Kennewick Man fades back into history. For a time this dead Indian had a team of lawyers to sort out the claims that scientists and tribes had on the K-Man. The last science had to say about him was maybe he was Ainu, the indigenous folk of Japan and what we know of them is that they are Bear People. Bear People are all over the world and it doesn’t matter the political nation state they now reside in, they are Bear People with Bear songs, Bear dances and Bear medicines. Many of the old-timers thought they came from Bears, of all concepts, choices and legends, Bear’s a good one.
K-Man had more lawyers than most Indians and proved the issue that dead Indians can have more power and even more rights than living Indians. They can stop developments better than all our protests, they don’t have corrupt politicians selling them out. They bring out the heavy hitters in respective fields, science, religion, politics, and philosophy to argue over their actual bones and the meaning of their very existence, and by extension, all of “us” as “Native” Americans.
Now some experts are saying a root branch of Native Americans came from Europe along the North Atlantic ice some 20,000 years ago, with one site dated at 22,700. A hardy race called Solutreans left an increasingly small area due to ice and cold to head west and in true American spirit, re-invent themselves in the New World. These experts then conjecture that the Solutreans became the Clovis hunters, and this would solve many of their issues, as the Anthro/Archeo Old Guard has insisted on holding the line at 13,500 because this neatly fits their theories of the Bering Strait Ice Age corridor. The much admired Clovis big game hunters with their perfect bifacial fluted stone spear points are thought to be the main Paleo-Indian bad-asses who hunted to extinction the mega-fauna of the New World.
Vine Deloria never believed that and some experts also concur that it takes a lot to bring down, strip, quarter and take home these huge creatures as dinner. Protein and fire may have dictated how our ancestors grew into modern men but there are other cultural aspects that filled these growing brains with tribal knowledge. Killing mega-fauna was always a dangerous endeavor so the communal and altruistic nature of cooperation would find easier ways of survival. Now some think climate change may have affected the protein rich foods necessary to fuel these huge creatures, contributing to their demise.
The Iroquois Migration story has us walking from the southwest to the Mississippi River, where it took one generation for everyone to cross over to the eastern side. Once there, our cousins the Cherokees and others went south, the Hurons and others went north to the Great Lakes. We took the middle route up the Ohio Valley, leaving tribes and names along the way, until we stopped because of the Algonquin tribes. The Delawares (Lenni Lenape) were already there too on the east coast. We called them the Grandfather Tribe. The Lenape seemed to be of a different stock than the predominant Algonquins. Perhaps some tribes have always been in the east? Also interestingly, the area the Solutreans originated from is between France and Spain, and who has resided there for a long goddamn time? The mysterious Basque people.
I told my stories to some Indian folks at a pow-wow and the reaction was immediate and vociferous, “Don’t tell me I’m from Mexico!” as this lady’s pink feathers got all in a ruffle. But you see there was No Mexico No Canada No Eastern Urban Beltway or Southern Bible Belt, No United Snakes of America yet. Even America as it’s called now didn’t exist, it was Turtle Island, it was the “America as Idea” that was stolen to become this political entity. We Natives were called Americans and to separate from their English Overlords, they also stole the American moniker and put a rattlesnake on their flag. As our ancestors may have thought, that’s some heavy medicine, dude, calling yourself “snakes.” And even more interestingly, the Don’t-Tread-on-Me flag is extremely popular among the Tea Party crowd. Just saying.
Even Rush Limbaugh and other pundits weighed in at these intervals with K-Man and the Solutreans, trying to degrade our legacy as Native Americans saying we had come from everywhere else, even Europe. But 20,000 and 25,000 years is a long friggin’ time, so to say time immemorial is good enough. They also say that 93% of humanity has passed before us, that’s 100 billion people living and dying before us. How many dead Indian souls and DNA cover North and South America? Enough to call it our own, forever. Since contact some estimate 125,000,000 dead Indians. How many before that?
These days you can order a Deep Ancestry DNA Tribes kit, to see where your genomes have been and test for specific areas from Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Experts say all humanity has been walking for 60,000 years and some of our relatives are still walking across imaginary borders because of climate change, corporate thievery and government complicity.
Researchers have released findings of a 12,600 year old boy found in 1968, in a grave (where else) in central Montana. Elaborately buried with artifacts and painted with red ochre, he’s called Anzick Boy, along with other evidence the find is called the Anzick Family. Tribal members say they are happy with the research as it shows they’ve been here all along and that Anzick Boy will be reburied. He was found with Clovis points, and is definitely related to Native Americans of Central America (Mayan) and South America (Karitiana of Brazil). Further they say that 80 percent of Native Americans are descended from the Anzick Family. What’s important to scientists is the Clovis artifacts. They haven’t been able to pinpoint genetic material to Clovis even as they have embraced and described a whole Clovis Culture of hunting points that cover North America. The Clovis points end supposedly when the mega-fauna disappeared.
This find may reignite the old professional and career-making-breaking debates of who White Americans say were the First Native Americans. Like we really care. The old Clovis experts were finally shut up when older sites were found all over the Americas, just like we said. Monte Verde in Chile at 14,800 years ago, Paisley Caves in Oregon at 14,300, Channel Islands in California at 13,000, Avella, Pennsylvania and Cactus Hill, Virginia at around 15,000, Aucilla River in Florida at 14,500, and the whole western coastal migrations by boat at 15,000 to 16,000. They are all theories and can all co-exist. Just like our ancestors did. They also say that modern man (outside Africa) can have up to 2.5 percent Neanderthal DNA, so that accounts for Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ted Cruz and Darryl Issa.
The Solutrean experts say that they became Clovis, because of similar so-called Laurel Leaf points that could’ve developed into Clovis points. Now they say these are the cave-painters of Europe who brought Art to America. It just never stops, European cavemen invented Indian Art. But did we just sit around and wait for the White Man to show up? No we didn’t and neither did other cultures. I was going to research something called Ancient Treaties but it’s another whole story. Our people did negotiate treaties even back then, it was the human thing to do, and especially with people you don’t know or trust. So it’s a sound theory that our ancestors had ancient treaties with ancient peoples back in ancient times…there was movement, there was exchange, there was trade.
Yes we have our theories too. So let the scientists debate about their findings, grants, books and jobs, from us Skins all you’re gonna get is a “Ha-Ha! Told ya!” because there’s always going to be an even older site to “discover.”
Alex Jacobs, Mohawk, is a visual artist and poet living in Santa Fe.