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  • Mary Musgrove, Colonial Go-Between

    Known as Coosaponakeesa by the Creek Indians, Mary Musgrove’s mixed heritage, linguistic skills, and intimate knowledge of native culture made her a unique and influential character in early Georgia history.  She interpreted communications between Georgia founder James Oglethorpe and the Yamacraw chief Tomochichi, negotiating treaties and land secessions and her efforts laid the groundwork for the establishment of Georgia as a colony.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Descibe the role of an interpreter and why they're important in foreign relations.

    2. How did having an English father and a Creek mother give provide Mary Musgrove the necessary foundation to be an interpreter?

    Expansion

    1. Discuss the role of an interpreter in foreign relations. Compare and contrast Mary Musgrove's role to a modern cultural liaison. Additional research may be required.

    2. Using GPB's Creek Nation virtual field trip, learn more about the Creek Nation and Mary Musgrove's role in the foundation of Georgia as a colony. Discuss whether her role as an interpreter ultimately helped or hurt the Creek people. 

    Vocabulary

    interpreter: a person who translates the words that someone is speaking into a different language
    bilingual: able to speak and understand two languages
    mixed heritage: a child whose mother and father are of different races

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Descibe the role of an interpreter and why they're important in foreign relations. 
    An interpreter converts thought or expression from one language to another and allows for communication between two groups. An interpreter is often necessary when dealing with foreign relations because they often have a strong sense of the language, culture and customs of both groups. This allows for a balanced level of communication. 

    2. How did having an English father and a Creek mother give provide Mary Musgrove the necessary foundation to be an interpreter?
    Mary Musgrove learned the culture, customs and language of both sides of her heritage--English and Creek. She was well educated, understood the trade business and the expectations of both societies. Her intellect and mixed heritage stood out to both groups, allowing her to negotiate peace between the colonists and Creeks.

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