Although the “spitting image” of Cherokee Indians on the “strip” in Cherokee, NC, the musicians in the photo at left are actually Christian Armenians from eastern Turkey, performing publicly in a plaza in the city of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic! There is a reason. Linguistic analysis and the eyewitness reports of French, English, Spanish and Dutch explorers point to eastern Turkey and Iberia as the homelands of the original Cherokee Indians.
The primary ancestors of the Cherokee Indians were nowhere around when several stone architecture terrace complexes, such as at Track Rock Gap in Georgia, were built in the Southern Appalachians. The Cherokee Tribe did not build any ceremonial mounds. Like the ancestors of many other Americans, these peoples came to the New World much later as refugees from the tyrannical butchers of the Old World.
During the summer of 2012, as a History Channel film crew was creating the premier of “America Unearthed” at several locations in the state of Georgia and in Mexico, a strange alliance formed in Georgia and North Carolina. It was a situation that in more rational times would have been confined to scientific study and historical research. However, stopping the “Maya in Georgia” thing became a right wing religious cause, equal in priority to ending school lunchroom subsidies for children of poor families.
Aging dinosaurs, sensing the end of the Cretaceous Period, thought the idea of Maya refugees coming to the Georgia Mountains so preposterous, that the TV program seemed an ideal opportunity to impress their thralls with their continued political omnipotence. Other key members of this alliance were some right wing extremists in the Georgia offices of the U. S. Forest Service, some officials of the Eastern Band of Cherokees, who, and a small clique of archaeologists. The political strategy was to let the History Channel publicize the program nationally then gain national publicity for themselves, when the show was thoroughly discredited.
The initial strategy of this alliance was to refuse the History Channel and National Geographic Magazine access to the Track Rock Archaeological Zone. Simultaneously, over 100 trees were cut or sawed down over the Track Rock terraces access trail. The Southeast Regional public relations director for the U.S. Forest Service then issued a public statement, which said that hikers had "imagined" the trees to have been cut down. This strategy failed when the History Channel obtained film and photographs from hikers, who visited the site before it was blocked.
A multi-pronged attack was executed. While the History Channel team was filming in Mexico, neighbors, landlords, Georgia universities, local law enforcement , even people on the street, were contacted by right wing federal law enforcement officers and told that individuals associated with the new Track Rock site study were Obama-lovers, home burglars, gay, atheists, devil-worshipers, insane, sexual predators, Marxists, owned dangerous, killer attack dogs . . . or whatever lie seemed appropriate at the time. These law enforcement officers were all former military personnel, who had learned their psych-ops skills in the Middle East.
There was a media blackout in the Atlanta Area. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta area TV stations never mentioned “America Unearthed” before or after its premier, despite the fact that it was filmed in several locations in Georgia, and has proved to be a boon to heritage tourism.
The other phase of the attack was a speakers program targeted at what was viewed as key portals to the “cultural heritage” leadership in the region. It was made certain that no alternative views would be allowed. An archaeologist told the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association, “This Maya thing is a bunch of crap.” That comment was dutifully placed on the organization’s website. Another archaeologist told a crowd at the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta that the Cherokees built the 200+ agricultural terraces as ceremonial sites. A one sided presentation was also given to the Society of Georgia Archaeology which stated that the Cherokees were always living in northern Georgia, AND that the proponents of Maya immigration were uneducated amateurs, who were challenging their intellectual authority. An interesting anecdote to the speech campaign is that none of these archaeologist-speakers had ever been in Mexico or knew anything about Creek Indian culture that was indigenous to most of Georgia.
The final phase of the attack was a website installed immediately before the premier of “American Unearthed” by the Gainesville, GA office of the U.S. Forest Service. It was called “Maya Myth Busting in the Mountains.” Needless to say . . . what goes around comes around.
There is no doubt that the Philistines bought the best armor available for their champion, Goliath. That didn't help either Goliath or his comrades very much the next day. The premier of America Unearthed, "The Mayas in Georgia" has become one of most popular shows ever broadcast by the History Channel. It has been seen around the world and on YouTube. The DVD can even be purchased on Amazon.com
Something totally unexpected also evolved during this period. It was another alliance, with no funding or public visibility, between Georgia’s Creek Indians and North Carolina’s Cherokee Indians. The Creeks were fed up with the distortion and marginalization of their history by this same archaeological clique. The Cherokee traditionalists were fed up with some fellow Cherokees, who they call “the Qualla Crowd.” Cherokee Traditionalists think that the “Qualla Crowd” has led the North Carolina Reservation into cultural fraud and fiscal disaster. Many Cherokee descendants also want to know who their real ancestors were. It does not bother them that like most other Americans, they are the descendants of many peoples.
The Cherokee-Anatolian language connection
Thousands of Cherokee descendants have received DNA analyses from several labs stating that they had substantial Turkish, Jewish, Egyptian, Spanish, Mesopotamian or African ancestry. The science of genetics is still in flux. These DNA test results have astonished geneticists and anthropologists, since they conflict with the history of the Cherokees one finds in Wikipedia. There have been challenges to the accuracy of the tests.
Currently, somebody is paying a large DNA lab in Texas to prove that the Cherokees are an Algonquian, “mound-building” people, indigenous to North Carolina. The truth is that DNA tests can be highly manipulated by the choice of test subjects and DNA test markers. This is especially true for today’s Cherokee descendants. During the same period that the Cherokees lost about 2/3 of their original population to smallpox plagues, they took in bands of immigrants from other areas, and also kept large numbers of young women, captured in slave raids against many indigenous ethnic groups throughout the Southeast and Midwest.
Language is another matter. If a word is pronounced the same and means the same in two languages, there is certain proof of cultural exchange. Many words spoken by the Creek Indians in Georgia were pronounced the same and meant the same in either the Itza Maya, Totonac or Tamauli languages of Mesoamerica. Given that several agricultural crops from Mesoamerica were also later cultivated in the Southeastern United States, cultural and DNA exchanges were obvious.
The same assessment can be applied to the contemporary Cherokee language and a language spoken on the other side of the globe by Christians in eastern Turkey. However, the way that the Anatolian language reached the New World was far more complex.
Dr. Brent Kennedy, a professor in Wise, VA, was the first scholar to identify a linguistic connection between the Cherokee Indians and Turkey. In the late 1990s, he identified at least 63 key words in the Cherokee language that meant the same in Turkish. These identical words include almost all those describing female relationships, such as sister, mother, daughter, grandmother, aunt and female cousin. He also identified several important 18th century leaders of the Cherokees, such as Attakullakulla, who had Turkish names. Kennedy assumed that the Turkish immigrants, who he theorized as being ancestors of the Cherokees, were Muslims. There he hit a brick wall. There is no evidence of any Muslim influence on the religions of the Southeastern Indians, while there is substantial evidence of Jewish and Christian influence on the beliefs of several tribes during the Colonial Era.
Discovery of several “forgotten” 17th century books and reexamination of the archives of the Colony of Virginia have starkly expanded the research started by Dr. Kennedy. It is now absolutely certain that a relatively large number of Christian Armenian, Spanish Sephardic, French Huguenot, African, French, Turkish Muslims, Moorish Muslims, English and even Dutch settlers lived in the Southern Appalachians for about a century before there was any tribe called the Cherokees. The Muslims became Christians or Jews. Apparently, many of these settlers were men, who married Native women from several tribes. The polyglot colonial population mixed and mingled, gradually adopting indigenous lifestyles, until finally coalescing into tribal bands.
As late as the 1770s, in the northeastern tip of Georgia, the "Cherokees" had Turkish, Arabic, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Dutch names – but no Native American names. None of the recorded words spoken by these Cherokees are modern Cherokee words, but a few are Creek Indian words. They are the only band of Cherokees, where there is a hint of Muslim influence. The horse of a prominent Georgia Cherokee warrior was named “Al Baraq” which means “Lightning” in Arabic. It was the name of the horse that the Quran says took Mohammed to heaven, and also President Obama’s first name.
Several English and French explorers during the 1600s reported visiting a large European Christian town built of brick in what is now northeastern Tennessee. In this town was a large brick church with a bell tower containing a massive bell, which called Christians to prayer three times a day.
The architectural description of the church seemed almost identical to the traditional churches of Armenia, eastern Anatolia and the Kingdom of Georgia. It turned out that the dialect of Turkish spoken by Christians in eastern Anatolia was far more similar to Cherokee than standard Turkish. Cherokee and Anatolian shared all the same words for livestock, except for the word for pig. There is one more thing.
The capital of Armenia during the Middle Ages was the great brick city of Ani. It had over 200,000 residents. The letters of Ani’s writing system were virtually identical to the original syllabary created by Sequoya. The Cherokee Syllabary, used today, was created in 1827 by Elias Boudinot, editor of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper and missionary, Samuel Worcester. Christians in eastern Turkey use the word, ani, to mean nation, tribe or people. Ani means the same in contemporary Cherokee.
Several books are currently being published which revise the early history of the Southeastern United States. They can be ordered online. Books by Gary Daniels on the Maya immigrations into the Southeastern United States can be ordered from Lost Worlds. Ancient Cypress Press in Fort Lauderdale, FL published The Apalache Chronicles on August 23, 2013. It is the true story of the journey of a English explorer in 1651 to the capital of the Kingdom of Apalache, which contained the Track Rock terrace complex in the Georgia Mountains. Several other publishing houses expect books on similar subjects to be released in the coming months.