Saturday, October 26, 2013

QOTD, and an interesting discovery regarding Native Americans.

"Everytime I see someone on 23andme list off their mito group and then start spouting off a list of surnames as a defense of why their results are wrong, I understand why teenagers started cutting." -Jon Arsenault

Native Americans might be one-third "European."

I put "European" in quotes because I'm not sure if the descriptor really applies. Tying genetic sequences to continents ignores a lot. I mean, when we say "Africans" to get at people with black skin and features like those common to sub-Saharan Africa, we ignore their Dravidian relatives that settled the Indian subcontinent, and their other relatives that settled east Asia, Papua New Guinea and Australia before any other humans. When we say "European," we ignore the Tocharians that became one of the many founding populations of the Han Chinese, the proto-Indo-Iranians who conquered the Dravidians and blended with them to form modern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iran, and now apparently Native Americans too. And even when we say "Asians," we ignore their Polynesian descendants that settled a great geographic area stretching from Madagascar to Easter Island.

I realize this has the potential to be controversial, especially with my Lakota friends. The Bering Land Bridge theory gets pretty short shrift there, mainly because it was once used as white propaganda to justify the theft of Native lands. Truth is truth regardless of politics, but I wonder if this discovery might change the politics of the Bering Land Bridge theory. I mean, nobody who's not a flaming douche is trying to justify the white theft of Native lands anymore, but if they were, and they were using the Bering Land Bridge theory to do so, this'd cut the legs out from under that argument. If the Natives are "white" too, then the racists have even less of no leg to stand on.

The Bering Land Bridge theory is controversial, and the dates for when it might've occurred keep changing with new discoveries in the Americas. But I think it's a decent summary of the available historical facts that the ancestors of Native Americans came over from Siberia at some point in time. The main alternatives proposed - settlement via the Polynesian Pacific, or the Gulfstream in the Atlantic, or via Iceland and Greenland - all ignore the evidence suggesting no human habitation in those areas until long after complex Native societies had arisen in the Americas.

Anyway, pre-Columbian American history has been long neglected by academia, for what boil down to racist reasons, both conscious and unconscious. Hopefully we'll learn more about it, and learn that the land we call home wasn't created in 1492.

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