James Catron

The Southeastern United States is studded with ancient mounds, some simple, some intricate, some small, some containing millions of cubic yards of earth. Archaeologists tell us these were places of worship and burial. But the archaeologists do not know why moundbuilding ceased; it did not peter out, it almost seems to have stopped overnight.

The Keetoowah know why. The Keetoowah are an independent tribe of traditional Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee are an Iroquoian people, and at the time of the Revolutionary War, were the largest tribe in America, holding a territory encompassing eight modern States.

According to the Keetoowah, a thousand years ago, there was an eighth clan, the Ani-Kutani. The Kutani were the rulers, a clan of priest-kings and religious aristocracy. The Kutani abused their religious-political powers and oppressed the Keetoowah, taking the best the society could produce, and forcing the people to build the mounds as religious temples. This oppressive taxation and arrogant domination were deeply resented, but the Kutani were greatly feared.

The legend is that one of the Kutani abducted and violated the beautiful young wife of a powerful brave, who organized a conspiracy to massacre every Kutani, young and old. The extermination of the hated elite was complete, and since then the Cherokee have elected their leaders and never have allowed hereditary religious power. Religious matters were placed in the hands of medicine men who could not pass their trade to their sons and who had no political power.

The Founders of this nation were well aware of the Inquisition and other abuses by the ecclesiastical authorities of Europe. Many had immigrated here to escape the massacres of the Reformation and the Catholic-Protestant Wars of British monarchs. They eagerly embraced the Native ideas of separation of politics and religion. The concept was incorporated as the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

The major media mistakenly refer to this concept as separation of church and state. There are many religions that do not involve churches. Currently fashionable are many pagan religions and secular religions that are being advocated by and advanced by our schools and government. When the force of government is brought to bear in the propagation of any religion, there are always persecutions; those who do not share the official faith become enemies of the state.

Will our political leaders recognize the abuse of government power to advance nature worship? Will the professional civil libertarians file lawsuits to remove the teaching of pagan religions from our schools? Who will demand the enforcement of the First Amendment? Who are the modern Ani-Kutani?