Despised Cherokee Ani-Kutani priests claimed to be extraterrestrials!

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner

My book on the great Cherokee leader, Charles Renatus Hicks, is almost ready for publishing. This is the first book ever written on Hicks. I became interested in the man, while living in Pine Log, GA and being the consulting Architect for the restoration of Charles Hicks’ first home in Pine Log. It has taken me 23 years to dig up an accurate biography of the man. He essentially was the Father of the Cherokee Renaissance, but most of what you read about him on Wikipedia and in genealogical websites is inaccurate. He lived most of his life in Georgia and his white father lived in eastern Georgia. His older brother elected to live as a white man and established a plantation near Dublin, GA on the Lower Oconee River. His maternal grandfather was an Itsate Creek chief, who lived on the Flint River in Southwest Georgia.

Cherokee and non-Cherokee readers alike will be fascinated what Hicks wrote in his History of the Cherokee People in 1826. In Letter Two, he provided a description of the priesthood, who dominated the tribe until overthrown and banished.  Their name, Kutani or Kitani is an Alabama Indian word, which originally meant the priest who ignited and maintained the sacred fire in a temple.  The word was derived from the Alabama verb, meaning “to start a fire.”  In Alabama, kitani now means, “a sorcerer.”  Evidently, at some time in their past wanderings, the Cherokees came in contact with the Alabama . . . or else the Alabama once lived much farther north than their location in southern Alabama in the early 1700s.  Note that these priests claimed to be descended from extraterrestrials. 

He wrote: “ The Auh, ne, coo, tauh, nies  (Ani-kutawni), or Proud,— professed themselves, as is stated by traditioners, to be teachers of Heavenly Knowledge from the Creation; and the manner of their introduction to the assembled people is represented to have been usually at night times and when he approached near them, the lights of their fires were extinguished, as it was well known to them when he came near, by frequently repeating the words  Caul, lungh, luy, tee Tauk, che, lo, eh,  (I am from above).”

Hicks was not sure exactly how the Ani-Kitani were removed from Cherokee Society.  Some elders said they were banished.  Others said that they were all killed.  Hicks suspected that at least some of these priests survived and became a separate tribe.


  1. Richard, Thanks for the book. We still have a lot of work to fill in the Lore history of the South East concerning many tribes that have their own lore. In the 15th B.C century new peoples (Kukalcan/ Quetzalcoatl /Olmecs) arrive to the Gulf area…and the 15th century brings change to Egypt and the My-tanni kingdom is started. A new 15th B.C. century “Eagle Earthwork” is created at Poverty point. La…symbols used by the Sumerians/ Akkadian people of the Middle East…serpents and Eagles.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Richard my name is Richard Kennedy. I live in NW Louisiana and my grandmother from my daddy’s side was full blood Cherokee. Starting in January 2017’ after having 2 near death experiences in a hospital in May 2016’, I have had many real visions sent down to me from God concerning my Cherokee Indian heritage and bloodline. I came across your article while doing research on the Keetoowah Cherokee and their ties to the Ani-Kutani. With that said I am a bit confused as to how you came up with the title of this article using the word “extraterrestrial”. Please feel free to contact me via email.
    I have some interesting information about the Ani-Kutani clan that I can share with you.


    1. I provided a direct quote from the manuscript, “History of the Cherokee People.” by Principal Chief Charles Hicks, stating that they claimed to be from above (in the sky.) The Kitani were a extra-tribal clan that also were found in other Southeastern tribes. The Cherokees think that Kitani is “ancient Cherokee word, whose meaning is lost.” The root word of Kitani is actually Indo-European and appears in English as “kindle.”

      Liked by 1 person

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