Earnest Gouge was born in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Indian Territory, around 1865. In 1915 he was hired by John R. Swanton to write 29 traditional stories in the traditional Muskogee alphabet. Read more about Gouge
In the 1990s Jack Martin came across the stories in the National Anthropological Archives and made photocopies of them for Margaret Mauldin, a Muskogee instructor at the University of Oklahoma. Martin, Mauldin, and Mauldin’s sister Juanita McGirt then set about editing and translating the stories. That work was published as a book in 2004:
- Gouge, Earnest. 2004. Totkv Mocvse / New Fire: Creek Folktales. Edited and translated by Jack B. Martin, Margaret McKane Mauldin, and Juanita McGirt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press
Proceeds from these titles have gone to Felix Gouge on behalf of the Gouge family.
Earnest Gouge’s stories are presented here in more detail. Files labeled “Original” are scanned versions (PDF) of photocopies of Gouge’s original documents. We are grateful to the National Anthropological Archives for allowing us to reproduce these here. “Typescript” files are typed versions reflecting Gouge’s spelling and the original pagination. Files labeled “Analysis” contain multiple lines of information: (a) a normalized Creek spelling; (b) a phonemic transcription; (c) an analysis of each word in parts (in the first seven stories only); and, (d) a free translation in English.
Mvto / Thank you
Totkv mocvse (new fire) is a term used for the ceremonial fire marking the rebirth of a tribal town. We hope this work will rekindle interest and pride in the Creek language and in Earnest Gouge and other keepers of Creek traditions.
We are grateful to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives for allowing us to publish these texts and for making photographs and photocopies of the originals available to us.
Edna Gouge introduced us to other family members and provided encouragement.
Gloria and Michael McCarty made sound recordings of Margaret Mauldin reading the stories. Jesse Mercer and Virginia Crowell helped with the typing. Pamela Innes, Jason Jackson, and Craig Womack provided helpful comments.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (under grant RT-2156694) and the National Science Foundation (under grant SBR-9809819) funded this research as part of a larger project to document the Creek language.
To all who have helped, we say, Mvto!