Back in April I posted about the fossil remains of Luzia Woman found in Brazil. Most anthropologists, including myself, believe she was a Paleo-Indian who may well have been part of the first wave of migrants into South America. The fossil remains have been dated at about 11.5 kya and in terms of all things anthropological that’s not that long ago. In fact, it was towards the end of the last glaciation. You can find my original post at the link below. Continue Reading
There now comes a highly disturbing report out of the Javari Valley near the Peruvian border in Brazil. That valley is the second largest indigenous reserve in Brazil and tribes in that area are sometimes referred to as “lost tribes.” Reports indicate that gold miners slaughtered and chopped up some of the indigenous people recently and threw their mutilated bodies into a river….not once….but TWICE! The reason? The miners want control of the land to get at the gold!!
Brazilian police are said to be investigating the claim that 10 tribesmen belonging to remote Amazonian people were hacked to death after a complaint was filed with Brazilian prosecutors following an incident in which some of the miners involved in the slaughter bragged about the killings during a drinking bout in a local bar. But this is not the first such incident! Since the beginning of 2017 more than 50 tribesmen have been killed in Brazil in the first six months! Their lands are known to be rich in gold deposits and the miners want it at ANY cost, apparently.
In the bar the miners were showing off a hand-carved paddle that they claimed they took from one of the tribes. The talk in the bar was apparently cruel and laced with all sorts of nasty and prejudice language. And, the killer miners even bragged about cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the river! In a futile effort to attempt to justify their slaughter the miners told bar patrons that they “had to kill them or be killed.” Apparently, the killings happened just last month. Prosecutor Pablo Luz de Beltrand is heading the investigation. He told reporters that this is the second such investigation he’s led this year. The first centered around several killings of tribesmen in the same area back in February.
The populations of these remote tribes are very small to begin with and “Survival International” which is an indigenous rights group says the killings may have eliminated a significant number of the small populations. In 2016 there were 61 KNOWN killings of tribesmen and as of the end of July of this year there have been at least 50 killings. Continue Reading
There have been several discoveries over the past few years that are changing what we think about how and when the Americans were populated by modern humans and now comes yet MORE evidence that modern humans were in Brazil about 23 kya (thousand years ago). These new discoveries are proving our textbooks WRONG and frankly that is a breath of fresh air!!
A recent article in the journal “Antiquity” suggests that prehistoric modern humans were hunting giant ground sloths in eastern Brazil 23 kya. A large number of stone artifacts and bones were found at a rock shelter at Santa Elina between 1954-2004 and reanalysis now suggests small, bony sloth skin plates were notched and perforated and made into ornaments by modern humans living in the area. Remains of fire hearths were also found in the sediment layers. Dating suggests humans were living in the area at least 20 kya and the dates also suggest that humans were living again in the area between 10,000 and 2000 years ago. Continue Reading
This story begins with the arrival of the Spanish Conquistador Juan de Onate in what is today the State of New Mexico back in 1598. This was the first arrival of Spanish colonizers into New Mexico. After several delays Juan de Onate finally set out for the region from Mexico City with 127 Spanish soldiers, families, and servants in January of that year. Part of this company of soldiers and settlers included two young men by the name of Vicente and Juan de Zaldivar. Along the trek Onate frequently sent these two men out as scouts to find the Rio Grande River and lead the settlers safely across the barren desert. Finding the Rio Grande they followed it up to the Robledo Mountains near what is today Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It was at this point that Onate decided to split the company up into two groups. One group included the Zaldivar brothers who were also nephews of Onate. This group was given the task of moving ahead of the other group so that they might make contact with and begin peaceful relations with the Pueblo Indians in the region. As this group of settlers moved northward they received mixed receptions from the Pueblo people. Some welcomed them. Others were suspicious of them. A few were even outright hostile to their arrival. At Socorro gifts were cautiously exchanged between the settlers and the Pueblos who were both suspicious of each other. At some locations the Pueblo ran away as the Spanish approached obviously not wanting any contact with them.
The second group of settlers was led by Onate. They moved towards the San Juan Pueblo in northern New Mexico. A little place not that far from this pueblo was called “Ohke” and Onate chose this place as the first Spanish settlement in New Mexico. The Spanish settle in and Onate began touring the surrounding Pueblos, collecting ore samples along the way, of course. Afterall, the Spanish were most interested in gold and silver more than anything else. Meanwhile the Zaldivar brothers reached Ohke about a month later with the rest of the settlers and within weeks the Spanish built a church at this site in honor of San Juan Bautista. Continue Reading
It must have been a couple decades back. I was at a small party in Forth Defiance. Those attending included a number of officials in the Navajo tribal government. Fort Defiance serves as kind of a bedroom community for the capital of the Navajo Nation, so this was hardly unexpected. What none of us expected that evening was a quick lesson that began when our host asked if anyone knew the name of the main street going through the town? No-one did. As it happens, the name was Kit Carson Drive.
Apparently, it still is.
To say that most of the party-goers found this shocking is putting it mildly. It may not be obvious to some of my readers why a room full of Navajos would object to a street named after Kit Carson, but even the most cursory knowledge of their history would make this pretty well obvious. The…
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We were unable to explore the tunnels under Casa Malpais and one person even informed us that there are no tunnels and the whole thing is a “myth.” So I guess the archaeologists who found and explored the catacombs lied? I don’t think they did frankly but I think that the person that told us it was all a myth wanted to keep us out of there for whatever reason. So we went on to explore some other things in the area.
One thing we explored was an old wagon road that ran from Holbrook, Arizona to Ft. Apache in the White Mountains. This road was used to haul freight and passengers from Holbrook to the Fort and it was also used by the US Cavalry. The road runs from Holbrook to Shumway then up through the east side of Show Low and on to Ft Apache. In some places you can see ruts in the rocks from the wagon wheels and in other places the road has been turned into a modern dirt road. Many people who have explored the route have found artifacts from the US Cavalry soldiers such as uniform buttons, a few medals/insignia, etc. Continue Reading
“The code, published here on 3 March , asks researchers to treat the San respectfully and refrain from publishing information that could be viewed as insulting. Because such sensitivities may not be clear to researchers, the code asks that scientists let communities read and comment on findings before they are published. It also asks that researchers keep their promises and give something back to the community in return for its cooperation.”
The above statement comes from a draft on a Code of Ethics regarding study of the San People but it reflects many of the same sentiments from other indigenous people from all over the world. The preamble to that proposed code states:
“We have encountered lack of respect in many instances in the past. In Genomics research, our leaders were avoided, and respect was not shown to them. Researchers took photographs of individuals in their homes, of breastfeeding mothers, or of underage children, whilst ignoring our social customs and norms. Bribes or other advantages were offered.”
This has been an ongoing problem for native people for decades now. Sadly, many researchers have shown a gross lack of respect for native people in their study of them. They’ve often times treated native people not as people at all but as genie pigs! They have come to conclusions in their studies that directly OPPOSE native conclusions and, sometimes, these research conclusions are absolutely OFFENSIVE WITHOUT QUESTION! Continue Reading