Missouri Cherokee Tribes proclaim Jewish Heritage
The Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana Territory has recently shocked the world by claiming their ancient Oral legends tell of a Cherokee migration made to America from the area known as Masada.
This startling evidence is being offered to the public by Beverly Baker Northup whom is the spokesperson for their organization. The evidence offered in support of this connection to Cherokees escaping the mountain fortress of Masada is based in part of what Northup claims is stories passed down from elders and the similarity between ancient words.
Beverly Baker Northup believes there is a connection between these two peoples based on evidence of Jews of the region around Masada during Roman times wearing braided hair and the similarities that the spokesperson attributes to Hebrew language.
Here you will find a series of pages about the connection between our Cherokee Heritage and the Nation of Israel. Many new discoveries regarding this significant connection are being made each and every day, and are very important to our Cherokee Heritage.
Please read each page carefully.
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The Influence of Sephardic Jews and Moors on Southeastern Indian Cultures
By Donald Panther-Yates
Keynote address given to Institute for the Study of American Cultures, and Epigraphic Society, Columbus, Georgia
October 24, 2002
When he died in 1986, the Jewish-American writer Bernard Malamud left an unfinished, truly genius-laden novel called The People that some say is his most bizarre and comical work. It tells the story of a Yiddish peddler who is kidnapped by a tribe of Indians and who becomes Chief Yozip, winning the love of the old chief’s daughter, One Blossom, after passing a series of initiation tests and fighting off the U.S. Cavalry. In the unwritten conclusion, Yozip apparently joins Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show “as a White Indian…becomes a U.S. citizen, and enrolls in night school to study law in order to help the Indians fight persecution and injustice.”
The meeting of minds of Indian and Jew that has been my topic today is described in one scene from Malamud’s The People, which I mentioned at the beginning of my presentation. I would like to close by sharing with you a funny, but telling skit from that book.
“As the moons change so does the world change…”
The chief nodded and Yozip nodded. They were sitting cross-legged on the ground.
“We are an ancient tribe,” said the chief. “Some call us the first of this land. Our ancestors said they were the children of Quodish. We live in his word. We speak his name in our hearts. We touch our heads when we think of him. I say my words to him. Do you understand what I mean?”
“Of cuss,” said Yozip, though he did not say what the words might mean.
“We are descended from the first tribe.”
“This I understand. From the first comes the second.”
“Where do you come from?” asked the chief.
“I come from Russia. I am a socialist.”
“What is socialist?”
“We believe in a better world. Not to hurt but to help people.”
“These are our words too,” said the old chief. “We are the people.”
“Amen,” said Yozip.
I’m going to speak to you today about the influence of Sephardic Jews – one of the two divisions of world Jewry, the Western division — on Indian cultures in the Southeast U.S. in a time frame of approximately 1600 to 1800, when the area was predominantly Spanish and the first contact took place between the tribes of the interior and traders from the coastal settlements of St. Augustine, Savannah, Jamestown and Pensacola. My work seeks to establish the thesis that—funny as it may sound—the five so-called “Civilized Tribes” of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole owe their high degree of assimilation, long history of treaty-making, trade and legal rights, and in fact their very survival to Sephardic Jews like my forefather Isaac Cooper.
Using a combination of y-chromosome testing, genealogy and local history, Hirschman has proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the forebears of the Melungeons were Sephardic Jews. Among her quite brilliant discoveries are that Daniel Boone, David Crockett, Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Sam Houston and James Robertson, the founder of the Cumberland settlements were Jewish, if not in practice, at least in genetics and by association.
It is indeed a stunning revision of American history to think that the earliest settlers in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee were not stalwart, white-skinned Anglo-Saxons and Celts from the British Isles, but rather dusky, dark-eyed, dark haired, exotic, non-Christian Semites and Berbers from North Africa and Spain. It was Moors who occupied Black-a-moor’s fort on the Clinch River; it was a Semitic Daniel Boone who cleared the path through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. This knowledge challenges not only our view of American history, but also the modern image of Jews and Muslims.
My third argument comes from the genealogies of chiefs among the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. I would love to talk about James Adair, who wrote his famous history of the American Indians “by the side of a Chikkasah female, as great a princess as ever lived (p. 447)” and who I think was himself Jewish …or James McQueen, who jumped ship as a lad in Pensacola harbor in 1719, married a succession of Creek princesses, lived to be 128 years old and was the grandfather of Tecumseh, Osceola and Josiah Francis (Hillis Harjo)… or Sequoyah who was from a Jewish family from Baltimore that married with the Gratz family of Philadelphia and Lancaster.
But time constraints force me to pass them over. Nevertheless, I will mention that Montgomery, Ala. was founded by a Jewish trader from Charleston who married a Creek Indian “princess.” Benjamin Hawkins, the Indian agent, mentions him: “Abraham M. Mordecai, a Jew of bad character” (Letters of Benjamin Hawkins 1796-1806, page 168). Pickens interviewed Mordecai for his history of early Alabama and wrote: “Abram Mordecai, an intelligent Jew, who dwelt fifty years in the Creek Nation, confidently believed that the Indians were originally of his people.” Many Indian traders in the Southeast not labeled as such appear to have Sephardic names. Most of them not of the itinerant or “fly-by-night” kind married a daughter or niece of the relevant Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw or Creek headman. It was common for anyone remaining within the nation over one winter to take a wife and become an adoptive citizen.
Another of the first white traders among the Choctaws (as early as 1767) was Hardy Perry, father of Chief Isaac Perry. Hardy Perry operated a trading post near present-day Tupelo, Mississippi after coming into the territory, so it is said, from Georgia. Reportedly he was the first to introduce oxen into the Choctaw Nation, bringing the animals north from Mobile. He had a Choctaw wife named Anolah (meaning “Black Fox”), who lived near present-day Grenada, Mississippi, and also a wife in the neighboring Chickasaw Nation. Here we are obviously dealing with crypto-Jews. The Perrys were a Sephardic family whose name (Perez) originally paid tribute to the pear tree of the land of Israel. Probably they are the namesake for Parris Island, where the last of Juan Pardo’s settlers were found. Anolah, we can be sure, was not a full blood. Perry is the same name as Perryman. The Sephardic features are, I think, very striking in the portrait of Benjamin Perryman, a Creek warrior, by Catlin. The most important founder of Jewish-Indian trading families was William Dixon Moniac (orig. Jacob Monaque), a French Jew who joined the last of the Natchez Indians and married Polly Colbert.
In conclusion, Sephardic-Indian trading and land-owning families were responsible for forming the overall pattern of white-Indian relations in the U.S., emphasizing a legal relationship founded on peace, trade and mutual self-interest, unlike Latin America where Indians have no rights even to this day, since Judaism was banned in Spanish countries and trade was discouraged. The story of white-Indian relations in North America has normally been told as one giant unfolding systematic theft. Angie Debo, Vine Deloria and A. Alvarez are some of its better-known chroniclers. Guilt, anger, deception and misunderstanding dominate among its themes. According to both the apologists and the revolutionists, European colonists took the red man’s lives, land, livelihood, language and culture; they are even trying today to rob the Indian of his spirituality and identity. But the Sephardic Jewish colonists consistently went against this pattern. Where their English, French and Spanish counterparts did little more than take, the Jews and Moors gave. They gave large families of children, leadership abilities, trading relationships, writing and computational skills, building and construction know-how, legal advice, spinning wheels, looms, forges, smithies, ferries, cows, horses, peach orchards, beautiful arts and crafts. In the case of Will Thomas, the Carolina colonel who safeguarded the Eastern Cherokees’ existence, they even gave land and preserved a sovereignty that endures to this day.
According to the U.S. Census, the Cherokee constitute the country’s largest Indian group, with nearly 500,000 official and unofficial members. Through genocide, military conquest, plague, starvation, captivity, dispossession, betrayal and endless government maneuvers, they and the other major Southeastern tribes fought back with cunning and conviction. These were the first Indian nations to have constitutions, courts of law, a press, police forces and schools. Euchella v. Welsh (1824) and the Cherokee case before the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1830s marked their arrival in the circle of nations. The ensuing public sympathy stirred up by converted Jews like John Howard Payne, author of “Home Sweet Home,” secured a place in legend for them similar to the Founding Fathers of America and Davy Crockett. Families like the McDonalds, Adairs, Rosses, Coopers, Keyses, Browns, Rogerses and Vanns mingled their bloodlines with the strength of the natives in the eighteenth century and before. Were it not for that mixture the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek and Choctaw could never have survived as political entities. Were it not for those intermarriages, most Southeastern Indians would not have acquired immunities to disease and survived at all!
Southern Sephardic Jews were the secret ingredient in an amazing melting pot formed on the Old Frontier. Flexible, down-to-earth, inconspicuous, they infiltrated, impressed and inspired the indigenous hierarchies. God’s Chosen People met the Great Spirit’s favorite people. Seemingly all traces of them have eroded with time, but DNA is uncovering their amazing story