Synopses & Reviews
This book begins where the reach of archaeology and history ends, writes Charles Hudson. Grounded in careful research, this extraordinary work imaginatively brings to life the sixteenth-century world of the Coosa, a native people whose territory stretched across the Southeast, encompassing much of present-day Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.
Cast as a series of conversations between Domingo de la Anunciaci¹n, a real-life Spanish priest who traveled to the Coosa chiefdom around 1559, and the Raven, a fictional tribal elder, Conversations with the High Priest of Coosa attempts to reconstruct the worldview of the Indians of the late prehistoric Southeast. Mediating the exchange between the two men is Teresa, a character modeled on a Coosa woman captured some twenty years earlier by the Hernando de Soto expedition and taken to Mexico, where she learned Spanish and became a Christian convert.
Through story and legend, the Raven teaches Anunciaci¹n about the rituals, traditions, and culture of the Coosa. He tells of how the Coosa world came to be and recounts tales of the birds and animals--real and mythical--that share that world. From these engaging conversations emerges a fascinating glimpse inside the Coosa belief system and an enhanced understanding of the native people who inhabited the ancient South.
A staggering intellectual achievement possible only by someone who has devoted a career to mastering the archaeological, ethnographic, and historical literature on Southeastern Native people. (Michael Green, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
I loved reading this book. Cleverly constructed, it affords us a portal into the minds and cosmos of the Southeastern Indians, a world of mounds, monsters, and supernatural beings. (Jerald T. Milanich, author of Florida Indians from Ancient Times to the Present)
This book depicts the world of the Coosa, a native tribe that dominated the ridge and valley area of eastern Tennessee, northwestern Georgia, and northeastern Alabama in the 1500s and that is believed to have eventually become the Creek. Beginning with all that is currently known about the beliefs, traditions, and culture of the Coosa, Hudson weaves this into a series of fictionalized conversations between a real-life Spanish priest (who actually did travel to Coosa territory in 1560) and a fictional Coosa priest.
About the Author
Charles M. Hudson is Franklin Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and History at the University of Georgia in Athens. His previous books include Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de Soto and the South's Ancient Chiefdoms.