Written by Donald E. Sheppard
In 1936, Congress formed a Commission to locate DeSoto's trail through North America. The Commission consisted of Dr. John R. Swanton, of Harvard, and six citizens from six southern states. Nine months later, they presented their report describing DeSoto's trails through ten southern states. Published in 1939, "The Final Report of the United States DeSoto Expedition Commission" still stands as the primary source of Native American intelligence in classrooms across America, despite the fact that geographic reality casts considerable doubt on its validity.
Casual reading illustrates the Commission's neglect of direction statements recorded in original expedition documents, all of which have been translated into English since the DeSoto Trail theory of 1857, which strongly influenced the Commission, was hypothesized. DeSoto's people went to Chicago, NOT where the Commission indicated. Midwestern Native Americans, described by DeSoto's people at places which are cities today, were unlike any we ever learned about in school.