by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
During the late 20th century, white academicians in North Carolina, with assistance from peers at the University of Tennessee and the University of Georgia, incrementally created a fraudulent history about the Southeast’s past.
The era of delusional history
The latest brochure from the National Park Service on the federally recognized Native American tribes states,” The Cherokee, and what some anthropologists deem to be their pre-Cherokee ancestors, have lived in the mountains of North Carolina since the end of the last ice age, or about 10,000 B.C.”
The new version of the article on the Cherokee Indians in the New Georgia Encyclopedia was written by an adjunct professor of history at the University of West Virginia. Why the team of Georgia academicians, who run this normally credible information source, would go to West Virginia to obtain Georgia’s history is a mystery, but my guess is “follow the casino money.” The article is a rubber stamp copy of a propaganda paper produced by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in North Carolina.
The encyclopedia now tells readers that the Cherokees played a key role in Georgia’s early history . . . always occupying the northern third of the state until the Trail of Tears. We are then told that the ancestors of the Cherokees and Creeks together built the many Pre-Columbian mounds and stone structures in Georgia.
The official 1785 map of Georgia shows the Cherokees only occupying 2 ½ counties. The fact is that virtually no Georgians had direct contact with the Cherokees until 1821, when white settlers arrived on lands recently ceded by the Creeks. Creek territory always separated the Cherokee’s territory from white farmsteads on the frontier. As for the Creeks and Cherokees jointly building mounds . . . that is too far into the realm of bureaucratic horse manure, to justify any more discussion.
In 2015, the East Texas Archaeological Association had hissy fit when they received a press release from the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in North Carolina. At the time, several archaeologists in Texas were discovering both ancient Clovis sites and non-Clovis artifacts, which were much older. I quote verbatim from the Texas archeologists’ August 15, 2015 newsletter:
“North Carolina Cherokees claim to be descendants of Clovis Culture. – The Eastern Band of Cherokees recently issued a press release, in which a cultural heritage official of the tribe, Barbara Duncan, described a program, which will help preserve 10,000-year-old Cherokee artifacts around North America. An initial project is on the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, NC. Archaeologists labeled these artifacts as being from the Clovis Culture. A newspaper in Asheville developed the press release into a community news article about archaeological projects on the Biltmore Estate.”
“The Asheville-Citizen Times reporter and Duncan described the Cherokee-Clovis artifacts as being associated with the Archaic Period. However, the Clovis Culture belongs to the Paleo-American Period. Clovis artifacts date from about 13,500 to 10,500 years ago, not 8,000 BC as stated by the article.”
“Without specifically mentioning the Clovis Culture, the Eastern Band of Cherokees has long claimed that the Cherokees were the first humans in North America, plus that the Aztecs and Mayas were their descendants. However, most such films and publications get their chronology mixed up and place the Aztecs in an earlier time period than the Mayas, when in fact, the opposite is true.”
“Duncan is employed by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. The museum’s logo is a shell gorget, which was found in eastern Missouri across the Mississippi River from Cahokia Mounds. However, museum docents tell visitors that the gorget was found on the reservation. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Cultural Preservation Office uses as its logo, a shell gorget, which was found in Mound C at Etowah Mounds in northwest Georgia, which the Muscogee-Creek Nation of Oklahoma considers to be its Mother Town.”
“Cherokee Heritage Trails Guide, a book published by the University of North Carolina Press, claims that the Cherokees were the people, who developed corn, beans and squash into cultivated crops, in addition to being the first humans in the Americas. The book was co-authored by Duncan and Dr. Brett Riggs, an anthropology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, These claims also cannot be verified by other anthropological or archaeological references.”
Unraveling multiple layers of academic fraud
Within a couple of weeks, I will be publishing a verbatim transcription of the handwritten manuscript, History of the Cherokee People, written by Cherokee Principal Chief Charles Hicks in 1825 and 1826. Hicks was, for his times, considered the most learned man in the Cherokee Nation and was truly the “father” of the Cherokee Renaissance. He had one of the largest personal libraries in the United States. Yet . . . virtually nothing that you read today about Cherokee history prior to 1763 in encyclopedias and university-published history-anthropology books jives with what he wrote. What exactly happened?
A fascinating aspect to the description of Cherokee history by Charles Hicks is the tribe’s short cultural memory. Hicks did not know that the Cherokee tribe actually began in 1725 at the behest of a British Army official, Colonel George Chicken. Hicks did not even know the cause of the 40-year long Creek-Cherokee War in 1715. It was the murder of 32 “Creek” leaders in their sleep, while attending a friendly political conference. More about that later.
The earliest specific event that Hicks knew about was the arrival of a band of Natchez refugees into Cherokee tribal lands in 1732. Hicks stated that many Cherokee warriors had wanted to kill them, but a missionary named Alexander Dougherty, who was married to a Cherokee woman, had convinced them to give the Natchez sanctuary. Dougherty was actually a trader, but among those Natchez were the parents of the famous “Cherokee” leader Major Ridge.
After months of following the trail of citations from professor to professor over the past century, I finally found the fountainhead of fraudulent history. It was History of the Cherokee Indians and their legends and folk lore, published in 1922 by Emmet Starr. Starr was a mixed-blood Cherokee physician and amateur historian. As you can see, he had very little Native American DNA. Men with substantial Native ancestry do not go bald. Obviously, he was intelligent, since he had a medical degree, but his version of history was essentially speculations, minus the understanding of factual anthropology. In his discussion of early Cherokee history, he never uses a scientific or eyewitness colonial archive as a source.
Virtually all the nonsense that the Cherokee and allied academic “historians” are forcing into references and government documents nowadays began with Starr. It is he that propelled a little-known legend about Nancy Ward and the fictional Battle of Taliwa into solid history. Starr place Ward in Tennessee, when in fact she was born in northeast Georgia and lived most of her life there.
Starr’s book begins with the “logic” that since the original Cherokee language had a “soft” sound to it, the Cherokees obviously came from the south . . . therefore the Cherokees built Etowah Mounds. He is the one that first said that the Cherokees once occupied most of the Southeast . . . even though all maps show their actual territory to be smaller than those of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Creeks. The first illustrations in Starr’s book are labeled “Cherokee artifacts from Etowah Mounds.”
Since the art and architecture of Etowah Mounds has strong cultural ties with Mesoamerica, Starr ultimately stated that the Cherokees originated in Mexico or South America. Well . . . the ancestors of the Creeks DID come from Mexico and South America, but in 1649, the Cherokees were living in Canada!
I then began examining academic papers from the 1930s and 1940s. At that point, professors at the University of North Carolina were treating Starr’s unsubstantiated version of history as fact and as a starting point for incrementally farther steps into lala land. As you can see above, British officials in 1715 estimated that there were about 800 Cherokee men between the ages of 16 and 45. This would interpolate into a total Cherokee population of about 3,200 people.
One frequently cited 1935 dissertation from the University of North Carolina claimed to quote that map, but stated that there were 3200 Cherokee warriors in 1715, with a total population of 11,900. A dissertation at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1976 claimed to cite this dissertation, but said it was too conservative and that the actual Cherokee population was over 30,000. That’s about ten times the actual population. However, now you know the source of the statement heard repeatedly ad nauseum, that the Cherokees once numbered over 30,000 people and controlled an area covering seven Southern states.
In a mid-20th century academic paper about the Cherokees and the Yamasee War, I read an interesting statement, “The Cherokees were originally in an alliance with the Creeks, Appalachians and Yamasee against the British in South Carolina.”
I was eventually able to track down the source for that statement. It actually read, “Ochesee, Apalachen and Yamasee.” The word “Creek” was not used for the Creek Indians until the 1740s. Even as late as 1735, the Creeks called themselves the Apalache or Palache. Apalachen is the plural of Apalache.
The same academic paper also quoted a Cherokee chief as saying, “The Cherokees and Creeks got along fine until the schemes of France and Britain tore apart the Old Appalachian Confederacy.” The 85-year-old document also stated that the Cherokee Alliance in Northeast Tennessee had been close allies of other tribes in East Tennessee such as the Alabama, Koasate (Creeks), Cusate (Creeks) and Apike (Creeks) until the Yamasee War. Hm-m-m, articles by academia today always begin with the statement, “the Cherokees and Creeks were long-time enemies.” Of course, the word Creek didn’t exist until about 15 years after the Yamasee War, but what was going on back then?
So, the Cherokee and tribes that later made up the Creek Confederacy were all members of the Apalache Confederacy, which earlier had been the Kingdom of Apalache. That infamous political conference at the Uchee village Tugaloo had actually been a meeting of all the leaders of the Apalache Confederacy, where they were supposed to make plans for a joint military effort against South Carolina. It was not a meeting between the Cherokee and the Creeks, because neither existed as discrete tribe at that time.
Taking advantage of a sudden leadership vacuum, the tribes that would form the future Cherokee tribe gobbled up a vast swath of land in western North Carolina, immediately after the December 1715 assassinations. Then, in June 1717, the Coweta Tribe sponsored a meeting at Ocmulgee Mounds (Macon, GA) where the modern Creek Confederacy was created. Once this alliance got its “military act” together, the Cherokee were not able to acquire significantly more territory.
According to Principal Chief Charles Hicks, after a series of smallpox plagues in the 1730s, the Cherokees lost so much population that they were never again able to mount military offensives against major tribes. They were constantly on the defensive and outnumbered. On several occasions entire hunting parties or groups of villages were destroyed by Creek armies, numbering as many as 2000 warriors. To maintain their honor, the Cherokee would periodically dispatch small war parties against their enemies to accomplish acts of bravery.
The biggest irony is that the regions where the Cherokees did live a long time, Canada and southern West Virginia, are not show as “Cherokee” on the map. The “seven state area” of the “Great Cherokee Nation” that is bragged about today, was a vast territory, occupied by Native American allies of France, which was “given” to the Cherokees in return for the Cherokees furnishing 200 warriors to fight the Native American allies of France. The map above also includes lands lived in for thousands of years by the Chickasaw, Uchee, Upper Creeks, Itsate Creeks, Kansa, etc. And where they actually did live, the Cherokees only lived one to four generations. Most of this paper territory remained occupied by other tribes until after the American Revolution, when white settlers moved into and grabbed the choice lands.
That is a very different version of history than what is stated today in most references and history books.