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The Spider Gorget on the Front of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian

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  • Susan
    Vince, All, I hope some of you who reside in Georgia or are familiar with the issues raised in the excellent Richard Thorton article, UNDERSTANDING
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 24, 2009
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      Vince, All,
      I hope some of you who reside in Georgia or are familiar with the issues raised in the excellent Richard Thorton article, "UNDERSTANDING OCMULGEE,  CAHOKIA AND ORTONA"  in the People of One Fire News will comment.  His critque of 'most of the archaeological profession' re: their ignorance of the importance of Ocmulgee to the cultural development of Southeast's indigenous peoples'  really caught my attention, especially with the Ocumulgee in Florida and Georgia well prior to the establishement of Cahokia. (Vince, the author being an expert on the architecture of the ancient indigineous cultures of Mexico and Central America * really gives you another fine link between those regions and the North American moundbuilders).
      Having a spider phobia, Vince's second Post brought me to search for a photo.  The six foot logo of the Spider Gorget in NC is shown, bottom of Page 2 of the article also from People of One Fire:

      "Unknown Holstonia: Southwest Virginia Before the Settling of Jamestown",  

      by Jim Glanville, Retired Chemist and Independent Scholar (Paper read at the Second Virginia Forum on History, Library of Virginia, Richmond. April 14, 2007) © Jim Glanville, 2007 and 2009. All rights reserved.http://www.holstonia.com/files/Richmond2007.pdf

      Likely I will send the article to the professor in Virginia, Sean Heuvel,  mentioned in one of our posts a couple of weeks ago.  I do not see any articles within his seeminglyh newly created Tidewater Historian site which pre-dates the settling of Jamestown.  I hope the fair-minded professor investigates and/or includes this article which places cultured Native American societies w/extensive trade networks within Holsten River valleys long before Europeans arrived.

      Interesting also are five factors Glanville suggests after asking, "How did such a culture get missed?"  A good question to extend throughout all of our regional histories, my city on the ancient Wisconsin River included....


      --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, Vincent Barrows <v_barrows@...> wrote:
      > The following is a forwarded People of One Fire news letter from Richard Thornton. in this News update, the origin of the Spider motif used on Grogets is discussed.
      > --- On Fri, 10/23/09, PeopleOfOneFire@... PeopleOfOneFire@... wrote:
      > From: PeopleOfOneFire@... PeopleOfOneFire@...
      > Subject: News Update: The Spider Gorget on the Front of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian
      > To: v_barrows@...
      > Date: Friday, October 23, 2009, 8:39 AM
      > People of One
      > Fire
      > An Alliance of Muskogean Scholars
      > 62 Twin Oak Trace ~ Talking Rock, GA
      > ~30175
      > TEL: 706-253-0301  ~ Email: PeopleOfOneFire@...
      > News Update
      > What Is the Origin of the Spider Gorget on the Museum
      > of the Cherokee Indian?
      > After reading yesterday's newsletter, a prominent citizen of the
      > Muscogee (Creek) Nation sent me an email asking about the Spider Gorget that is
      > on the front facade of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in North
      > Carolina.  She had recently watched a program produced by this museum that
      > was shown on Oklahoma Public TV and to all Oklahoma school children.  She
      > said that she had always assumed that it was a Creek symbol, yet the
      > Cherokee-produced TV program said it was found on the NC reservation. Last
      > night, I received a phone call from a famous Creek artist, who also
      > complained about that TV program.  Well, here is the surprising
      > answer.  I was living in Asheville, NC at the time the building was
      > constructed.
      > When the Museum of the Cherokee Indian was under
      > construction in the 1980s,  a museum graphics design firm, working as a
      > sub-contractor for the Architects,  used Charles Hudson's book, The
      > Southeastern Indians,  as the main source for the displays in the
      > museum. On pages 135-136 of the book, is a recounting of the Cherokee Water
      > Spider Myth.  It is followed on page 137 by a photograph of a spider gorget
      > . . .  containing a terrestrial spider with the Etalwa Cross in the
      > center.  A graphics designer thought the design was cool and reproduced it
      > on the facade of the building.  That symbol was adopted to become the logo
      > of the Qualla Arts Guild, Oconaluftee Village,  the museum itself, and many
      > other organizations on the reservation.  Museum exhibits and employees will
      > also tell you that the gorget was found on the reservation. It absolutely was
      > not!
      > I also thought the Spider with the Etalwa Cross was a traditional Creek art
      > theme.  A few years ago I did some detective work by going through the
      > publisher to get the origin of the Spider Gorget photo.  That
      > particularly Spider Gorget was unearthed at a town site associated with the
      > Cahokia complex in Perry County, Missouri!  It is now owned at the Yale
      > University Archaeological Museum, but may, by now, be on display in the Museum
      > of the American Indian in Washington, DC.   A similar, but not
      > identical gorget, is on display in the Moundville, AL Museum. Although the
      > Etalwa Cross IS a very important Creek religious symbol that apparently
      > originated in Georgia,  the Spider motif seems to have originated in the
      > Middle Mississippi River Basin.
      > The Creek citizens, who contacted me,  mentioned
      > some questionable statements made in this Oklahoma TV program on the
      > Southeastern Indians. The primary commentator, an Eastern
      > Cherokee, states that North Carolina archeologists have proven that the
      > Cherokees were the oldest civilization in the Western Hemisphere and lived at
      > the same location for 10,000 years . . . that the Aztec and Maya civilizations
      > evolved from the Cherokees.  The program also states that the Cherokees
      > were the first people to cultivate corn, beans and squash,  and built most
      > of the mounds in the Southeast. 
      > Evidently, the Cherokee commentator was not even aware that the Olmecs
      > preceded the rise of the Mayas by 1200 years and that the Aztecs followed 200
      > years after the collapse of the Maya civilization.  Furthermore, 
      > there is lots of evidence that there were South American cultures that were even
      > older than the Olmecs.  
      > The program also stated that the Cherokees were the first to make
      > fiber-tempered pottery in the Western Hemisphere and "invented" Swift
      > Creek style pottery.   Fiber-tempered pottery originated around 2500
      > BC simultaneously in the Savannah River Basin and in the vicinity of Lake
      > Okeechobee, FL.  The Swift Creek site is in the Ocmulgee National Monument
      > near Macon, GA.
      > Oklahoma educational officials should be slapped on their hands for
      > allowing such malarkey to be force-fed to the children of their state. 
      > Professional archaeologists and historians typically present their findings
      > as theories, supported by comprehensive analysis of artifacts and/or archival
      > evidence.  They certainly would never make such outrageous statements
      > merely because it sounded good to tourists.
      > Well, that's my opinion . . .
      > Richard Thornton
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