Native Americans are questioning the leading theory of how the first peoples in North America arrived on the continent.
For years, scientists have been debating where the first Native Americans came from, and when they arrived in North America.
The scientific community generally agrees that a single wave of people crossed a land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska around 13,000 years ago.
This theory is called the Bering Strait Theory, named after the waterway between eastern Russia and western Alaska. Yet some Native Americans feel that theory is too simple and culturally biased.
Theories from the religion before science.
The first European explorers to arrive in the Americas did not use science to explain the people they found. The explorers instead looked to the Bible. Christianity’s holy book suggested that human beings were created around 4,000 years ago. Biblical tradition holds that all humans are related to the first man, Adam. That would include native peoples whom Europeans considered as primitive or simplistic.
“Dominant science believed in a concept of superiority,” said Alexander Ewen. “And that created an idea that either people were genetically inferior or that there were stages of civilization, and Indians were at a lower stage,” he said.
Ewen is a member of the Purepecha Nation. He wrote a book called the “Encyclopedia of the American Indian in the Twentieth Century.”
Early scientists felt the “primitives” they discovered in the Americas did not have the technology to have sailed the oceans. So they decided that Indians had reached North America by some unknown land bridge. They found their answer in the Bering Strait.
Ewen says that scientific theory has lasted to this day, even with new discoveries and technology. Yet new findings suggest that Indians arrived much earlier and by using different methods…