Cherokees Spoke Greek and Came from East Mediterranean

Possum Creek Stone and Anomalous Cherokee DNA Point to Eastern Mediterranean Origins

In memoriam Gloria Farley

Donald N. Yates
DNA Consultants

Keynote address for Ancient American History and Archeology Conference, Sandy, Utah, April 2, 2010

SUMMARY  Three examples of North American rock art are discussed and placed in the context of ancient Greek and Hebrew civilization. The Red Bird Petroglyphs are compared with Greek and Hebrew coins and the Bat Creek Stone. The Possum Creek Stone discovered by Gloria Farley is identified as a Greek athlete’s victory pedestal. The Thruston Stone is interpreted as a record of the blending of Greek, Cherokee, Native American, Egyptian and Hebrew civilization. Keetoowah Society traditions, as captured in The Vision of Eloh’, are adduced to confirm a general outline of the origins of the Cherokee people in a Ptolemaic Greek trans-Pacific expedition joining pre-arriving Greeks, Jews and Phoenicians in the Ohio Valley around 100 c.e.  Recent DNA investigations showing Egyptian, Jewish and Phoenician female lineages and the Y chromosome of Old Testament Priests among the Cherokee are also touched upon. Greek words and customs in the Cherokee are reviewed as time permits. Slide projector requested.

A cave entrance overlooking the Redbird River, a tributary of the South Fork of the Kentucky River in Clay County, Kentucky in the Daniel Boone National Forest, has inscriptions which according to Kenneth B. Tankersley of the University of Cincinnati display a nineteenth-century example of writing in the Cherokee syllabary. A local resident (Burchell) recognizes Greek writing in one inscription (called Christian Monogram #2) but his reading is unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. Evaluation by experts in Greek and Semitic epigraphy identifies two distinct inscriptions, one in Greek and one in Hebrew.  They appear to be contemporaneous with the Bat Creek Stone unearthed in the 1889 excavation of a tomb in East Tennessee by Cyrus Thomas of the Smithsonian Institution.

Another record of Greek-speaking people in ancient America is the Possum Creek Stone, discovered by Gloria Farley in Oklahoma in the 1970s. It is discussed by her in Volume 2 of In Plain Sight as proof that the man history knows as Sequoyah did not invent the Cherokee syllabary.  The inscription can be read as Greek, HO-NI-KA-SA or ‘o nikasa, i.e. “This is the one who takes the prize of victory,” a common inscription for the pedestal upon which victors were crowned at athletic games.  The use is Homeric, and the spelling Doric.

A third piece of evidence helps fill in the background of the arrival of Greeks and their intermarriage with Asiatic and other Indians in North America. In 1870, an engraved 19 x 15 inch limestone tablet was uncovered in a mound excavation on Rocky Creek near Castalian Springs in Sumner County, Tennessee (see Ancient American, vol. 12, no. 77). Dating to an earlier time than its Mississipian Period context, it commemorates a peace treaty between the Cherokee and Shawnee. The Cherokee chief wears a horse-hair crested helmet and carries the spear and shield of a Greek hoplite. His Shawnee adversary clasps hands in a wedding ceremony with a Cherokee woman who bears wampum belts as a pledge of peace, has her hair in a maidenly bun, wears a Middle Eastern-style plaid kilt, and displays a large star of David. In the Red Record or Walam Olum, we learn that before crossing the Mississippi, somewhere along the south bank of the Missouri, the Algonquians or Lenni Lenape (Delaware Indians), who are later allied with the Cherokee, encounter a foreign tribe they call the Stonys. Cherokee legends about Stone-coat demonstrate that the original Cherokee had metal armor and weapons. DNA studies confirm a mixture of “anomalous” East Mediterranean mitochondrial lineages such as Egyptian T, Greek U and Phoenician X with “standard” American Indian haplogroups A, B, C and D in the Cherokee and certain other Eastern Woodlands Indians.

To sum up, the Red Bird Petroglyph is a Greek inscription from the 2nd to 3rd century c.e., not a crude Cherokee scratching of around 1800 as announced recently by the Archeological Institute of America and the New York Times. It occurs above what is, in all likelihood, an inscription in Maccabean-era Hebrew. The Sequoyan syllabary for which these Greek and Hebrew inscriptions were mistaken originated in the Greek world of the Bronze Age along with other syllabaries like Linear A, Linear B and Cypro-Minoan. The Cherokee language, which today is Iroquoian, is the result of a relexification process in the distant past. It contains many relics of words of Greek origin, especially in the area of government, military terminology, mythology, athletics and ritual. Cherokee music also reflects Greek origins.  The Cherokee Indians are, quite literally, the Greeks of Native America.

Possum Creek Stone and Anomalous Cherokee DNA Point to East Mediterranean Origins (PPT)

Greek Words and Customs in Cherokee

huios Dios
illo, illas*
(hoi en) telei
wanderers (in a hopeless sense)
noxious, devouring beast, whale
hairy, shaggy like a beast
things that befall
volunteer settlers
Son of Zeus (title of Herakles)
wrap, twist; rope
base arts, perjury, fraud
straight-edge used by athletes
a chief
stopping place, way-station
titan of Greek mythology
one not killed
declared healthy
ghost, shade
astronomical instrument
those in authority
spectator in a play
theater, assembly
raise a smoke, make sacrifice
eloh’; elohi
Su-too Jee
migrants, wanderers; earth
mythic great fish
hairy water monster
Cherokee; original people
doctor, hunter
mythic strong man
twisted hair clan (cf. Hawaiianhilo)
taboo regulation
scraper used by ballplayers
war chief title
assembly house
speaker, herald
land where the Elohi tarried
rival of Sutoo Jee (Herakles)
name of a dragon or serpent
divining crystal for health
ghost; cedar
name of dangerous serpent
Great Hawk
brave, warrior
Playful Cherokee fairy
ceremonial enclosure
sorcerer, Stoneclad
ceremonial title; firecracker  (smoke) bringer (Santa Claus)


  Comments: 5

  1. Hi, I am Greek and I have encountered a Cherokee a few years ago and he had the nickname “Zepher”, I asked him what it meant and he told me it meant western wind, in Greek western wind is called “Zephyros”

    • Thank you yes…

      I have done research and visited north Carolina where I was told that I was on the right track…
      Reading this has made my day…
      Oh my Happy days are here.

  2. When I lived in Washington D.C. I spent a lot of time at Potomac River. I was told that it was named by Indian tribes. When I studied Greek, I learned that the word Potomas means river in Greek. Coincidence?

  3. Vasilios Kyriakidis

    Where do Hebrews come into this theory??? As far as I am aware they were never a seafaring people. Why is it that in DNA testing many results show anything from one to four per cent Jewish for people with no contact with Jews or should it denote Semite which includes most of the Middle Eastern peoples.

    • The Hebrews were seafaring people. R. Patai of Princeton has done a lot of work on the Children of Noah. Also, the Phoenicians, their neighbors, were seafaring people. The Bible speaks of their reliance on Hiram, a Phoenician, and his connections with Tarshish (mineral-rich Tartessos in Spain) and voyages to foreign lands. This was about 1000-800 BCE. There were always more Jews (Hebrews) in Egypt and Cyrenaica than in Palestine. The Sea Peoples also included people of Greek and Hebrew derivation (think of the Philistines). The Egyptians were also a seafaring people. A seafaring ship was recovered in the tomb of one of the first pharaohs, Cheops, at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza from around 2500 BCE. The ship is now preserved in the Giza Solar boat museum in Egypt, completely seaworthy. Oars and fittings from early Egypt have been discovered in the old port of Berenice on the Red Sea. During the Ptolemaic period in Egypt (one time point for the incursion of Greek and Hebrew and Phoenician DNA into North America) the pharaohs (who were Greek) had the largest seagoing vessels in history and most advanced maritime technology, including the world’s first analog computer, the famous Antikythera Device discovered in 1910 and extensively studied in the last 20 years. This said, some of the Jewish/Hebrew DNA in Cherokees also comes from Jewish traders of the 17th century. But the Old World Thesis and the Frontier Admixture thesis are not incompatible.

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