Richard Thornton

Hunting and Food of the Plains Tribes

Since this is a discussion of the general characteristics of Plains Indians, we shall not take them up by tribes, as is usual, but by topics, Anthropologists are accustomed to group the facts of primitive life under the following main heads: material culture (food, transportation, shelter, dress, manufactures, weapons, etc.), social organization, religion and ceremonies, …

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Ceremonies and Dance of the Plains Tribes

Tribal Ceremonies. In addition to the above ceremonial practices, there are a number of procedures deserving special mention. Most tribes had a series of ceremonies for calling the buffalo and inducing them to enter the pound or to permit themselves to be easily taken by the hunters. These have not been satisfactorily investigated but seem …

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Why and How did Native Americans Build Mounds

“Indian mound” is the common name for a variety of solid structures erected by some of the indigenous peoples of the United States. Most Native American tribes did not build mounds. The majority were constructed in the Lower Southeast, Ohio River Valley, Tennessee River Valley and the Mississippi River Valley. Some shell mounds can be found along the entire length of the United States’ Atlantic Coast.

Shell and Sand Mounds of Tick Island, Florida

On Tick Island, near Jacksonville, Florida contractors were merrily tearing away at another shell mound when workers found stone tools and weapons mixed with the shells. Word got out. Some amateur collectors began poking around the site looking for perfect spear points, ornaments and pottery. Before the ancient structures were totally destroyed, Ripley Bullen, a professional archeologist investigated the site.

The Teepee

Hollywood has taught us much during the 100+ years of making Westerns. Everyone now knows that the Lakota (Sioux) invented the teepee and that all teepee’s are made of buffalo hides. By the time that the White Man arrived, the Sioux invention had spread throughout the continent. Those Indians, who didn’t have teepee’s or ride …

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Early Slave Raid Period 1657-1684

In 1567 Captain Juan Pardo explored an extensive area of what is now the Carolina Piedmont & Highlands. He probably also traveled through sections of the upper Tennessee Valley and northeastern Georgia – possibly even SW Virginia. Licenciado (attorney) Juan de la Bandero recorded names of indigenous communities that he visited and gave some geographical …

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Navajo Hogan Home

The Diné, the second largest Native American tribe in the US, originated from the sub-arctic region of Canada, with their ancestors being Athabaskans. The tribe is now spread across numerous regions in the US, Mexico, and Canada. Once primarily farmers, the Diné later adopted hunting and animal rearing practices. Traditional Navajo architecture, known as hogans, were earth-sheltered, insulated structures with both female and male versions serving different purposes. Although modern conventional houses are now more prevalent, hogans still hold cultural significance for the Navajo people.

Peachtree Mound near Murphy, North Carolina

The Peachtree Site had one of the few Hierarchal Period mounds in the North Carolina Mountains that has been excavated by professional archaeologists. The Heye Foundation studied the mound during the early 1900s in the same period that it excavated the Nacoochee Mound in the Georgia Mountains. Unfortunately, this work was done in an era when neither precise aerial photography nor radiocarbon dating was possible. Also, archaeologists of this era were primarily interested in obtaining ‘trophy’ artifacts for their museum and benefactors in the Northeast. Little attention was given to the town as a whole, or its chronology. Most of the mound was destroyed. Farmers leveled what remained after the archaeologists left. However, many mounds are still visible on satellite color and infrared maps.

The Late Slave Raiding Period 1705-1721

This is the period when Native Americans increasingly became the pawns of France and Great Britain in their struggle over North America. For a quarter of a century, France had formally claimed all lands within the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio River Basins, based on the explorations of LaSalle. With the founding of the first capital …

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Middle Slave Raid Period 1684-1706

Stark changes occurred during the mid-1680s in the Southeast. There were many movements of population as the intensity of attacks on the Spanish mission by the Westo, Chickmawka’s, Yamassee and pirates intensified. The Rickohockens were completely pushed out of their stronghold at the Peaks of the Twin Otter by Iroquois raids. The Iroquois had obtained …

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Nacoochee Mound, Nation’s First Gold Rush

One of Georgia’s most beloved landmarks, the Nacoochee Mound, has a fascinating history For generations of Georgians, and now the endless line of Floridians seeking cool nights, the Nacoochee Mound has announced to passersby that they are REALLY in the mountains. It is the gateway to Helen, GA a tiny lumber mill hamlet that was remade …

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People of One Fire

Architect Richard Thornton is a member of an alliance of Creek, Choctaw and Seminole scholars, who over the past seven years have been intensely studying the heritage of the Muskogean peoples. The following articles written by him, most of them exclusively for AccessGenealogy, advance the findings of this group and Richard’s personal studies. These articles take a look at the Muskogean peoples like none other that can be found online. To study their heritage, and not to have at least read his writings, is to assume that we already know everything about this people.

Mysterious Kenimer Mound, Nacoochee Valley, Georgia

Who constructed this five sided landmark and why? Mankind has lived a long time in the beautiful Nacoochee Valley of the Northeast Georgia Mountains; at least 10,000 years. Even after 200 years of being farmed by European settlers, at least a dozen Native American mounds have been identified. In fact, the gateway to the valley …

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