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  • The Cherokees’ Mediterranean Origins!? August 8, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite , trackback


    Bizarrists must always be thankful for the Atlantic Ocean, because it has offered us some of the craziest history theories of the last two hundred years. Welsh Indians in Florida, Indians in Ireland, Gaels in Newfoundland, Vikings everywhere, the Chinese in New England building lighthouses, Babylonians in California,  Atlantis in Bolivia… Most of this is extraordinarily suspect, of course: there is a case to be made for very infrequent accidental communication between the hemispheres but not this concourse of different cultures jumping on every boat setting off from Cape Cod or Donegal. However, the theories are always colourful and enjoyable and should be celebrated within limits. The latest to float up are the claims of one Dr Donald Panther-Yates an American of Cherokee descent who is presently making a name for himself by claiming unexpected origins for his people: Beach is using here the useful summary of his work put up by Epoch Times. DPY is convinced that the Cherokee were originally Jewish: is this to be linked with the extremely dodgy archaeology behind the discovery of a Roman Jewish community in early medieval (on European time) Tucson Arizona? (another post, another day) Let’s hope not for DPY’s sake.

    DPY points to genetic parallels, linguistic parallels and customs that the two peoples held in common. First, language. There is a long tradition of taking an Indian language and noting similar words in other languages proving, for example, that the Mandans were Welsh. The method is a simple one. You take two unrelated languages and lie them side by side and you will very soon be able to pick out parallels: some by chance, we are talking of thousands of words, and some by the ancient unity of all (or almost all?) human language. So when DPY notes that the Hawaiian word for leisure and ease is karioi, the same word as Greek for entertainment it does not mean that Pericles reached the Pacific; in fact, Beach is not sure how we got to Hawaii at all. Ditto the Cherokee coming from a land called Atia: Attica, of course, but by what stretch of the imagination were the Athenians Jewish? And why are we talking about Greek when the Cherokees were originally one of the lost tribes of Israel? Quite simply because the East Med was Greek speaking in Roman times, and quite possibly more Jews spoke Greek than Hebrew: one of the reasons the New Testament was written in Demotic Greek. But it also means you get still more languages to play around with and DPY throws Egyptian into the mix because the Cherokee god called Maui sounds like the Egyptian word for ‘admiral’…

    As to genetics Beach has taken counsel with a long-time friend of this blog Stephen D. Stephen deals, first, with a supposed overlap between western Eurasian and Amerindian DNA: ‘that mitochondrial haplogroup X turns up at a low level in Amerindians and western Eurasians is well established. Unfortunately, the Amerindians have subclasses X2a and X2g, Eurasians have X1, X2b, X2c, X2e (X2d turned out to be an artefact), X2f, X2h. The only overlap is that X2a also turns up in the Altai [mountains in central Asia]. Likely explanation: east Asia has some western Eurasian elements from way back, and some of these went into N America but later were lost in east Asia. Parallel here with the Yenisei languages, found along the Siberian river of that name, related to the Na-Dene languages of N America but absent in the intervening regions of Asia.’ A second plank of DPY’s argument is that the presence of hapolgroup T among some Indians is interesting for ‘its relative absence in Mongolia and Siberia and a recently proven center of diffusion in Lebanon and Israel.’ Stephen is not intimidated by this. ‘as for haplogroup T, well it’s most common in the Baltic regions but found all over Europe. There is a very obvious explanation as to how it came to be in some Amerindian tribes post-Columbus.’ I.e. there was immediate genetic ‘contamination’ between the newly arrived Old Worlders and the native populations.

    Any other thoughts on the Cherokee are Jewish theory and a prize to anyone who sets up an equally good theory demonstrating that they are Basque: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com