Collection: A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians

Newly Analyzed – Migration Legend of the Creek Indians

In 2007, Architect Richard L. Thornton, a Creek scholar and member of the People of One Fire research alliance began sporadically looking online for the Migration Legend. 1Thornton, Richard L.. “Original Migration Legend discovered.” http://peopleofonefire.com/news-flash-original-copy-of-the-migration-legend-of-the-creek-people-rediscovered.html June 1, 2015. He had no success for the next seven years. On December 21, 2012, Thornton was a key cast member on the premier of the hit History Channel Series, “America Unearthed.” 2History Channel, “America Unearthed.” Season 1, Episode 1, “The Georgia-Mayan Connection.” The program was about the evidence of Maya refugees settling in Georgia and becoming some of the ancestors of the Creek...

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Thornton’s Translation of the Migration Legend of the Creek People

In 2015, after many years of searching, Richard Thornton found the impossible, the original Migration Legend of the Creek People. Gatschet in his famed manuscript which greatly covered this legend stated emphatically “The chances of rediscovering the original English translation of the Migration Legend of the Creek People are therefore almost as slim as recovering the lost books of Livy’s History.” That original English translation still remains lost as Gatschet predicted. But why settle for the English translation when you can find the original? The following is Thornton’s transcription from the original velum of the Migration Legend. Thornton indicates in our introduction that when “the original document, written by Thomas Christie, was finally discovered in 2015, the translation of the German text was found to be not so accurate or complete as Gatschet had presumed. Although the texts of the two documents follow the same general pattern, there were changes made in some of the passages that completely changed the meanings of certain phrases and sentences. Also, some sentences were presented in reverse order.”

Here we present, Richard Thornton’s modern translation:

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Gatschet’s Translation of the Migration Legend of the Creek People

In 1884, Albert Samuel Gatschet published a translation of the Creek Migration Legend in his infamous “A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians.” The Creek and Hitchiti text that came with the same manuscript were then translated from Gatschet’s translation back into Hitchiti and Creek, his translation did not emanate from those. Where then did he get his translation from? A translation from the English had been preserved in a German book of the period, and the style of this piece showed it to be an “authentic and comparatively accurate rendering of the original”. The German book referred to is a collection of pamphlets treating of colonial affairs, and published from 1735 to 1741; its first volume bears the title: Ausfuehrliche Nachricht von den Saltzburg-ischen Emigranten, die sick in America niedergelassen haben. Worin, etc. etc., Herausgegeben von Samuel Urlsperger, Halle, MDCCXXXV, The legend occupies pp. 869 to 876 of this first volume, and forms chapter six of the “Journal” of von Reck, the title of which is as follows: Herrn Philipp Georg Friederichs von Reck Diarium von Seiner Reise nach Georgien im Jahr 1735. F. von Reck was the commissary of those German-Protestant emigrants whom religious persecution had expelled from Salzburg, in Styria, their native city.

So what follows is an English translation from the German translation of the presumed English translation of the original “Migration Legend of the Creek People.”

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A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians

Writing more then just a book about an Indian legend, Samuel Gatschet’s classic ethnographic manuscript delves deeply into the enthnography of the Southern tribes of Creek Indians, providing a look into the linguistic groups of the Gulf States, the tribes which spoke those languages, the villages they lived in, and a more comprehensive study of Creek life. Finally, Gatschet provides an overall look at Indian migration legends, and then gives an English translation of the Creek migration legend.

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Tequesta Indian Tribe

Of the Tequesta people on the southeastern end of the peninsula we know still less than of the Calusa Indians. There was a tradition that they were the same people which held the Bahama or Lucayo Islands, and the local names of the Florida coast given by Fontanedo may partly refer to this nationality. They obtained their name from a village, Tequesta, which lay on a river coming from Lake Mayaimi (Fontanedo in Ternaux-C., XX, p. 14) and was visited by Walter Raleigh (Barcia, Ensayo, p. 161). The lands of the Aïs formed the northern portion of the Tequesta domains, and a place called Mocossou is located there on de Bry’s map. This extinct tribe does not seem to have come in contact with the Creeks, though its area is now inhabited by...

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Timucua Indian Tribe

In the sixteenth century the Timucua inhabited the northern and middle portion of the peninsula of Florida, and although their exact limits to the north are unknown, they held a portion of Florida bordering on Georgia, and some of the coast islands in the Atlantic Ocean, as Guale (then the name of Amelia) and others. The more populous settlements of these Indians lay on the eastern coast of Florida, along the St. John’s river and its tributaries, and in the northeastern angle of the Gulf of Mexico. Their southernmost villages known to us were Hirrihigua, near Tampa Bay, and Tucururu, near Cape Canaveral, on the Atlantic Coast. The people received its name from one of their villages called Timagoa, Thimagoua 1Timoga on De Bry’s map , situated on one of the western tributaries of St. John’s River, and having some political importance. The name means lord, ruler, master [atimuca “waited upon (muca) by servants (ati)];” and the people’s name is written Atimuca early in the eighteenth century. We first become acquainted with their numerous tribes through the memoir of Alvar Nunez Cabeca de Vaca, the three chroniclers of de Soto’s expedition, and more fully through Réné de Laudonniere (1564). Two missionaries of the Franciscan order, Francisco Pareja (1612 sqq.) and Gregorio de Mouilla (1635), have composed devotional books in their vocalic language. De Bry’s Brevis Narratio, Frankfort a. M.,...

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Taensa Indian Tribe

On account of the recent discovery of their consonantic language, which proves to be disconnected from any other aboriginal tongue spoken in North America, a peculiar interest attaches itself to the tribe of the Taensa Indians, whose cabins stood in Tensas county, Louisiana, bordering east on Mississippi river.

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Notes On Creek History

To offer a history of the Creek tribe from its discovery down to our epoch to the readers does not lie within the scope of this volume, and for want of sufficient documents illustrating the earlier periods it could be presented in a fragmentary manner only. But a few notes on the subject, especially on the Oglethorpe treaties, will be of interest to the reader. In the year following their departure from the West Indies (1540), the troops led by H. de Soto traversed a portion of the Creek territory, taken in its extent as known to us from...

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Seminole Indian Tribe

The term semanóle, or isti simanóle, signifies separatist or runaway, and as a tribal name points to the Indians who left the Creek, especially the Lower Creek settlements, for Florida, to live, hunt and fish there in entire independence. The term does not mean wild, savage, as frequently stated; if applied now in this sense to animals, it is because of its original meaning, “what has become a runaway”: pínua simanóle wild turkey (cf. pín-apúiga domesticated turkey), tchu-áta semanóli, antelope, literally, “goat turned runaway, wild,” from tchu-áta, ítchu háta goat, lit., “bleating deer.” 1This adjective is found verbified in isimanōläídshit “he has caused himself to be a runaway.” The present Seminoles of Florida call themselves Ikaniú-ksalgi or “Peninsula-People” (from íkana land, niúksa, for in-yúksa its point, its promontory, -algi: collective ending); another name for them is Tallaháski, from their town Tallahassee, now capital of the State of Florida. The Wendát or Hurons call them Ungiayó-rono, “Peninsula-People,” from ungiáyo peninsula. In Creek, the Florida peninsula is called also Ikan-fáski, the “Pointed Land,” the Seminoles: Ikana-fáskalgi “people of the pointed land.” The name most commonly given to the Seminoles in the Indian Territory by the Creeks is Simanō’lalgi, by the Hitchiti: Simanō’la’li. Indians speaking the Creek language lived in the south of the peninsula as early as the sixteenth century. This fact is fully proved by the local names and by...

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