Race & Ethnicity• ‘Race’ is a modern idea based on perceived physical & biological differences. – The terms ‘race’ & ‘ethnicity’ are not interchangeable; each has a distinct meaning for social scientists. – Prior to DNA research, many wrongly assumed that huge differences existed among Earth’s various peoples due to their diverse appearances; racial hierarchies resulted. In the 21st century, ‘race’ is useful only to describe an individual’s physical traits, such as skin color & the shapes of certain facial e features.
Race & Ethnicity• Slavery pre-dates the invention of ‘race.’ – When I say that “race is a modern idea,” it means that in the ancient world, peoples such as the Greeks & Romans believed themselves superior to other societies, but this sense of superiority was based on the achievements of their respective civilizations, not their skin color or a belief that they were biologically superior to other groups. – In the ancient world slavery was not based on the color of one’s skin; slaves & masters frequently shared the same skin color.
Race & Ethnicity• The idea of ‘race’ is not supported by genetic research & has no basis in science; only a tiny percentage of our genes (haplotype) determine our physical appearances. – From a DNA standpoint, it makes no sense for humans to think of themselves as divided into “races” b/c of skin color; DNA tells us that all humans are 99.99% the same, no matter how different we may appear on the outside!
Race & Ethnicity• ‘Race’ is an illusion, but historically societies have used ‘race’ to serve the interests of a dominant group. Unfortunately, the racism they create is real. – “For a long time, people have tried to use the physical differences among groups to divide human beings into...‘races’. Many schemes have been proposed; none has worked. There are too many exceptions, too much overlap among groups. Humans just don’t sort neatly into biological categories, despite all the attempts of human societies to create and enforce such distinctions.”--Steve Olson, Mapping Human History
Race & Ethnicity• Because social scientists no longer consider “race” to be a useful concept, the focus of analysis has shifted to “ethnicity,” i.e., an emphasis on a cultural, linguistic, religious, and/or territorial community. – Today it is possible, particularly for white Americans, to enjoy some degree of “situational ethnicity,” in their ethnic self- identifications. Ex. Greek to friends & family, Polish at work, Welsh on official documents. – Skin color can be one ethnic indicator, but not necessarily. Ex. Black Caribbean Hispanics
Race & Ethnicity• We all share the same ancestors; here’s why: – “With each generation going back through time, the number of our ancestors doubles. [If we use 20 years as the measure of a human generation,] just ten generations [200 yrs.] ago, each of us had 1,024 [direct ancestors]. 20 generations ago = more than 1 million ancestors; 30 generations ago (circa the year 1400) = more than 1 billion ancestors. EXCEPT, there were only around 375 million people on earth in 1400, which means the exponential rise in the number of our ancestors must break down at some point, & all our family trees must link up.”-- Steve Olson, Mapping Human History
Racism, the belief that some groups of people are geneticallysuperior to others, has no basis in science.
Part Two:Populating the Americas (i.e., the Western Hemisphere)
The WesternHemisphere was Paleo-Indians walked across Beringia and developed into the Clovis Group Clovis-Firstthe last part of by 13,500 years ago. Theorythe planet tobe settled by (Route 1)humans. Conventional “Clovis-first” Theory of Human This theory was accepted as THE Settlement in the ONLY ANSWER Americas until about --Beringia (land bridge) 1975. exposed 70,000 to 10,000 years ago --Ice free corridor near end of last Ice Age Clovis points are found all over the Continental USA & as far south as Belize, but NOT in Alaska or Siberia or anywhere else on Earth.
Clovis points “The glacial history of Alaska, Canada, and the Great Lakes region indicates that, for the first time in at least 15,000 years, an ice-free, trans-Canadian corridor opened up approximately 12,000 years ago. Since Clovis points are distributed from coast to coastsouth of the Valders ice border, the abrupt appearance of Clovis artifacts in the stratigraphic record of the High Plains some 700 years later suggests that Clovis progenitors passed through Canada during Two Creeks time [11,800 years ago].”—C. Vance Haynes, Jr., Archaeologist & Clovis-first theorist, 1964 (NOTE: For radiocarbon dating done prior to the 1980s, add 2000 years to estimates.)
Ground SlothN. AmericanMegafauna Short-faced bear American Mastodon All these species died out between 9,000 to 11,000 years ago, probably due to a combination of climate change (possibly a comet) & human overkill. Saber-tooth Cat
The Case for Pre-Clovis People(Route 2) 3 Waves • Coastal Entry hypothesis: --Paleo-Indians Early humans avoided ice (Pre-Clovis) sheet by hugging possibly 20- coastline in small 30,000 years ago. Develop- watercraft ed into Clovis • Archaeological sites people by 13,500 y.a. – Meadowcroft Rock Shelter, western PA (Post-Clovis) (16,000-19,000 y.a.) --Na-Dene 10000-11000 – Monte Verde, Chile (at least years ago.This migrationroute from 1000 yrs. before earliest N. --InuitAustralia & N. Zealand American Clovis site) 5000-7000 y.a.to S. America could alsohave been possible.
Meadowcroft Rock Shelter, PA Why are pre- Clovis people so elusive?• Not many of them.• Things they used were mostly made of wood and fibers, which degrade w/ time.• Water has risen; coastlines have receded.
What DNA Tells Us about the Earliest Americans• Native Americans (“Indians”) are the closest living relatives of early Americans.• Within the contemporary Native American population, there are 4 haplo-groups (A, B, C, D)• A,C, & D’s nearest kin live near the border of Mongolia and Siberian Russia. (No surprise.)• Group B’s nearest kin are in China and Southeast Asia. (No surprise.)• Humans have been in the Americas more than 20,000 years; Group B arrived about 15,000 years ago. (Hence, both these dates point to a much earlier arrival than the Clovis-First timeframe.)
Surprise! Haplo-group X• ‘X’ is found among Algonqian-speaking Native Americans living around the Great Lakes.• ‘X’ had previously been found only in Europe among Druze, Italian, & Finnish populations. Long walk across Eurasia? Atlantic How did genetic crossing? a genetic marker from a European population enter the Native American gene pool in prehistoric times?
When Columbus met the Arawak (or Tainos) Indians onthe shores of San Salvador, he wasencountering his own distant cousins. Some conservatives justify the Europeans’ taking of Native American lands by claiming that the original occupants were merely colonists too.
First Americans Timeline/Summary• OLD ASSUMPTIONS • WHAT NEW DNA BASED ON EVIDENCE ADDS TO ARCHAEOLOGICAL THE STORY: EVIDENCE: – Paleo-Indians (a.k.a. – Paleo-Indians probably Groups A, C, & D) must have left Northeast Asia as arrived c. 14,000 y.a. & early as 20,000 to 30,000 developed Clovis points by y.a. 13,500 y.a. – Na-Dene People – Na-Dene People arrived (a.k.a. Group B) arrived as 10,000-11,000 y.a. early as c. 15,000 y.a. – Inuits arrived 5,000-7,000 – European genetic y.a. markers (Group X) were also present in prehistoric Americans’ gene pool. How was this possible?
Atlantic Coastal Route? The Atlantic Ocean was about 400 ft. lower & the Arctic ice sheets extended further south prior to the end of the last ice age. If Stone Age Europeans crossed the Atlantic and came to theAmericas, the group most likely to have pulled off such a feat was the Solutreans of southern France & northern Spain, innovators of cave art & their own distinctive stone spear point.
Solutrean Cave Paintings ? ? ? ? One problem with the Atlantic Crossing theory is explaining why no Solutrean cave art exists in theSolutrean Americas. Why would they bringStone their spearpoint technology but notSpear point their art?
Atlantic Coastal Route? (Route 3) The Solutrean Theory could explain why the distributionof Clovis points does not follow a north-to-south pattern, and more Clovis sites are found on the East Coast than any other part of the USA.
Clovis & Solutrean Solutrean ClovisDifferent shapes, but similar technology. Might Solutrean points have been the predecessors of Clovis points?
Some archaeologists are convinced that this stone tool found at Cactus Hill, VA (center),represents the “missing link” between Solutrean 24 & Clovis technologies.
OR…. Maybe the Clovis point was not based on any pre-existing technology. Maybe the Clovis point is the first great American invention.
Kennewick Man – 9500 yrs. old The oldest, most complete skeleton ever found in N. America was discovered in 1996 & quickly became the focus of disputes concerning his racial identity & which contemporary ethnic group should havecustody of his remains. Scientists eventually convinced a judge that KMwas old enough to be related to us all & should be studied for the benefit of everyone.
The legal battle pitted scientists against Native American tribes, with the former prevailing. Afterone anthropologist remarked on what he interpreted as KM’s “European features,” white supremacists came out of the woodwork trying to claim KM as their ancestor.
DNA analysis has since shown that Kennewick man shares the closest genetic similarities with thecontemporary Ainu people, who live in the northernmost Japanese Islandsand are well-known for their hirsutecharacteristics (i.e., their ‘hairiness’).
Today there are individuals whose classification into a single so-called ‘racial’ category is problematic because of their multi- ethnicity. That being the case: How then is it possible to apply our contemporary racial classifications to individuals such as Kennewick Man, who lived thousands of years ago and are therefore related toPresident us all? The answer is: WeObama can’t.
Computer-generated, Multiethnic-Composite Woman, Time, 1993 Tiger Woods Vin Actor Diesel“The USA is a cross-breeding integrationof humans from allthe nations of theplanet Earth….. The North Americans [includingCanadians and Mexicans] are evolutionarilycross-breeding into a single hybrid family ofworld humans.”—Buckminster Fuller, 1981 News Soledad Anchor O’Brien
Part Four:Early Native Cultures of North America 32
Native Americans developed maize (corn) from a wild grass, selectively cultivating its special characteristics over thousands of years.Beginning about 7000 yrs. ago, maize (corn), beans,squash, and chilies revolutionized N. Americanagriculture and led to more settled existences for someNative American peoples.
Native American agriculture was superior to that of Corn Europeans, Beans which meant more people were freed from the land to live in Squash cities. A number of impressive civilizations had risen and fallen in theAmericas prior to the arrivalof Europeans.
The Classic Maya (600-800 CE)The Maya were thecultural innovatorsof Mesoamerica,developing the mostimpressive literature,mathematics, & artin the New World. Southern Mexico and Central America
The Mississippian (850-1250 CE)Pyramid mounds were the chief characteristic of Mississippian culture. Most mounds did not containburials but were used instead to denote the status of important residents & for ceremonial purposes. Monks Mound (Cahokia, IL) extends over an area larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt.
Cahokia was the center of a vastriverine trading network.Artifacts such as turquoise &copper, which could onlyhave come fromhundreds of milesaway, have beenfound there.
The Anasazi, (900-1350 CE) In the American Southwest, the Anasazi managed for a time to successfully irrigate & farm the challenging desert environment. They also engaged in extensive road construction & turquoise mining/trading. A combination of climate change, environmental collapse, & hostile invaders most likely explains the abandonment of their early population centers. TheirPueblo descendants were the cliff- dwelling Native AmericansBonito encountered by the Spanish,New who called them “Pueblo,”Mexico meaning “village.”
“The largest [planned village], at Pueblo Bonito, in Chaco Canyon, contained about 800 roomsand may have housed as many as 1200 persons. No larger apartment-house type constructionwould be seen on the continent until the late nineteenth century in NewYork City.” -- Gary Nash, Red, White & Black: The Peoplesof Early North America Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
Late-period Anasazi villages were frequently built on siteseasily defended against hostile northern invaders, such asthe ancestors of the Navajo. In fact, the word “Anasazi” isa Navajo term that means “ancestral enemies.” Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde, CO
Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, as it probably looked at the timethe Spanish arrived in the fall of 1519.
At least 20-25 million people (& perhaps significantly more) were living in N. America at the time of European contact. Each native group had developed a “500 distinct cultureNations” because of specific adaptations made to their local environments.