Review of Trekking to Ocmulgee byTy Bard

Trekking to Ocmulgee:
The Spoken World
Ty Bard

ISBN 13:  978-0990961109, Copyright 2014, Corn Silk Press, Athens, Georgia, 5-STARS

Some would call Trekking to Ocmulgee, The Spoken World, a romantic historic novel recounting the tale of a young Muskogee man and a young Muskogee woman, separated by events driven by the expansion of Spanish missions into central Georgia, only to be eventually re-united. But that that would neither be the whole story, nor would it explain the circumstances in which these young Native Americas find themselves. To understand those circumstances, and the thoughts, emotions, adaptations and actions they must take to accomplish that re-uniting requires a much larger understanding of conditions facing the Muskogee Confederation of related villages and towns that occupied central and southwest Georgia, and parts of Alabama and Tennessee in the year 1700 and the years immediately following. Briefly, the Muskogee occupied an area pressed by the Spanish in west Florida allied with the Apalachee, the French at Mobile allied with the Choctaw, the Cherokee in the Appalachian Mountains and the English in the Carolinas. The Spanish pushed missions from Florida into Georgia, the French supported slaving raids on the Muskogee by the Choctaw and Cherokees with the slaves being sold to Caribbean sugar plantations and to plantations in Virginia and the Carolinas. Successfully negotiating trade agreements with English traders in Charleston helped keep the Muskogee nations viable and the interactions of the traders helped mitigate some of the slaving raids on the Muskogee. However, the pressure from the Spanish to the south threatened not just the freedom of the Muskogee, but threatened their spiritual beliefs as well. To this end, a rebellion by the Muskogee begun with the burning of a Spanish mission and continued by the overall Chief of the Muskogee, Hopoyetly at Coweta resulted in a series of raids by the Muskogee that essentially wiped out the Apalachee tribe and much of the Spanish influence in west Florida. It is the beginning of this rebellion where this story starts. For the next several years, this story tracks the rebellion and its aftermath through the eyes of Little Bird and Morning Light, later known as Yvtohke and Jillie. Both are entrusted with key roles in restoring the spiritually important Adjik Hata Clan in the story, however, an evil influence is rising among the Cherokees, although they are not aware of it at first,  whose goal is to prevent the restoration of the Adjik Hata Clan of the Muskogee. As a result, Yvtohke and Jillie must deal with war and its effects, politics, human nature, the culture of the Muskogee and the other Native American groups, the traders and many other influences to accomplish their goals.

Ty Bard is a gifted writer with a true historian’s knowledge of the Muskogee culture and an apparent
need to make others aware of it. As much as anything, this book is a detailed look into Muskogee
culture, circa 1700 with daily life and rituals described in great detail. In similar detail are the mental and emotional musings of the characters, the descriptions of Indian warfare against the Spanish and the Apalachee and the use of Muskogee language terms throughout. Although well written throughout with only a very few minor editing issues, I found the level of detail and the use of the native language to be both informative and tedious. In truth, as wonderful as I found the story and as interesting as I found the culture of the Muskogee during that time, I found the book slow and difficult to read. It not a book I would pick up unless I had a lot of time to spend reading. However, the inclusion by the author of a Creek-Muskogee Language Guide was a very helpful stroke of genius! The expectation is that “Trekking to Ocmulgee” will expand to two more volumes due to the length and complexity of the story. Readers who are interested in Native American culture and history, and those readers who want a great story and have the time to deal with the complexity of the narrative, will want  to watch for the release of the next two volumes. Meanwhile, the author, Ty Bard has done a great job with both the history and the narrative. Kudos!

5-STARS, Clabe Polk

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