southeastern academicians today, because it conflicts with their traditional orthodoxy that all indigenous Americans came from northeastern Siberia.  Nevertheless, all genetic, archaeological and architectural evidence in Georgia backs up this claim 100%.  The Deptford Culture did originate in Savannah, GA and Deptford Style pottery was virtually identical to the styles of pottery being produced in Ireland and southern Scandinavia during that era (c. 1800-800 BC).

The Irish Beaker Culture artifacts on left are almost identical to Deptford Culture artifacts in Georgia, USA and contemporary!

The fact is that, by far, the greatest concentration of Uchee People at the time of European colonization was between the Ogeechee River in eastern Georgia and the Salkehatchie River in South Carolina.  Their traditional capital was a large town on the Ogeechee River in present day Taliaferro County, GA.  Three large mounds are still visible on that archaeological site.  Most of these Uchee either assimilated with their new neighbors from the Old World or else migrated westward to assimilate with the Creeks. Some of the most prominent family names in the Oklahoma Muskogee-Creeks, are actually descendants of mixed blood Uchee in the Savannah River Basin.  Having acquired knowledge of English and European customs prior to migrating westward, they were in a natural position to provide leadership to the Creek Confederacy. 

The Reinhardt Petroglyphs in the Etowah River Valley of Georgia are identical to petroglyphic boulders in County Kerry, Ireland. Most of the petroglyphs in the Etowah River Valley are identical to the Bronze Age petroglyphs in southwestern Ireland.
The Tugaloo Stone was found in 1795 at the head of navigation for a tributary of the Savannah River. Georgia academicians have been looking at it upside down for 225 years, when they looked at it all. Archaeologists labeled the little know stone “an early form of Cherokee writing. ” It is on display at Travelers Rest State Historic Site.

The Uchee Language

Despite a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to the University of Oklahoma between 2003 and 2009, plus approximately $400,000 expended by the Muscogee-Creek Nation from casino profits during the 21st century, there is still no Uchee dictionary.  

All references about the Uchee Language state “Yuchi is classified as a language isolate, because it is not known to be related to any other language in the world.”  I fact-checked this statement and found nowhere any citation, where someone sat down and systematically compared the Uchee Language with other languages of the Americas.  A few academicians, however, have claimed to compare a few Uchee words with some of the other indigenous languages of the Southeast.    In the 20th century, several linguists stated that the language has a distant relationship with the Siouan family: According to Marian Mithun in her book, The Languages of Native North America, these included Sapir in 1921 and 1929, Haas in 1951 and 1964, Elmendorf in 1964, Rudus in 1974, and Crawford in 1979. Fact-checking their claims, I discovered that not one of these academicians, including Methun, were aware that the Uchee were the oldest ethnic group in the Southeastern United States . . . so . . . if there is any truth to these claims, they represent the borrowing of Uchee words into Siouan languages.

In truth, we must be cynical concerning any broad claims about Southeastern languages by non-Indigenous academicians.  No one is fact-checking them within their inner circle.  Think about it.  Over the past 140 years, several hundred thousand . . . perhaps well over a million people in the United States have graduated with degrees in anthropology, Native American linguistics, Native American History or Native American Studies. NO ONE ever thought of comparing the contents of a Creek dictionary with dictionaries from Mesoamerica and northern South America, until I did so in 2006. 

While doing research for building the Etowah Mounds model, I noticed that the houses in the first phase of Etowah Mounds were identical to those in the suburbs of Chichen Itza, while the houses in the second phase were identical to those still being built today by the Totonacs in northern Veracruz.  After accessing online dictionaries, published by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, I was astonished to discover that the Totonacs, Itza Mayas, Itsate Creeks and Miccosukee all use the same word for house, chiki. Since then, continuing research has revealed a vast range of Creek words that were identical to or derived from the Itza language.  In fact, most Georgia and east Tennessee Creeks called themselves, Itsate, which is what the Itza Mayas called themselves.   I have also found several Panoan words in the Creek languages from Peru and a few words in Muskogee-Creek, which mean the same in Irish Gaelic.  James Oglethorpe purchased the land for Savannah from Miko Tamachichi.   His name and title were Itza Maya words and meant “Town Leader – Trade Dog.”  A Trade Dog was an itinerant merchant.

Because there is no digitized Uchee Dictionary, it is impossible to currently carry out a comprehensive comparison of Uchee with other languages of the world.  However, just a brief comparison of Uchee political suffixes revealed an astonishing connection with pre-Indo-European cultures in Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia and Iberia. The Uchee suffix for a group of people with a formal government . . . a king . . . is “re.”  Because the Uchee, Creeks and Panoans rolled their R’s heavily, this suffix was often written as an “le”, “lee” or “ly” by English speakers.  The pre-Indo-European Peoples of Ireland, Scotland and southern Scandinavia used this same suffix with the same meaning. The Spanish word for king, is descended from this word.  These ethnic words survive in Ireland as such places as Kerry, Curry, Usrey, Tipparary, Derry, Baltray, Donore, Dunderry, Edenderry, Enniskerry, Murray and Rathmure.  

Two Uchee tribes in the Southern Highlands definitely had pure Irish names, the Tokahre/Tokahle and Kurra/Kulla.  Both later moved south into Georgia and became divisions of the Creek Confederacy or Seminole Alliance, where they were known as the Tokase, Tokahpasi (Tuckabatche) and Kulase. Tokahre means “Elite or Principal Nation” in Irish.  Tokahle now means “freckled” in Muskogee-Creek.  The Tokahpasi were known as being very tall, brawny and freckled!  Cullowhee, NC, Curahee, GA, Tugaloo, GA and Toccoa, GA are surviving Anglicizations of these Irish-Uchee ethnic names.

Another common suffix for “people or tribe” is found in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions of the Southeastern United States, plus the Caribbean Basin and northern South America.  It is variously written as kora, kola, koa, kua or gua.   Astonishingly this suffix is also found in the northern tip of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.  That region was originally the Kingdom of Corra.   The Scots, who originated there, also roll their R’s, unlike most Gaels, so they would have pronounced the word similar to “cola.” 

There are several indigenous tribes in the Southeastern United States and Gulf Coast of Mexico, whose name included either the “le” or “re” suffix.  It can be assumed that their elite (at least) were originally from northwestern Europe – probably Ireland or Scotland – but maybe Iberia. 

It is an astonishing fact, but yet undeniable.  The Irish Gaelic, Algonquian, Shawnee, Cherokee and Muskogee-Creek languages, plus some languages in South America and Central America use the same suffix for “people or tribe.”  It is written as “gi”, “gee”, “ghe”, “kee” or “qui.”   The sound in both Ireland and eastern North America is between an English “g” and “k”.   Clearly in the ancient past, there were cultural or population exchanges between the Americas and Northwestern Europe.

Uchee hunting camp near Savannah by George Von Reck

The word, Uchee

Euchee is the preferred spelling for the name of Uchee people in Oklahoma.  It is not clear where this spelling of the same sound as the word, Uchee, originated.  Perhaps it was from the Spanish, because Euchee is only found as a place name in Florida.

During the 1920s, while creating a comprehensive book on the American Indians of North America, Smithsonian Institute ethnologist, John R. Swanton, called them Yuchi and placed their homeland in eastern Tennessee. [Indian Tribes of North America, pp 116-120].  He said that “the term Yuchi was commonly interpreted to mean “over there sit/live” or “situated yonder.” [Commonly interpreted by whom?  The Uchees certainly don’t say that.]  In reality, this speculation is by academicians, who didn’t know a word of Uchee, probably never been in the Southeast, but were merely trying to appear knowledgeable on the subject from a fog of ignorance. Swanton’s reasoning for the Uchee mainly being in Tennessee is that the earliest mention of their name was in the chronicles of the Hernando de Soto Expedition.

“Yuchee” was the spelling used by early 19th century settlers on the Tennessee frontier. A branch of the Uchee did live in Tennessee, but that was NOT their original homeland. In the section of the book on North Carolina Indians, Swanton also placed a cluster of Uchee villages in the vicinity of Lenoir, Morganton, Marion and Old Fort, North Carolina.  He stated that “some” Yuchi moved down upon the headwaters of the Savannah River from Tennessee in the early 1700s.  That’s horse manure.  The Uchees originally controlled the entire salt trade corridor from Tybee Island, GA to Hiwassee Island, TN.   As far as we can tell, Swanton never actually talked to a Uchee and so completely missed their full cultural history.  He merely quoted the speculations of some 19th century academicians, who also never met a Uchee.

South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama officials, who were in direct contact with the Uchee, consistently spelled the name of their ethnic name, Uchee.  Uchee is probably the Anglicization of the Muskogee-Creek word Uesi, which is pronounced Öu : ē : shē, and means “Water-offspring of.”  An alternative etymology of Uchee is that it is the Anglicization of the Archaic Irish word for water, uisce.  The Muskogee-Creek word for water, ue, was also the Pre-Celtic Irish and Coastal Gallic word for water.  

Ogeechee is the Anglicization of Itsate-Creek word, Okase, which means the same thing as Uesi.   There was a mixed Itsate Creek and Uchee Province in Northeast Georgia called Okvte, which means “Water People.”  Pronounced Ō : käw :tē, the Spanish wrote the word as Ocute.  The Apalache Creeks of Northeast Georgia called these people the Okvni, which means “Born in Water.”  That word survives as the name of the Oconee River, where they lived.

The same calendar symbol on both sides of the Atlantic

Real World Genetics

There are no official DNA test markers for the Uchee, Creek, Seminole and Cherokee Indians.  When geneticists and anthropologists make broad statements in the media about the peopling of North America, they are doing so in a fog of ignorance concerning the Southeast . . . which happened to be by far, the most densely populated region.  It is also the region where one finds the oldest Clovis Points and the greatest concentration of Clovis.  Remember when in high school they taught us that the Clovis People came over the Bering Straight land bridge and settled first in New Mexico?

The Euchee in Oklahoma have generally resisted DNA testing, because the first few members of their community, who thought they were “full bloods” turned out to have minimal American Indian DNA . . . as defined by the genetics labs.   Again though, if there is very little genetic information for the Southeastern United States then geneticists have NOT defined what is actually Native American.

Dr. Ray Burden, a retired professor from the University of Tennessee, is trying to develop a genetic model to define the Savannah River Uchee, who looked more Asiatic than the Tokahre or Highland Uchee.  It is highly likely that the various Uchee tribes in the Southeast represented migrations of different Pre-Indo-European bands from Europe or other regions, who developed a shared identity as “People from the Ocean.”   The families tested have known ancestry from the British Isles and what they thought were Creek ancestors. Some families have genetic evidence of mixed Mesoamerican (Creek) and Uchee ancestry.  Others seem to have only had Uchee ancestors.

The combination of DNA test markers that seem to indicate Savannah River Basin Uchee are (1) Sami, (2) Finnish (3) Northwest Siberia, (4) Pre-Gaelic Irish (5) Archaic Iberian, (6) Basque and (7) Polynesian.  My DNA test showed 1% Polynesian, but the latest tests on my relatives are stating (of all things) about 1% Maori! 

My immediate relatives also have much more Creek in their ancestry than Uchee. This is indicated by a high level of Southern Mesoamerican and Panoan (Peru) DNA test markers. 

I was puzzled why while working in Sweden many years ago, almost all Scandinavians and the Sami in Lapland, thought I was a Northern Sami . . . who look pretty much like a mixed blood Creek Indian.  Of course, back then DNA testing was in its infancy.  Last week, my sister was in Finland with a tour group from her church.  The shopkeepers spoke English to everyone else, but Finnish to her because they thought that she was either Finnish Sami or Finnish!

The only large-scale DNA testing of ancient human skeletons in the Southeast occurred a few years ago in Florida.  An ancient people on the Atlantic Coast of Florida had buried their dead by pegging them to the bottom of a shallow pond.   Several attempts were made to extract the DNA from brain matter skeletons that had been buried in Windover Pond for 7-8,000 years.   Although the +/- 170 skeletons were excavated in 1986, the technology to analyze the brain matter accurately did not develop until around 2016.

The scientists, who analyzed the Windover Pond brain matter did not find the pattern of genes that are typical of most Native Americans.  This surprised them and caused the team to withhold the results of their study for several years . . . fearing fierce attacks from their peers in archaeology.   The skeletons had the typical DNA profiles of the archaic peoples of northwestern Europe, prior to the invasion of the Indo-Europeans. In fact, both the Windover Pond People and the indigenous peoples of northwestern Russia, Finland and Lapland buried their dead by staking them to the bottom of shallow ponds.  While I was traveling around Lapland, I was told that this custom originated in response to the problem of burying the deceases in permafrost soils.

Burial practice in Central Florida and among ancestors of the Sami

Over the centuries, some Sami tribes, but not all, switched to the Scandinavian practice of cremation. The practice of burying the dead in ponds completely ended, when the Sami were pressured into converting to Christianity.  Now they must store the cadavers in special structures at the entrance to church yards.  The coffins are then buried during the brief arctic summer months.

Sapulpa was a famous Oklahoma Uchee chief, originally from Georgia.

Physical appearances of Uchee tribes

A pervasive facial feature of all branches of the Uchee is very pronounced and wide cheek bones.  This trait is also seen in most full-blooded Sami today.  Paintings of full-blooded Uchee people, made during the 1700s and early 1800s display several distinct physiques.  This is evidence, supporting my theory that the Tsoyaha were originally composed of several ethnic groups, who arrived in the Southeast at different times. 

Uchee woman and two men near Savannah by George Von Reck Note that they are wearing hand woven garmets. Wikipedia tells us that Georgia’s Indians wore buckskin or had forgotten how to weave cloth by the time of English colonization.

Paintings of the Pon Pon Uchee of South Carolina describe them as being medium to short in height with muscular features and dark complexion.  The Ogeechee were medium height with lighter complexions. The Okvni or Okvte were described by De Soto’s Chroniclers as averaging a foot taller than the Spanish.  The adult men wore mustaches, while the leaders typically wore long beards.  The Wasaule* or Wasaw of Wasaw Sound near Savannah, along the Savannah River near present day Elberton, GA and around the headwaters of the French Broad River in North Carolina were slightly taller than Europeans and had Polynesian features.  The Tokahle, known to the British as the Hogeloge or the Uchee, were extremely tall and brawny.  They also wore mustaches and sometimes beads.  The Wataree (Wataugi, Watauga) were short and slim. 

*The Wasaule are the same people, who lived in the village of Guasule in North Carolina.  In his book,  Knights of the Cross, Warriors of the Sun,  author-anthropologist Charles Hudson, erroneously called Guasule “the ancient capital of the Cherokee Nation.”  

Were the same people on both sides of the Atlantic?

Geneticists and forensic anthropologists have recently become so skilled with genetic analysis of ancient bones, they can often re-create not only the physical features of an ancient ancestor, but even determine hair color and eye color.  The aboriginal peoples of the British Isles and Scandinavia did not resemble modern Irish, Scottish, English and Scandinavian peoples.  Red and blonde hair were introduced at the end of the Bronze Age or perhaps even in the early Iron Age by maritime peoples from southeastern Iran. They carried a “red hair” gene that over the centuries morphed into a similar blond hair gene.

Another surprising fact has been learned.  The skin tone of Neolithic and Bronze Age Irish, Scots, Britons and Scandinavians was as dark or darker than most American Indians.  In the colder, darker climate of northern Europe the peoples of this region have grown progressively lighter skinned and have had generally smaller noses.

Particularly shocking is a recent model of a woman from the area around Stonehenge between 2500 BC and 2000 BC.   She could stand with a group of Uchee today and be perceived as a full-blood Uchee.   She did carry some Eurasian genes like the Sami, but she was definitely not an American Indian.  With the same core words being on both sides of the Atlantic, it is not clear what was going on in the North Atlantic from the tail end of the Ice Age until the Late Bronze Age.  Dr. Gordon Freeman of the University of Alberta has determined that stonehenges appeared in central Canada about 500 years before the British Isles. 

Uchee gal from Hawkinsville

On the other hand, Cord-marked beakerware and flint swords appeared first in Ireland then appeared in the Savannah area with the advent of the Deptford Culture at the mouth of the Savannah River.  That archaeological evidence strongly supports a Europe to Dixie migration pattern.  The truth is that we really don’t know what was going on back then.

5 Comments

    1. I can add footnotes after I transfer the contents of my lightning damaged computer to the new one. This one is only partially repaired and I am having problems accessing research that I did on the subject for Access Genealogy, which was footnoted. Mother boards for this computer are no longer sold by HP. The repair shop had to insert a used mother board with an older operating system that is not compatible with my version of MS Word. Will notify you when the article is updated.

      Liked by 1 person

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