In 1665 Dutch artist, Arnout Leers, engraved the lithograph on the left for a book written by Charles de Rochefort in 1658. Rochefort’s book described a large Native American town in the Georgia Mountains that contained a small, wood framed English Protestant Chapel. Leers, however, engraved a massive brick church with a steeple inside a European town built of brick. According to English explorers of the period, that town built of brick was actually in northeastern Tennessee.
This archive has been around, and generally ignored, for 340 years. Two Virginians, Robert Needham and Gabriel Arthur, were sent southwestward by their employer, Abraham Woods, to make contact with a cluster of culturally sophisticated Native towns in southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee. Back then the Tennessee was called the Calimako River (a Maya word meaning House of the King) while the Little Tennessee River was called the Tanasi River. The Calimako became the Tennessee River when Tennessee was preparing to enter the Union as a new state.
Collectively, the inhabitants of southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee were known to Virginians by their Algonquian name, Tamahitan or Tomahitan. However, they called themselves the Tamahiti, which is an Itza Maya word meaning, “Merchant People.” The Tamahiti disappeared from the region in the early 1700s then reappeared on maps in southeastern Georgia as a division of the Province of Tama. Tama was visited by Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto, in March of 1540.
The inhabitants of the southwestern Virginia section of the Blue Ridge Mountains were known to Virginians as the Oconechee. They called themselves the Okoneshe, which means “Offspring of the Oconee People.” The mother province of the Oconee in Georgia was also visited by Hernando de Soto in March of 1540. English and Spanish speakers consistently changed the Muskogean “she” sound to a “che” spelling. The Okoneshe disappeared from history in the 1700s. Not knowing the Creek language, Virginia historians have speculatively labeled them a Siouan people, but can’t figure out what their name means in Southern Siouan.
Until the early 1700s, the Upper Tennessee and Little Tennessee River Valleys were occupied by several Muskogean ethnic groups that called themselves the Koasati, Caskinampo (means Many Warriors), Tali, Itsate, Tanasi, Talasee, Tuskegee and Chiaha. During the early 1700s these groups moved southward into Alabama and Georgia.
Most history lovers are only familiar with the “edited” version Needham and Arthur’s journey that was published by University of North Carolina professor in the 1990s and is billed as “the first contact between the English and the Cherokee. The edited version is a blatant case of academic fraud because it substituted and deleted words to give a false version of history. In particular, the professor substituted the word Charakee for Tomahitan. There is no mention in the original text of any word similar to Cherokee or Rickohocken.
This is what the original text from the Virginia Commonwealth archives says: “This towne is seated on ye river side, haveing ye clefts of ye river on ye one side being very high for its defence . . . “
This is what is printed on most “North Carolina or Cherokee History” web sites: “The Charakee towne of Chote is on ye river side, having ye clefts of the Tanasi River on ye one side being very high for its defence . . . “
The professor "blew his cover" when he inserted Chote. Chote was a nickname for the town of Itsate that was not generally used until the 1720s or later.
The North Carolina professor also deleted references by Needham and Arthur about the fact that only Europeans were living in what all standard references label the original Cherokee heartland – northeastern Tennessee. Several other English and French explorers described Europeans and Africans living in northeastern Tennessee, western North Carolina and northern Georgia during the 1600s. All of their stories have been left out of the history books that students are issued.
The most remarkable deleted portion of the Needham and Arthur Expedition is their description of European and African towns in northeastern Tennessee. The towns occupied by Europeans that the Englishmen described as Spaniards, were built of brick. Those built by Africans were built from wood. The "Spaniards" who built the church were more likely eastern Anatolians, since the descriptions of the church and bell are identical to historic churches in Armenia and the Republic of Georgia.
Tennessee archaeologists have not tried to locate the large brick town mentioned by Needham and Arthur. There is probably insufficient information in the Needham-Arthur archives to pinpoint it. However, late 17th century maps show a large town at the confluence of the Tennessee and French Broad Rivers near present day Knoxville.
The original wording of the Needham and Arthur archive completely turns the American history books upside down. Below are some other sections of Abraham Wood’s description of the expedition in its original wording, maintained by Virginia Commonwealth Archives: (key words are emphasized)
“Eight dayes jorny down this river lives a white people which have long beardes and whiskers and weares clothing, and on some of ye other rivers lives a hairey people.”
“Ye prisoner relates that ye white people have a bell which is six foot over which they ring morning and evening and att that time a great number of people congregate togather and talkes he knowes not what. They have many blacks among them.”
“Now after ye tumult was over they make preparation for to manage ye warr for that is ye course of theire liveing to forage robb and spoyle other nations and the king commands Gabriell Arther to goe along with a party that went to robb ye Spanyard, promising him that in ye next spring hee him selfe would carry him home to his master.”
“They travelled eight days west and by south as he guest and came to a town of negroes, spatious and great, but all wooden buildings Heare they could not take anything without being spied. The next day they marched along by ye side of a great carte path, and about five or six miles as he judgeth came within sight of the Spanish town, walld about with brick and all brick buildings within. There he saw ye steeple where in hung ye bell which Mr. Needham gives relation of and harde it ring in ye evening.”
“Well, shall now give a relation, what my man hath discovered in all ye time that Mr. James Needham left him att ye Tomahitans to ye 18th of June 74. which was ye daye Gabriell arived att my house in safety with a Spanish Indian boy.”
“Ye 7th day a Spanniard in a gentille habitt, accoutered with gunn, sword and pistoll. one of ye Tomahittans espieing him att a distance crept up to ye path side and shot him to death.”
“By this meanes wee know this is not ye river ye Spanyards live upon as Mr. Needham did thinke.”
North America does have a concealed history.