Late May 2010 on the Hiwassee River – I entered the surrealistic world created by North Carolina archaeologists . . . accompanied by an Austrian tourist. Dixie academicians really, really need to learn French so they can read the French eyewitness accounts of the Colonial Era. On the other hand . . . maybe the shock of learning that their version of Southeastern Native American History was fiction, would be too much.
Part 27 of The Americas Connected series
by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
Etymologies and facts left out of the textbooks
Apalachen: [Panoan from Peru] It is the plural of the proto-Creek tribe in Northeast Georgia – Apalache or Apalache-te, which means “From Sea (or Amazon Basin) – Descendants of – People.” Apalachen was the name of one proto-Creek colonial village among the Arawaks in the Red Clay Hills of the Florida Panhandle. Unfortunately, it was the first village of that province, visited by Hernando de Soto’s expedition. He thought that he had reached the fabled Apalache of the Southern Highlands and so gave the name Apalache to that entire province. The Florida Apalache never called themselves that name until informed by the Spanish of the name change. Creeks continued to call themselves Apalache, Apalchete or Palache until the late 1740s.
Apalachen or an Anglicized Appalachian was the name solely of the mountains in northern Georgia until the early 1800s, when first the term was extended to northern Alabama and western North Carolina then during the Civil War to Virginia and West Virginia. It did not apply officially to all of the mountains in the Eastern United States until the 1960s.
Ichiaha: [Itza Maya] Principal – Salvia – River or the Capital of the Chiaha Province on an island in the Little Tennessee River, which is now mostly under Fontana Lake.
Nantahala River: [Southern Arawak] means “River Rapids – Place – People.” When Charles de Rochefort wrote about the native peoples of the Lower Southeast n 1658, there were still many Arawak immigrants from Peru living in the remote sections of the Southern Mountains. Immigrants from southern Mexico controlled the fertile river valleys. No Cherokees lived there. The French colonial archives in the Downtown Toronto, Ontario library state that the Cherokees lived north of the St. Lawrence River near the Great Rapids until 1649, when they were driven southward into western Virginia by the Iroquois.
Euphasee River: This is the Anglicized archaic name for the Hiwassee River, which seems to have only been used by those indigenous occupants of the Hiwassee Valley, who were not Creek, Uchee or later, Cherokee. The actual Creek word was Ufasi, which means “Dog (People) – Colony of.”
The Ufale (Dog People) appear on the earliest maps of La Florida as being in present day southeast Georgia. The town of Ufale migrated westward to the Chattahoochee River to get away from the Spanish. They joined the Creek Confederacy and became known by their English name of Eufaula.
Ufale villages apparently were scattered all over the Lower Southeast at one time. They were clearly a Uchee People, not Siouan as some anthropologists have conjectured. The “le” suffix was actually a heavily rolled “R” sound which northern European speakers wrote as an L. “Re” is archaic Irish and means “kingdom” or a tribe with a formal government. It appears in many old place and county names in Ireland.
In the mid-1990s, archaeologists with Brockington and Associates excavated a Ufale village in Douglas County, GA (SW Metro Atlanta). It was within an established Creek-speaking province. However, the Ufale lived in round pit-houses, not rectangular Mesoamerican style chiki’s like most Creeks. However, their pottery was a simplified version of classic Lamar Culture ceramics, which typified the ceramics of a vast area of the Southeast, ruled by the Kingdom of Apalache in the 1600s. As the reader will soon learn, North Carolina archaeologists are now labeling all round Uchee houses in North Carolina as being “Early Qualla Phase Cherokee houses.”
Hiwassee River: Anglicized pronunciation of Itsate Creek word, Hiwalsi, which means, “Highlanders”. This accurate translation comes from French natural scientist, Charles de Rochefort, in a book published in 1658, based on the 1653 visit to Georgia and western North Carolina by Englishman, Richard Brigstock.
Hiawassee, Georgia: This is the slightly different spelling of Hiwassee, used for the county seat of Towns County, GA
Tallahassee, FL: Anglicized pronunciation of Itsate Creek word Tula – Hiwalsi, which means “Town of Highlanders.” Charles de Rochefort wrote in 1658 that the Apalachete (North Georgia Creeks) established colonies in the Florida Panhandle among Arawak peoples from Peru, who also lived along the headwaters of the Hiwalsi River in the Apalachen Mountains.
In our next article, readers will join me and a tourist from Austria, Gaston Glock, as we toured the archaeological site known today as Quanasee, on the Hiwassee River in Hayesville, NC. We were fortunate to be there when an archaeology class from Western Carolina University was excavating a house site in the village that the professor called the Cherokee village of Quanasee, but as you just learned was the location of the massacred Uchee town of Chestoa.
All this was new to my companion, Gaston, but I knew something was very, very wrong when the professor told the student that the rectangular houses of an adjacent town were the vestiges of the first Cherokee settlement on the Hiwassee River in 1400 AD. Cherokees, never, ever built Chichen Itza-style houses or made Lamar-style pottery. You will find out the rest of the story next time.