What is the Latin word for water doing in a Muskogee-Creek dictionary?

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner

There are over three pages of words in the Muskogee-Creek dictionary that have as a root the Latin word for water, aqua . . . which was derived from the same Proto-Indo-European word. Clearly, we don’t know diddlysquat about the early history of the Americas.

(Photo Above – The French Broad River, north of Asheville, NC)

Work is progressing rapidly on a comprehensive etymology of Southeastern Native American words. This is the first such effort in a century. John Swanton accomplished this feat in the early 1900s for all of North America, but we have found that almost all his translations of Southeastern words were wrong, because he didn’t bother to use dictionaries. Unfortunately, every generation of archaeologists since then have accepted Swanton’s translations without fact-checking them in Itza Maya, Totonac, Arawak, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Cherokee dictionaries . . . so their interpretations of the artifacts at archaeological sites often marched into lala land. A myth continued that the same peoples lived in the same places for many thousands of years.

Thanks to donations from patrons of my research into the early architectural history of the Southeastern United States, I now have a complete set of dictionaries and colonial era maps. In fact, I have many maps that you can’t find in university libraries or even the Library of Congress. The findings are astonishing.

A breakthrough occurred last night, when I was researching a list of Native American river names produced by a professor at the University of Tennessee. Someone originally transcribed the names from 17th century French maps, but that person misspelled every single river. Then this UT professor ascribed “Cherokee” meanings to non-Cherokee words. His meanings were out in lala land and had no relation to the actual Cherokee words in a Cherokee dictionary.

What caught my attention particularly was the old name for the French Broad River, Aguacoa. As a matter of course I looked up the syllables in a Muskogee-Creek dictionary and was astonished to see three and half pages of words with the same root, akwa, having to do with every aspect of water. However, the normal Muskogee word for water is “ue” which is straight from Bronze Age Ireland, France and Iberia. The Itsate Creek, Alabama, Koasati, Chickasaw and Chocktaw word for water is oka, which came from Mexico.

Also, how can one explain why the Panaons in Peru and the indigenous peoples of the South Atlantic Coast use the same suffix word, bo, as the Danes and Swedes to mean “living place.” “Bo” was also used by the old Anglo-Saxons, since their ancestors came from the same region of Europe. The English word, borough, comes from bo-reigh, which means Living Place with a King (government).

In the same Muskogee-Creek dictionary are other long lists of synonyms to the “akwa-based” words, which use either “ue” or “oka” as their roots. Muskogee has the same trait as English. There are multiple ways of saying something, which were originally absorbed from other languages.

It is clear that the current orthodoxy that “all Pre-Columbian occupants of the Americas came from Northeastern Asia at the same time and carried the same genes” is way off base. I don’t know exactly why many geneticists are focusing on one component of indigenous America’s genetic makeup, but one could not have large numbers of Itza Maya, Panoan, Pre-Indo-European, Indo-European and Polynesian words in Southeastern Native American languages unless there were close encounters of a third kind.

Two sample pages from the new book

Abeika, Abeique (TN & AL) – See Apike.

Acorn Creek (GA) – A stream in Carroll County, GA which flows into the Chattahoochee River. 

Etymology – The original Muskogee name for this stream was Lakcv-hache. A

Agiqua (Agikwa) (NC & TN) – According to Tennessee academicians these words were the original name of the French Broad River in Western North Carolina.  The Tennessee sources also had misspelled virtually all the river names from 17th century French maps and then applied impossible Cherokee translations.   The actual word on the maps is Aguacoa.  The “coa” suffix means “people or tribe.”  This was not a river name, but originally a tribal name, which the French attached to a river.

Etymology – Aguacoa is a combination of the Latin word for water with the Middle Arawak word for “people or tribe.”

Bogus Etymology in Tennessee references – “Long Tow River in Cherokee”

Ajo (SC) – Spanish spelling of NA town that specialized in growing sweet potatoes, as described in the chronicles of the Juan Pardo Expedition (1567-1569). In English phonetics, the word would be spelled Aho.

            Etymology – Peruvian Arawak and Creek word for sweet potato.

Alabama (AL) – Name of a Native American tribe, river and state.  According to the original copy of the Creek Migration Legends, the Alabama were one of the original four members of the People of One Fire or Creek Confederacy.  The other three were the Apike, Chickasaw and Kaushete.  In historic times, the Alabama lived near the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers, plus along the Alabama River.

Etymology – The original spelling of the word was Albaamaha, followed by Alibamu. “Al” is Itza Maya and means “Place of.”  “Ha” is Itza Maya and means river.  The syllable “baam” is unrecognizable in several Maya dictionaries, but could well be a shortening of the word for jaguar, balam.   Then the translation would be “Place of the Jaguar – River.”  There WERE jaguars in the Gulf Coast region until the early Colonial Period.

Alaqua (FL) – A community and stream in Walton County, FL

            Etymology – Probably Muskogee word, hilokwa, for gum or wax. A

Alapaha (GA & FL) – A river in south-central Georgia and north-central Florida, which flows into the Suwanee River.

Etymology – Anglicization of a hybrid Itsate Creek – Itza Maya word,  Alape-haw, which means  “Aligator River.” A

Alachua (GA & FL) – A trail that runs from SE Georgia to NE Florida, the name of several Creek and Seminole towns, the name of a Florida town and the name of a Florida county.

Etymology:  Alachua is the Creek-nization of a Tamakoa word, Alek-Coa, which means “Doctor People.”  (See Alec Mountain)  TA  + S

Alcachuska Creek (AL) – Former name of Blue Eye Creek in Talladega County, AL. It flows into the Coosa River and was also spelled Alcacuska and Alcacuskie.

Etymology – Derived from Muskogee-Creek word, arkvskvcke, which means “broken clay pot.” A 

Alcasalica (GA) – A tributary of the Ocmulgee River in Telfair County, GA.

Etymology – Anglicization of Muskogee-Creek words, vrkvswv (clay pot) alikv (sitting there). A

Alcovy (GA)– A mountain, river and community in Newton County, GA.

Etymology – Anglicization of the Creeks words orko and ovo, which mean Pawpaw – place of. A

Alecmanni (GA) –  The Alecmanni were a sophisticated people on the Altamaha River near present day Jesup, GA, downstream to the tidal line on the river. They specialized in the cultivation of medicinal shrubs and trees, the most profitable being the chinchona tree from which quinine is made.  The chichona bark was traded over a vast area of the eastern and south-central part of North America, making the Alecmanni very wealthy.

Etymology – Captain René de Laudonnière, Commander of Fort Caroline (1564-1565) stated that Alekmanni meant “Medicine or Physician People.”   Surprisingly, the words are Archaic Anglisc, the language spoken by the Angles before they migrated from southern Denmark to England!  A-leka manni means “One who uses medicinal herbs – elite people.” in Anglisc.  The modern English plant name, leeks, is derived from leka. S


  1. I especially appreciate the recapping you do to help me connect the prior research to the current article. This is good stuff…

    On Wed, Dec 11, 2019 at 7:18 AM The Americas Revealed wrote:

    > alekmountain posted: ” by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner > There are over three pages of words in the Muskogee-Creek dictionary that > have as a root the Latin word for water, aqua . . . which was derived from > the same Proto-Indo-European word. Clearly, we ” >


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