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Amerindians or North American Indians (politically correct: "Native Americans", sometimes synonymous with Amerindoids, having been placed into their own group of genetic distinction) are a major race of the Americas.

Tree diagram showing genetic relations between different Amerindian populations according to a 2007 study. The tree diagram also shows that populations with similar genetics tend to have similar languages.[1]


Replacement of one Amerindian group (Dorset) by another (Thule)
"In August 1874 the family reached Ellis City, where they were advised to take the stage route up the Smoky Hill River to Fort Wallace, since water was more readily available that way. On September 10 the Germans camped on the trail a day's journey from the fort. The next morning as they were breaking camp they were attacked by a war party of Cheyennes led by Chief Medicine Water. John and Lydia German, their son Stephen, and daughters Rebecca Jane and Joanna were killed and scalped. The Indians then took any goods they deemed usable and set the wagon afire. Captured and eventually taken into the Texas Panhandle were Catherine, age seventeen; Sophia, twelve; Julia, seven; and Addie, five. The Germans were victims of the Cheyennes' retaliation for their losses at the second battle of Adobe Walls on June 27. After a scouting party from Fort Wallace came upon the scene of the massacre a few days later, the military campaigns against hostile Indians in the Panhandle were intensified. In the meantime, the German girls were subjected to exposure, malnutrition, and occasional maltreatment as their captors traveled southward. Catherine, in particular, recalled instances of gang rape by young "dog soldiers" and indignities at the hands of Cheyenne women [...] Catherine and Sophia were subsequently reunited with Julia and Addie at Fort Leavenworth, and Col. Miles was designated their guardian. Congress set aside $10,000 from Cheyenne annuities as an endowment for the girls' support and education. On reaching the age of twenty-one, each sister received $2,500. Reared by Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Corney in Kansas, all four girls eventually married and settled in Kansas, Colorado, and California."[2]
In June 1865, the Comanches abducted German Texan Rudolph Fischer (1852–1941), son of Gottlieb Fischer. His parents immigrated from the Prussian Empire in July 1851 to settle Fredericksburg, in Gillespie County, Texas. Along with Adolph Korn and Herman Lehmann, he belongs to the most well-known child abductees.

During the Age of Discovery, the European discoverers wrongly called the inhabitants Indians, since they believed that they had reached India. "Native Americans" was a term first used by supporters of nativism. One example was the Native American Party. In the 1960s, leftists and then US government started using the term as referring to Amerindians. This usage is etymologically problematic, since the word "natives" etymologically refers to everyone born in a particular place.


The genetic distances between the American Indians and the three major races of man, Caucasoids, Negroids and Mongoloids, were determined by using gene frequency data on 14 blood group and 12 protein loci. The results support the general view that the ancestry of the American Indian is predominantly Mongoloid. Using 30,000 years as the separation time between the American Indian and Mongoloid, the divergence time between the three major races of man was estimated to be 33,000-92,000 years.[3]

Immanuel Kant also included the Americans Indians, as "Second race", in his four major races:

First race: Noble blond (northern Europe) from humid cold
Second race: Copper red (America) from dry cold
Third race: Black (Senegambia) from humid heat
Fourth race: Olive-yellow (Asian-Indians) from dry heat[4]

Origins and other possible early settlers of or journeys to the Americas

The current Amerindians originally originated from groups who emigrated from Siberia to the American Continent. In addition, there have been various theories of other emigrations or journeys to the Americas, before the Vikings (around 1000 AD) and later Christopher Columbus (in 1492).[5] There were several different waves of emigration from Asia. For example, the ancestors of the Inuit, the Thule people, arrived around 1000 AD and replaced earlier Amerindian settlers (see below). Many of those who today identify as Amerindians have some degree of admixture with other groups.

Solutrean hypothesis

The Solutrean hypothesis argues that Europeans were the first or among the first settlers. They are argued to have journeyed across the Atlantic, along the edge of the pack ice that extended from Europe to North America during the last Ice Age.

Australoid hypothesis

Recent studies have found a small Australoid admixture in some Amerindians. Such admixture may have occurred in Asia or after Amerindians had entered the Americas. However, another possibility is that Australoids were the first settlers of the Americas.[6][7][8][9] A 2010 article stated that

"In total, there are now hundreds of skeletons with the cranial morphology similar to Australian Aborigines, found in seven sites–as far north as Florida in the United States to Palli Aike in southern Chile. [...] showed that it was not possible for the Aborigine-like skeletons to be the direct ancestors of the Native Americans. Nor was it possible for the two populations to share a last common ancestor at the time of the first entrance into the continent, they argued, based on the 57 cranial measurements that can be made on a skull."[10]

Archaic humans groups

In 2017, evidence was stated to support the presence of (archaic) humans in the Americas 130,000 years ago, over 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.[11]

Other theories

"Even restricting ourselves to just North America, the list of such claims is long—though evidence is short—and includes: Celtic kingdoms in the northeastern United States thousands of years ago (Fell 1976); Coptic Christian settlements in ancient Michigan (based on the so-called Michigan Relics) (Halsey 2009); Roman Jews in Arizona (the Tucson Artifacts) (Burgess 2009); the Lost Tribes of Israel in Ohio (the Newark Holy Stones) (Lepper and Gill 2000); and strange mixtures of various ancient Old World peoples secreted in hideouts in the Grand Canyon in Arizona (“Explorations in Grand Canyon” 1909) and in a cave in southeastern Illinois (Burrows Cave) (Joltes 2003). These claims are predicated essentially on the same notion: ancient Europeans, Africans, or Asians came to the Americas long before Columbus and long—perhaps thousands of years—before the Norse".[12]

Political implications

Non-Amerindian "first settler" theories have been seen as having political implications, with some Amerindian tribes fearing that theories that the continent's first settlers were not the ancestors of the current Amerindians might cast doubt on their origin stories and claims to rights.

Claims of European Genocide

While the Amerindian population was greatly reduced in connection with the European contact, this was overwhelmingly the result of new diseases from the Old World, such as smallpox and other diseases that included measles, influenza, whooping cough, diphtheria, typhus, bubonic plague, cholera, and scarlet fever.[13] The Amerindians had not developed genetic resistances to these for the Amerindians new diseases, which caused these diseases to be extremely deadly for the Amerindians, before such resistances evolved through natural selection. The Old World was also affected by diseases from the New World such as syphilis. Tuberculosis has recently been argued to have reached the Americans before Christopher Columbus by being spread by seals.[14] Similarly,

"The disease that crippled Mexico may have been native to Central America. The invaders were equally affected and could not recognise the symptoms. The Aztecs did and they had given it a name long before the Spanish arrived because it had already dramatically reduced their numbers. They called it Cocoliztli and biologists today identify it as a form of Ebola spread by rats."[15]

There have been claims that Europeans deliberately spread smallpox by using contaminated blankets. A prominent supporter of this was Ward Churchill, former professor of ethnic studies, who was fired in 2007 after an investigation concluded that he had engaged in research misconduct. Genocide of the Indians was never the policy of the US army or government. After independence, it was American policy, starting in 1801 by order of President Jefferson, to vaccinate Indians against smallpox.[13]

"There is a small academic industry devoted to inflating the population estimates of Pre-Columbian America. If evidence can be found that tens of millions of healthy, happy Indians were living on the continent before the white man arrived, then the reduction of their numbers through warfare and disease can be made to seem all the more heinous. The High Counters, as Mr. Henige calls them, pore over ancient accounts, pick the most exaggerated population estimates they can find, and solemnly pass them along as wholly credible. [...] If, by whatever means, the High Counters can gin up enough pre-Columbian Indians, they can then trot out the great, anti-white totem word, “genocide,” when they talk about the legacy of Columbus."[16]

See also the "External links" section on various criticisms of the allegations of a genocide by Europeans.

Indian captivity

Dozens of children on the southern Plains were captured by Comanches, Apaches or Kiowas during the 19th century. But the strange American phenomenon known as "Indian captivity" was not limited to the Plains. It occurred throughout North America, and the experience was remarkably similar in every area. Though terrifying at first and filled with hardship, captivity gave immigrants to the New World a deeper understanding of the continent's native cultures. In colonial days, the practice gave rise to one of the earliest forms of American literature, the captivity narrative. [...] Now and then, the raiders took captives in addition to horses. Most were settlers' children, although the Indians sometimes carried off adult women as well. (Men were almost always killed if they got in the way or put up a fight.) [...] The harrowing getaway ride following a kidnapping usually lasted from seven to 10 days. Raiding parties would take their captives into Indian Territory, the Texas Panhandle or eastern New Mexico-places where there were few permanent settlements. Attempted rescues were hardly ever successful. The Indians usually had too great a head start and knew the wilderness routes well. [...] Most kidnapped children were between the ages of 7 and 14. Younger children were too much trouble to care for during the getaway ride. Older children were considered unlikely to adapt and would usually try to escape. The Indian raiders seemed more interested in taking boys than girls, which suggests their immediate need for new fighting men. Captured boys could serve that purpose within a few months. By the early 1870s, the Comanches were training their own sons as young as 12 to be warriors. [...] The adopted children became converts to the ways of the native people, usually within a year or less. [...] Some captives even came to idealize their captors' culture and despise their own. Herman Lehmann, who spent six years [8 years] with the Apaches, said, "I did not want to leave them, for I had learned to hate my own people."[17]

Historical Amerindian warfare and violence

A 2011 article in History Today stated on the Aztec Empire that

"Defeated soldiers were not killed on the battlefield, but captured and returned to Tenochtitlan for sacrifice. The Aztec rulers were convinced that the end of the world was nigh and butchered thousands to appease the gods. This was a culture obsessed with death: they believed that human sacrifice was the highest form of karmic healing. When the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan was consecrated in 1487 the Aztecs recorded that 84,000 people were slaughtered in four days. Self-sacrifice was common and individuals would pierce their ears, tongues and genitals to nourish the floors of temples with their blood."[15] A 2005 article stated that
"In recent years archeologists have uncovered mounting physical evidence that corroborates the Spanish accounts in substance, if not number. Using high-tech forensic tools, archeologists are proving that pre-Hispanic sacrifices often involved children and a broad array of intentionally brutal killing methods. [...] Indian pictorial texts known as "codices," as well as Spanish accounts of the time, quote Indians as describing multiple forms of brutal human sacrifice. Victims had their hearts cut out or were decapitated, shot full of arrows, clawed, sliced, stoned, crushed, skinned, buried alive or tossed from the tops of temples. Children were said to be frequent victims, in part because they were considered pure and unspoiled. [...] a pictorial account painted between 1600 and 1650 that includes human body parts stuffed into cooking dishes, and people sitting around eating, as the god of death looks on. [...] in carvings and mural paintings, he said, "we have now found more and greater similarities between the Aztecs and Mayas," including a Maya ceremony in which a costumed priest is shown pulling the entrails from a bound and apparently living sacrificial victim. [...] It's now a question of quantity," said Lopez Lujan, who thinks the Spaniards -- and Indian picture-book scribes working under their control -- exaggerated the number of sacrifice victims."[18] A 2018 article stated that
"More than 140 children and 200 young llamas appear to have been ritually sacrificed in an event [...] While incidents of human sacrifice among the Aztec, Maya, and Inca have been recorded in colonial-era Spanish chronicles and documented in modern scientific excavations, the discovery of a large-scale child sacrifice event in the little-known pre-Columbian Chimú civilization is unprecedented [...] their chests were cut open, most likely to remove their hearts. [...] suggests that societies along the northern Peruvian coast may have turned to the sacrifice of children when the sacrifice of adults wasn’t enough to fend off the repeated disruptions wrought by El Niño. [...] the research team has discovered archaeological evidence around Huanchaco for similar, contemporaneous mass child-llama sacrifice sites [...] “This just may be the tip of the iceberg.”"[19]

While the human sacrifices of Amerindians among the Mesoamerican societies are somewhat known to the general public, the media typically gives an idealized image of the ones north of this as being peaceful, before being attacked by Europeans, essentially hippies. However, northern Amerindians engaged in extensive warfare and ritual violence long before the European contact.[20] A 2004 article stated that

"The torture of prisoners was indeed routine practice for most Indian tribes, and was deeply ingrained in Indian culture. Valuing bravery above all things, the Indians had little sympathy for those who surrendered or were captured. Prisoners unable to withstand the rigor of wilderness travel were usually killed on the spot. Among those—Indian or European—taken back to the village, some would be adopted to replace slain warriors, the rest subjected to a ritual of torture designed to humiliate them and exact atonement for the tribe's losses. Afterward the Indians often consumed the body or parts of it in a ceremonial meal, and proudly displayed scalps and fingers as trophies of victory."[13]

A possible genocide of an Amerindian group by another Amerindian group was the disappearance of the Dorset people who lived in Canada. As the Thule people, the ancestors of the Inuit, immigrated into the area, the Dorset quickly disappeared. The Dorset people are now extinct, with no descendants.[21]

The Comanche tribe, for example, committed many atrocities. The last Comanche tribal commander was born to an abducted white girl after her family was murdered.[22][23] The American Declaration of Independence states in one of the reasons provided for independence:

"He [the King] has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."

Amerindian scalping had a double purpose: the mutilation would cause harm to the defeated enemy in the after-life, and battle trophies were proof of work well done.[24] In the United States during the nineteenth century, positive views of Amerindians as "noble savages" have been argued to have been directly proportional to one’s geographic distance from them. A seldom mentioned aspect of some widely publicized mass killings of Amerindians is that White participants included individuals who previously had had their families and friends raped, tortured, and killed by Amerindians.[24][25]


The Amerindians are often depicted as having possessed a profound spiritual kinship with as well as living in harmony with nature. This has been argued to be partially based on fabrications and the real record on the environment has been argued to be mixed.[26]

"Prior to its settlement by human beings, the Western Hemisphere had been the home of many species of large mammals. However, within a few thousand years of the arrival of humans many of these species (indeed, 32 entire genera) became extinct. Among the animals wiped out were the mammoths, mastodons, giant sloths, lions, saber-toothed tigers, and (most importantly) horses and camels. It seems likely that these animals, which had no previous experience of human beings, were all hunted to extinction in a relatively brief interval after the Paleo-Indians entered their territory. As a result, when farming arose in the Western Hemisphere (a few thousand years later), none of those animals was available for domestication."[5]
"Several cultures of the New World underwent a rapid, severe decline, and in some cases we cannot trace this to external conquest. It has been conjectured that in some of these cases, the cities may have exhausted the resources of the region they were in. This suggests that the American Indians did not, in fact, understand that they needed to preserve their environment. The myth of the "noble savage" living in perfect harmony with his environment has its origin in wishful thinking, not history."[5]

The Invented Indian

The book The Invented Indian criticized a wide range of politically correct views and activities involving Amerindians. One myth is that the Amerindians originally lived in idyllically egalitarian and even “non-sexist” societies. This was criticized as incorrect, since all tribal societies had well-defined and very politically incorrect sex roles. As for egalitarianism, the book argued that it is difficult for bare subsistence-level hunters and gatherers to have anything else, but as soon as some material surplus appeared, there were inequalities. The book wrote about the Tutchone of the southern Yukon, who lived on extremely harsh lands. Nevertheless, their society was divided into hereditary classes of rich, poor, and slaves.[16]

Another criticism was of a large range of current official policies involving Amerindians in the North America. One is that various official bureaucracies involving Amerindians have long practiced race-based hiring and promotion. Although Indians are only 1/2 percent of the US population, they held 75 percent of the jobs at Bureau of Indian Affairs. Amerindian tribal leaders were described as often indistinguishable from Indian-affairs official bureaucrats. This caused various possible conflicts of interests.[16]

When Amerindians are off the reservation, they have all the usual legal rights, in addition to affirmative action preferences. On the reservation, they are exempted from many taxes and laws, and entitled to a wide array of Indians-only health and welfare benefits.[16]

The book, among many other topics, also criticized political correctness among of historians and ethnographers, who fear stating anything negative about Amerindian history, despite there being well documented practices such as cannibalism, infanticide, ritual torture, geronticide, slaughter of prisoners, slavery, and the like.[16]


Amerindians reservations in the United States also have the privilege of potentially very large incomes from legal casinos, even if casinos are otherwise not legal in the state. The casinos are not taxed and therefore able to undercut the legal competition, if any, from outside the reservation. The actual operation of the casinos may be done by non-Amerindian gambling companies.[27]

See also

Specific races
Ancient Egyptians
East Asians
Han Chinese
Sub-Saharan Africans

Further reading

  • Eastman, Edwin (edited by Johnson, Clark), Seven and Nine Years among the Camanches and Apaches: An Autobiography, Jersey City 1874
  • Biesele, Rudolph Leopold, The History of the German Settlements in Texas: 1831–1861. 1930, 1964. Reprint, San Marcos: German-Texan Heritage Society, 1987.
  • Zesch, Scott, The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier, St. Martin's Press (
    • On New Year's Day in 1870, ten-year-old Adolph Korn was kidnapped by an Apache raiding party. Traded to Comaches, he thrived in the rough, nomadic existence, quickly becoming one of the tribe's fiercest warriors. Forcibly returned to his parents after three years, Korn never adjusted to life in white society. He spent his last years in a cave, all but forgotten by his family. That is, until Scott Zesch, who graduated from Texas A&M University and Harvard Law School, stumbled over his own great-great-great uncle's grave. Determined to understand how such a "good boy" could have become Indianized so completely, Zesch travels across the west, digging through archives, speaking with Comanche elders, and tracking eight other child captives from the region with hauntingly similar experiences. He is also author of Strangers in Two Worlds.

External links

Claimed genocide of Amerindians

Article archives


  1. Wang S, Lewis CM Jr, Jakobsson M, Ramachandran S, Ray N, et al. (2007) Genetic Variation and Population Structure in Native Americans. PLoS Genet 3(11): e185. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030185
  2. German Sisters
  3. Genetic distance between the American Indians and the three major races of man
  4. Kant on the different human races (1777) (archive)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Hart, M. H. (2007). Understanding human history: An analysis including the effects of geography and differential evolution. Washington Summit Publishers.
  6. ‘Ghost population’ hints at long-lost migration to the Americas
  7. First* Peoples.
  8. Guess who first came to America?
  9. The first people who populated the Americas
  10. Did Australian Aborigines Reach America First?
  11. Controversial study claims humans reached Americas 100,000 years earlier than thought
  12. Civilizations Lost and Found: Fabricating History - Part One: An Alternate Reality
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Were American Indians the Victims of Genocide?
  14. Seals helped Europeans wipe out Native Americans.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Two Cheers for the Conquistadors. History Today Volume 61 Issue 3 March 2011.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Noble Savagery
  17. Strangers in Two Worlds by Scott Zesch
  18. Brutality of Aztecs, Mayas Corroborated
  19. Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World’s Largest
  20. North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence Edited by Richard J. Chacon; Rubén G. Mendoza. 2007. The University of Arizona Press.
  21. New Study Offers Clues to Swift Arctic Extinction.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Ignoble Savages
  25. ‘The Merciless Indian Savages’
  26. Were American Indians really Environmentalists?
  27. Gentlemen, Place Your Bets