Genetic history of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas

According to an autosomal genetic study from 2012, Indigenous Americans descend from at least three main migrant waves from East Asia. Most of it is traced back to a single ancestral population, called ‘First Americans’. However, those who speak Inuit languages from the Arctic inherited almost half of their ancestry from a second East Asian migrant wave. And those who speak Na-Dene, on the other hand, inherited a tenth of their ancestry from a third migrant wave. The initial settling of the Americas was followed by a rapid expansion southwards along the west coast, with little gene flow later, especially in South America. One exception to this are the Chibcha speakers of Colombia, whose ancestry comes from both North and South America. A study published in the Nature journal in 2018 concluded that Indigenous Americans descended from a single founding population which initially divided from East Asians about ~36,000 BCE or around 38,000 years ago, with gene flow between Ancestral Indigenous Americans and Siberians persisting until ~25,000 BCE, before becoming isolated in the Americas at ~22,000 BCE or around 24,000 years ago. Northern and Southern American Indigenous sub-populations split from each other at ~17,500 BCE or around 19,500 years ago. There is also some evidence for a back-migration from the Americas into Siberia after ~11,500 BCE or around 13,500 years ago.” ref

“In 2014, the autosomal DNA of a 12,500+ year-old infant from Montana was sequenced. The DNA was taken from a skeleton referred to as Anzick-1, found in close association with several Clovis artifacts. Comparisons showed strong affinities with DNA from Siberian sites, and virtually ruled out that particular individual had any close affinity with European sources (the “Solutrean hypothesis“). The DNA also showed strong affinities with all existing Indigenous American populations, which indicated that all of them derive from an ancient population that lived in or near Siberia. Linguistic studies have reinforced genetic studies, with relationships between languages found among those spoken in Siberia and those spoken in the Americas. Two 2015 autosomal DNA genetic studies confirmed the Siberian origins of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. However, an ancient signal of shared ancestry with Australasians (Indigenous peoples of Australia, Melanesia and the Andaman Islands) was detected among the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon region. The migration coming out of Siberia would have happened 23,000 years ago.ref

“A 2018 study analyzed ancient Indigenous samples. The genetic evidence suggests that all Indigenous Americans ultimately descended from a founding population that combined East Asian and Ancient North Eurasian ancestry. The authors also provided evidence that the basal northern and southern Indigenous American branches, to which all other Indigenous peoples belong, diverged around 16,000 years ago. An Indigenous American sample from 16,000 BCE or around 18,000 years ago in Idaho, which is craniometrically similar to modern Indigenous Americans as well as Paleosiberians, was found to have been largely East-Eurasian genetically, and showed high affinity with contemporary East Asians, as well as Jōmon period samples of Japan, confirming that Ancestral Indigenous Americans split from an East-Eurasian source population somewhere in eastern Siberia.ref

“A review article published in the Nature journal in 2021, which summarized the results of previous genomic studies, similarly concluded that all Indigenous Americans descended from the movement of people from Northeast Asia into the Americas. These Ancestral Americans, once south of the continental ice sheets, spread and expanded rapidly, and branched into multiple groups, which later gave rise to the major subgroups of Indigenous American populations. The study also dismissed the existence, inferred from craniometric data, of a hypothetical distinct non-Indigenous American population (suggested to have been related to Indigenous Australians and Papuans), sometimes called “Paleoamerican”. Overall, the ‘Ancestral Native Americans’ formed from an ‘Ancient Paleo-Siberian‘ lineage which formed from the admixture between East Asian people and a distinct Paleolithic Siberian population known as Ancient North Eurasians, closer related to modern Europeans, giving rise to both Indigenous peoples of Siberia and Native Americans. Around 67% of the ancestry of Native Americans is derived from East Asian sources, while c. 33% is derived from an Ancient West Eurasian (Ancient North Eurasian-like) source.ref

“A “Central Siberian” origin has been postulated for the paternal lineage of the source populations of the original migration into the Americas. Membership in haplogroups Q and “C3b”  (now called Haplogroup C-M217, also known as C2 and previously as C3), is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. It is the most frequently occurring branch of the wider Haplogroup C (M130) implies Indigenous American patrilineal descent. The haplogroup C-M217 is now found at high frequencies among Central Asian peoples, indigenous Siberians, and some Native peoples of North America. In particular, males belonging to peoples such as the Buryats, EvensEvenksItelmensKalmyksKazakhsKoryaks, MongoliansNegidalsNivkhsUdege, and Ulchi have high levels of M217. According to Sakitani et al., haplogroup C-M130 originated in Central Asia and spread from there into other parts of Eurasia and into parts of Australia. It is suggested that C-M130 was found in Eastern Eurasian hunter gatherers as well as in ancient samples of East and Southeast Asia and Europe. Genetic testing also showed that the haplogroup C3b1a3a2-F8951 of the Aisin Gioro family came to southeastern Manchuria after migrating from their place of origin in the Amur river’s middle reaches, originating from ancestors related to Daurs in the Transbaikal area. The Tungusic-speaking peoples mostly have C3c-M48 as their subclade of C3 which drastically differs from the C3b1a3a2-F8951 haplogroup of the Aisin Gioro which originates from Mongolic speaking populations like the Daur. Jurchen (Manchus) are a Tungusic people. In an early study of Japanese Y-chromosomes, haplogroup C-M217 was found relatively frequently among Ainus (2/16=12.5% or 1/4=25%) and among Japanese of the Kyūshū region (8/104=7.7%). However, in other samples of Japanese, the frequency of haplogroup C-M217 was found to be only about one to three percent.” ref, ref

“More precisely, haplogroup C2-M217 is now divided into two primary subclades: C2a-L1373 (sometimes called the “northern branch” of C2-M217) and C2b-F1067 (sometimes called the “southern branch” of C2-M217). The oldest sample with C2-M217 is AR19K in the Amur River basin (19,587-19,175 years ago). The micro-satellite diversity and distribution of a Y lineage specific to South America suggest that certain Indigenous American populations became isolated after the initial colonization of their regions. The Na-Dene, Inuit, and Native Alaskan populations exhibit haplogroup Q (Y-DNA) mutations, but are distinct from other Indigenous Americans with various mtDNA and autosomal DNA (atDNA) mutations. This suggests that the earliest migrants into the northern extremes of North America and Greenland derived from later migrant populations.  C2a1-F3447 includes all extant Eurasian members of C2a-L1373, whereas C2a2-BY63635/MPB374 contains extant South American members of C2a-L1373 as well as ancient archaeological specimens from South America and Chertovy Vorota Cave in Primorsky Krai. Haplogroup C-M217 is the modal haplogroup among Mongolians and most indigenous populations of the Russian Far East, such as the Buryats, Northern Tungusic peoplesNivkhsKoryaks, and Itelmens. The subclade C-P39 is common among males of the indigenous North American peoples whose languages belong to the Na-Dené phylum.” ref

“Haplogroup C is found in ancient populations on every continent except Africa and is the predominant Y-DNA haplogroup among males belonging to many peoples indigenous to East Asia, Central Asia, Siberia, North America, and Australia as well as as some populations in Europe, the Levant, and later JapanAlso found with moderate to low frequency among many present-day populations of Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Southwest AsiaC2 (previously C3) M217 Typical of MongoliansKazakhsBuryatsDaursKalmyksHazarasAfghan Uzbeks, Evenks, Evens, Oroqen, Ulchi, Udegey, ManchusSibesNivkhsKoryaks, and Itelmens, with a moderate distribution among other Tungusic peoples, AinusKoreansHanVietnameseAltaiansTuviniansUyghursUzbeksKyrgyzesNogais, and Crimean Tatars. It is found in moderate to low frequencies among JapaneseTai peoples, North Caucasian peoples, AbaziniansAdygeiTabassaransKabardiansTajiksPashtuns, etc. C2b L1373* Ecuador (Bolívar Province),USA. C2b1a1a P39 Canada, USA (Found in several indigenous peoples of North America, including some Na-Dené-, Algonquian-, or Siouan-speaking populations). Males carrying C-M130 are believed to have emigrated to the Americas some 6,000-8,000 years ago, and was carried by Na-Dené-speaking peoples into the northwest Pacific coast of North America.” ref, ref


“Worldwide distribution of haplogroup Q-M242. The blue star is the original place of haplogroup Q-M242, around Central Asia and Siberia. The brown number one is Russian sample location in the Krasnoyarsk Region. The brown number two is Chinese sample location in Gansu province. The brown number three is Chinese sample location in Zhejiang province. The red arrows are the expansion routes of haplogroup Q-M242. The purple words show the locations of subclades of haplogroup Q used in this study.” ref

The human Y-chromosome has proven to be a powerful tool for tracing the paternal history of human populations and genealogical ancestors. The human Y-chromosome haplogroup Q is the most frequent haplogroup in the Americas. Previous studies have traced the origin of haplogroup Q to the region around Central Asia and Southern Siberia. Although the diversity of haplogroup Q in the Americas has been studied in detail, investigations on the diffusion of haplogroup Q in Eurasia and Africa are still limited. In this study, we collected 39 samples from China and Russia, investigated 432 samples from previous studies of haplogroup Q, and analyzed the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) subclades Q1a1a1-M120, Q1a2a1-L54, Q1a1b-M25, Q1a2-M346, Q1a2a1a2-L804, Q1a2b2-F1161, Q1b1a-M378, and Q1b1a1-L245. Through NETWORK and BATWING analyses, we found that the subclades of haplogroup Q continued to disperse from Central Asia and Southern Siberia during the past 10,000 years. Apart from its migration through the Beringia to the Americas, haplogroup Q also moved from Asia to the south and to the west during the Neolithic period, and subsequently to the whole of Eurasia and part of Africa.” ref

“The human Y-chromosome haplogroup Q (also named Q-M242 in accordance with its defining mutation) probably originated in Central Asia and Southern Siberia during the time period of 15,000–25,000 years ago, then subsequently diffused in the eastward, westward, and southward directions. Haplogroup Q has several subclades defined by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and it reaches its highest frequency of 70–100% in the AmericasAlthough the diversity of haplogroup Q in the Americas has been studied in detail, investigations on the diffusion of haplogroup Q in Eurasia and Africa are still limited. Consequently, we studied samples of haplogroup Q in Eurasia to explore how it expanded from Central Asia and Southern Siberia during the Neolithic period. The ancestors of present-day Native Americans migrated to the Americas from Siberia via the Beringia around 16,000 years ago. Q1a2a1-L54 and its subclade Q1a2a1a1-M3 are the two predominant subclades of haplogroup Q found on both sides of the Bering Strait. Q1a2a1-L54 has spread throughout Northern Asia, the Americas, and Western and Central Europe. An ancient individual of the Clovis culture belonged to Q1a2a1-L54 (xQ1a2a1a1-M3).” ref

“Q1a2a1a1-M3, one of the most thoroughly studied subclades within haplogroup Q, is frequent both in the Chukotka Pen
insula of Siberia (close to Alaska) and the Americas. Previous studies indicated that Q1a2a1a1-M3 migrated from Siberia to the Americas and partially returned to Siberia. The estimated time of Q1a2a1a1-M3 is 13,000-22,000 years agoQ1a2a1a1a-M19, a subclade of Q1a2a1a1-M3, remained in Southern America and has a similarly diversified pattern with its upstream lineage. The age of Q1a2a1a1a-M19 is approximately 7,000–8,000 years agoThe frequencies of haplogroup Q range from 0 to 94% in Eurasia. Haplogroup Q reaches its highest frequencies in Siberia, especially in Kets (90–94%) and Selkups (66–71%), and is rarely seen in Western, Southern and South-eastern Asia. Subclade Q1a1a1-M120 appears almost only in Eastern Asia, and its diversity implies that haplogroup Q has migrated from north to south with the ancestors of current Han Chinese during the Neolithic period.” ref
“Subclades Q1a1b-M25 and Q1a2-M346 have spread widely in Eurasia. Q1a1b-M25 reaches its highest frequency in Turkmen (34–43%) and shows low frequencies in other Eurasian populations, while Q1a2-M346 appears in Central, Western, and Southern Asia, and most parts of Europe. Haplogroup Q has also appeared in other parts of the
world. For instance, an ancient DNA study of a Saqqaq individual in Greenland suggests that haplogroup Q1a-MEH2
was frequent in Siberian and Native American populations. A few subclades of haplogroup Q have been identified in the Comoros population in Africa (Q1a2-M346) and the Polynesian islands in Oceania (Q1a2a1a1c-M199).” ref

Q Haplogroup South American settlement pre-18,000 years ago

“Increasing archaeological evidence proves the early human presence in the American continent. Recent archaeological excavations in the Chiquihuite cave in Northern Mexico demonstrate human occupation dating from ~26,500 years ago, and there is even earlier evidence in this country. This evidence joins several documented archaeological sites in Northeastern and Central Brazil that have yielded dates between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago for human occupation in this region. Reserchers estimated a temporal depth of 19,300 years ago (17,000–21,900 years ago) for Q-Z780 and Q-Z781. This temporal depth and the presence of these lineages in Mexico and Brazil are consistent with the dates estimated for the human presence from the archaeological sites mentioned in Mexico and in Northeastern and Central-Western Brazil. As seen in Fig 2, Q-Z781 could be found widely distributed among individuals from Mesoamerica and South America since 19,300 years ago (17,000–21,900 years ago). Furthermore, Q-Z781 seems to have undergone a characteristic regional differentiation from Q-Y2816 and Q-Z782 for individuals from Mexico (uncertain dates), Q-YP937 among individuals from Peru, Brazil, and Argentina since 18,700 years ago (16,500–21,200 years ago), and Q-GMP73 among individuals from the Central Andes and Central West of Argentina since 18,200 years ago (16,100–20,600 years ago). This study provides genetic evidence that supports an early human settlement for Mesoamerica and South America, before 18,000 years ago. Environmental alterations could potentially have affected human populations genomes at the time in a number of ways: the extinction of primary food sources could have drastically altered their diet, perhaps exposing them to new mutagens for which humans had not yet evolved to avoid or metabolize.” ref

Q-Z780 and Q-Z781 sub-lineages, autochthonous of the Americas, presented a wide distribution in Mesoamerica and South America since ~19,300 years ago. This contributed to a regional differentiation from Q-Y2816 and Q-Z782 for individuals from Mexico, Q-YP937 among individuals from Peru, Brazil, and Argentina since ~18,700 years, and Q-GMP73 among individuals from the Central Andes and Central West of Argentina since ~18,200 years ago. Moreover, it provided genetic support for South American settlement before 18,000 years ago, in agreement with a long chronology scenario and the dates of Meso- and South American archaeological sites. The Q-Z780 lineage, and perhaps Q-F4674, could have suffered a substantial drop due to the environmental events occurred during the YD, which could be the main reason for its current low frequency. For the Q-M848 lineage the YD environmental events could have acted as a driving force for its expansion and diversification, and while they could have also caused a substantial decrease, this lineage survived more successfully than Q-Z780.ref

“The upper and lower limits of all divergence times for Q-M848 sub-lineages cover the YD period or later. The spatial structure of the South American male population at ~12,300 years ago, and the archaeological intensity signal peak at ~12,500 years ago could represent those human groups that managed to survive the environmental events that occurred during the Younger Dryas period (~12,800 years ago), in full process of expansion and diversification. Understanding the relationship between the Eurasian and American Q-M242 lineages becomes more complex when population changes during the YD period are included. Since there was no population decline in the Middle East during the YD period but it rather served as a refuge for humans of the time, then, Q Haplogroup lineages prior to ~12,900 years ago (such as Q-L275) could have been preserved to a greater extent during the YD event in the Middle East region and after this disperse and differentiate until reaching the diversity that exists today for Q Haplogroup in Euro-Asia. However, Q Haplogroup Native American sub-lineages older than ~12,900 years ago would have suffered a drastic decline in the YD period, altering the ancient spatial structure (before 12,900 cal BP) of the human populations of the Americas and causing the extinction of lineages and loss of part of the gene pool. Further studies should include ancient Native American sub-lineages (before 12,900 years ago) in order to understand and estimate the origin of Q-M242.ref

Human Y chromosome sequences from Q Haplogroup reveal a South American settlement pre-18,000 years ago and a profound genomic impact during the Younger Dryas. Q-M848 is known to be the most frequent autochthonous sub-haplogroup of the Americas. The present is the first genomic study of Q Haplogroup in which current knowledge on Q-M848 sub-lineages is contrasted with the historical, archaeological, and linguistic data available. The divergence times, spatial structure, and the SNPs found here as novel for Q-Z780, a less frequent sub-haplogroup autochthonous of the Americas, provide genetic support for a South American settlement before 18,000 years ago. We analyzed how environmental events that occurred during the Younger Dryas period may have affected Native American lineages, and found that this event may have caused a substantial loss of lineages. This could explain the current low frequency of Q-Z780 (also perhaps of Q-F4674, a third possible sub-haplogroup autochthonous of the Americas). These environmental events could have acted as a driving force for the expansion and diversification of the Q-M848 sub-lineages, which show a spatial structure that developed during the Younger Dryas period.” ref

Q Haplogroup in the Y chromosome is the only Pan-American haplogroup and represents virtually all Native American lineages in Mesoamerica and South America. The autochthonous Q-M3 sub-haplogroup of Amerindians has been previously described at high frequency and with a star-shaped phylogenetic topology that has been interpreted as the initial colonization of South America with a rapid expansion ~15,000 years ago. Furthermore, it has been observed that Q-M848 sub-lineages (within Q-M3) present a spatial structure in South America that arose as early as ~12,300 years ago. Q-Z780 is another Native American autochthonous sub-haplogroup that occurs at low frequency and is still little studied from genomic data due to its low availability in sequence databases. A recent report using high coverage complete sequences has dated this lineage ~17,000 years ago, which was explained as a more complex settlement scenario in the Americas where the deep branches could reflect a separate out-of-Beringia dispersal after the melting of the glaciers at the end of the Pleistocene.ref

“Q-M346 was dated 25 years ago (22,000–28,300 years ago) in the present work, within the range previously reported in literature. It has been described in Eastern Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Southern Siberia, and in the Americas. The most prevalent Native American lineages, Q-Z780 and Q-M3, are derived from Q-M346Q-Z780 haplogroup is recognized as a Y chromosome founding lineage in the Americas at low frequency. It is widely distributed, with representatives from Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina in this study, but its presence has been also reported for Central America, Colombia, and Paraguay. Given its low frequency and scarce sequence availability in databases, little is known about its sub-lineages. According to the best known markers, it can be classified into Q-Z781 and Q-FGC47532, the latter characterizing the ancient Anzick-1 Y chromosome (with a 14C calibrated age of 12,600 years ago). Four new SNPs parallel to Q-Z780 not described in ISOGG were found; one of them was validated and named Q-GMP10 (see S2 and S4 Tables). Two samples incorporated in this study to Q-Z780 (Z8ZMY and S8BAL) allowed adjust its temporal depth, showing values of 19,300 years ago (17,000–21,900 years ago), older than those reported in the literature of 17,000 years ago (15,000–19,300 years ago).ref

“Q-Z781 is the most represented sub-lineage of Q-Z780. Given the similar number of Q-Z780 and Q-Z781 sequences, the dates found for both are equal, though older than those found by other authors with values of 16,000 years ago (14,100–18,100 years ago) for Q-Z781. However, older dates as 22,900 years ago (18,300–27,500 years ago) have been found from STRs for a great number of samples for this sub-lineage. Q-Z781 branches into Q-Y2816 and Q-YP937. Q-Y2816 is distributed mainly in individuals of Mexican origin, and also in an individual from the United States without a defined origin. We found 3 individuals of Mexican origin in this sub-lineage, 2 of which also share Q-Z782. Q-YP937 is characteristic of South America with a wide distribution from Peru and Argentina to Brazil. We found 3 new SNPs parallel to Q-YP937 (S2 Table). The dating for this sub-lineage is 18,700 years ago (16,500–21,200 years ago), which is older than that of 12,500 years ago (11,000–14,000 years ago) reported in literature. We found a new sub-lineage, not described in ISOGG, supported by 2 SNPs named Q-GMP73 and Q-GMP74 (see S6 Fig, S2 and S4 Tables) with a dating of 18,200 years ago (16,100–20,600 years ago). The phylogenetic association found for this new sub-lineage evidences a link between Andean individuals and Central-West Argentina with dates for which there are no archaeological records showing such temporal depth for human groups from this region. Further analysis of these findings is provided in the Hypothesis of the American Settlement section.ref

“Q-M3 haplogroup has been previously described as a founder lineage of the Y chromosome in the Americas and is the most frequent sub-lineage among present-day Native Americans. Although its presence has also been described for some populations from Siberia, it is not known whether these are remains of the founding lineage or evidence of regressive migrations from Beringia to East Asia. The dating found for this marker in the present work is 15,400 years ago (13,600–17,400 years ago), within the range previously reported in the literature. In recent decades, the internal resolution of Q-M3 has expanded and this lineage is now known to be subdivided into two branches, Q-M848 and Q-Y4308. Although Q-Y4308 is still underrepresented, it is widely distributed. Its presence has been reported for individuals from the United States in association with those who speak the Algonquian language, Eskimo peoples from the extreme Northeast of Asia, Mexican individuals, and a Tupi-Guarani individual from Southern Brazil reported in this work (S5 Fig), this latter in agreement with previously reported data. Q-M848 is the most represented sub-lineage of the Q Haplogroup in the Americas, and more frequent in South America than in North America. It has been previously described with a star-shaped topology where many short branches are connected in the same internal node (S5 Fig). Given the high Q-M848 and poor Q-Y4308 representativeness of the samples studied in this work, the datings for Q-M848 and Q-M3 show the same values, within ranges estimated in the literature. The fossil remains of Kennewick man, found on the banks of the Columbia River in the United States, belong to Q-M848 haplogroup and have been dated 8,300–9,200 years ago.ref

“The Q-MPB118 sub-lineage was found here defining the same Aranã samples from Southeast Brazil and Xavante from West Brazil (S6 Fig and S1 Table), in agreement with previous reports. For the moment, this lineage is restricted to Brazilian individuals. We found 6 new SNPs not validated, provided in this work as new information to this lineage (S2 Table). The dating found here for this node is 9,700 years ago (8,500–11,000 years ago) (S5 Table), similar to previously reported estimates. Since the aim of the present study is to reconstruct the history of the lineages belonging to Q-M848, in section 6 of S1 Text, we present further information for each of these sub-lineages regarding the history of their ethnic groups, linguistic family, and the region they inhabit or inhabited. Q-MPB118 supports a lineage ancestry shared between native Xavante and Aranã groups, both of the Macro-Jê linguistic trunk. Since its differentiation (~9,700 years ago), this lineage is present among human groups from Central-West and Southeast Brazil, although further study on its distribution is still necessary. For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-MPB118, see S4B Fig. Q-SK281 is currently presented as a restricted lineage for Peruvian individuals (S6 Fig), dated 12,600 years ago (12,100–13,100 years ago). This study provides 19 new SNPs for its sub-lineage defined by Q-Z35727 (S2 Table). For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-SK281, see S2C Fig.” ref

Uro samples from Peru and Pasto from Ecuador were found here supported by Q-MPB139 in agreement with previous reports. The dating found in the present study was 14,000 years ago (12,400–15,900 years ago), similar to the one previously reported. Q-MPB139 shows a shared lineage ancestry between the Uros of Peruvian Altiplano and the Pasto of the Ecuadorian Altiplano, evidencing a great temporal depth and vast movements of human groups between the Central and North Andean Areas, near 14,000 years ago (12,400–15,900 years ago). For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-MPB139, see S1A Fig. In this lineage the Uro individual is separated from other characteristic lineages of Peruvians and individuals of the Central Andes (such as: Q-SK281, Q-Z6658, Q-Y788, Q-Z5908, Q-Z35841, and Q-Z5906), providing genetic support to anthropological and linguistic hypotheses that consider the Uro ethnic group different from neighboring ethnic groups (such as Aymara and Quechua), with its own language, traditions, beliefs, and ways of hunting, fishing, gathering and farming. Previous studies carried out with Y chromosome microsatellites found that the Uros have exclusive lineages different from Aymara, Quechua, and Arawak haplotypes, whom they have been associated with in other studies. According to some researchers, the Uros were the first settlers of the Andean Altiplano; however, their origin is unknown and is currently subject of academic debate.ref

“So far, the Q-B43 sub-lineage has been described by other authors in Wichi individuals from Salta, Argentina, and in individuals from Paraguay and Brazil. The present study includes an individual from the Paresí community, from Mato Grosso, Brazil, obtained from the databases, as well as another individual from Salta, from our collection. The phylogenetic relationship found in this work for 3 individuals from East Salta, Argentina, was supported by Q-Z35505, parallel to Q-B43. Moreover, one of these samples from the East of Salta, from our collection, shares 26 SNPs with the individual from the Paresí community, out of which Q-Z35497 is also parallel to the 2 markers mentioned above. We contribute 5 new SNPs to this sub-lineage (S2 Table), 4 of them validated as Q-GMP26 to Q-GMP29 (S4 Table). We also found 50 new private SNPs for our Salta sample of this lineage (S2 Table), 4 of them validated as Q-GMP30 to Q-GMP33 (S4 Table). The dotted line in S5 Fig for this sub-lineage means that further studies are required for its better definition; here we have found some difficulties due to the large amount of missing data present in samples for which complete sequences are not available and are in VCF format (see Section 3 in S1 Text and S1 Table). The dating of this lineage had been previously estimated as 1,500 years ago (900–2,100 years ago), calculated only between 2 samples (GS000016946-ASM and GS000016945-ASM) for which the complete sequence is not available and comes from VCF files (see section 3 in S1 Text and S1 Table). The dating found in this work, calculated only between two samples for which the complete sequence is available and present greater sequencing coverage (N87FK8 and GRC14349596_S) (see section 2 in S1 Text and S1 Table), is 9,600 years ago (8,400–10,800 years ago). We believe that our results could be reflecting a temporal estimate more in line with the greater geographic distribution found here for this lineage. On the other hand, the estimate of ~1.500 years ago could reflect some internal sub-lineage with regional differentiation in Argentina’s Northwest and also characteristic of the Wichi community; this could be better defined in the future with the incorporation of more samples to this lineage.ref

“In this study, researchers present genetic evidence that associates within the same sub-lineage (Q-Z35505/Q-Z35497) Mataguayan-speaking individuals from Gran Chaco and Arawak-speaking individuals from the Mato Grosso region, bordering the Gran Chaco (for more information see section 6 in S1 Text). In this regard, it has been previously argued that Mataguayan-speaking population may have moved to the Southeast due to pressure from Amazonian groups, speaking Arawak languages. In fact, some sort of exchange must have taken place between Mataguayos and local Arawak farmers before their settling in the area, since some archaeological sites in the Gran Chaco reveal similar but more rudimentary decorated pottery. We present genetic support for these hypotheses, adding a temporal depth for Q-Z35505/Q-Z35497 of ~9,600 years ago. We cannot determine whether Mataguayan-speaking and Arawak-speaking communities have a common origin or if both groups have different origins and then linked and admixed leaving shared genetic traits. The dates found suggest that Gran Chaco could have been inhabited earlier than estimated. This lineage is currently restricted to individuals from Peru and has been previously described. A dating of 12,000 years ago (9,500–14,700 years ago) was found in literature.” ref

“The marker Q-B42 has been previously described as ancestral to Q-B43 (parallel to Q-Z35505) and Q-B46. Q-B42 is known to be a recurrent mutation that is used to describe another sub-lineage belonging to the European R haplogroup (R1b1a1b1a1a2c1a3a2a1d3). Given this characteristic, the ISOGG platform does not include this marker within Q Haplogroup, but it is still used in current works on the phylogenetic reconstruction of Q Haplogroup. In the present study, Q-B42 is present among individuals belonging to the sub-lineages Q-B46, Q-Z35505, and Q-Z6658 (discussed above) but it is absent in some individuals within the last two sub-lineages (see S1 Table). S5 Fig proposes the position of Q-B42 based on these results, which is represented with a dotted line suggesting that findings should be further studied. The contribution of two new high coverage complete sequences provided in this work belonging to Q-B42 allows their dating to be adjusted to values of 14,200 years ago (12,600–16,200 years ago), older than those of 10,100 years ago (8,400–11,800 years ago) found in the literature. Q-B42 occurs among individuals from Peru, Northwest Argentina, and Central Chaco. For the Huaca Prieta archaeological site located near the Pacific coast in Northern Peru, radiocarbon dating indicates intermittent human presence between ~15,000 and 8,000 years ago. In Northwestern Argentina, several sites date from ~12,000 years ago and possibly as early as ~12,800 years ago.ref

“As proof of the influence of the first civilizations of the Andean highlands on Northwestern Argentina, such as the pre-Inca culture of Tiwanaku located near Titicaca Lake within the current territory of Bolivia, cultural legacy has been found in Peru, Chile, and elsewhere Northwestern Argentina. The Collasuyu was part of the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu) and expanded to the Argentine Northwest. Q-B42 could have differentiated in the central Andean region and could be one of the oldest Q-M848 sub-lineages with 14,200 years ago (12,600–16,200 years ago), being part of the gene pool of cultures that settled in this region. This sub-lineage shows links and gene flow among Andean, Chaco, and Amazonian groups, in accordance with archaeological studies that have found cultural evidence showing that Chaco human groups have received peripheral influence, both Andean and Amazonian. The phylogenetic relationships found in the present study for Q-B42 and Q-Z35497 provides genetic support to these findings. The characteristics of the Chaco territory, with fluctuating seasonality in relation to the flood levels of the land, may have not been an obstacle for a constant interrelation among the human groups of these regions. For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-B42 and its sub-lineages, see S1C Fig.ref

“The Q-CTS2731 lineage is currently restricted to native populations of the United States and Mexico. We have found this lineage in 4 Mexican samples from the databases (S1 Table), in agreement with previous reports. The estimates found in the literature for this lineage are 12,400 years ago (10,600–14,300 years ago). We contribute 2 new SNPs parallel to Q-CTS2731; 2 new SNPs parallel to the Q-CTS8571 sub-lineage; and 43 new SNPs parallel to the Q-Y26467 sub-lineage, absent in ISOGG (S2 Table). Q-Y26467 has been described as characteristic of the Zapotec male population of Mexico, which has also been observed in the present study (S1 Table). The dating found in this work for this node is 600 years ago (530–680 years ago), within the range previously reported. The timing found for the first human occupation in Mexico is currently under discussion. Archaeological studies consider that Mexico shows consistent evidence of human occupation from at least 40,000–30,000 years ago, but dating for that period is controversial. Yet, there is not so much discussion about the common scattered sites in Mexico for the 10.5–13 kya period. It is known that the writing style used in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, belonging to the Zapotec scribal tradition, constitutes the earliest evidence of writing in the American continent. The first tangible manifestations of the graphic system can be dated to approximately 600 years ago. These archaeological dates are consistent with those found for the Zapotec sub-lineage Q-Y26467. For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-CTS2731 and its sub-lineages, see S2A Fig.ref

This lineage is known to have a wide distribution beginning at Southwest United States and extending through Mexico, Central America, and South America. In the present study, Q-CTS11357 is widely represented by 7 individuals from Mexico, 2 from Colombia, and one from Brazil, in accordance with previously reported data. The dating found in this work for this lineage is 11,300 years ago (10,300–13,200 years ago), close to that found by other authors. We contributed 4 new SNPs to Q-CTS11357 sub-lineages, absent in ISOGG (S2 Table). Q-CTS11330 has been described in this and other research works as characteristic of Mexican individuals though has been also found in one individual from San Salvador de Jujuy. The dating found in this study for Q-CTS11330 is 8,400 years ago (7,400–9,600 years ago), close to the literature estimates. The Q-CTS11357 lineage is represented by individuals of the Pima and Nahua, speakers of the Uto-Aztecan language, and Karitiana ethnic groups, speakers of the only remnant of the Arikém linguistic family, being a sub-family of the Tupí linguistic trunk (see S1 Table and section 6 in S1 Text). For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-CTS11357 and its sub-lineages, see S3B Fig.ref

“The Q-CTS11357 lineage shows that approximately 11,300 years ago (10,300–13,200 years ago) there was a population focus in Mexico that extended to Southwest United States, Central America, reaching Colombia and the Brazilian Amazon. At present, this lineage finds greater representation and differentiation in Mexico, with Uto-Aztecan speaking representatives (See S1 Table). This evidence could provide genetic support to previous hypotheses suggesting that the Proto-Uto-Aztecan speaking community could have formed in Central Mexico, being one of the drivers of the primary domestication of maize. Its expansion towards North America and the Amazon could have been driven by demographic pressure resulting from a growing commitment to the cultivation of this gramineous. The phylogenetic links found for this lineage are also in agreement with studies on the genetic diversity of corn using contemporary and archaeological maize samples, showing that corn used by Brazilian indigenous populations, including those from the Amazon, is genetically closer to corn samples from Mexico, as compared to other regions such as the Andes. Q-CTS11357 evidences a shared lineage ancestry between Uto-Aztecan- and Arikém-speaking human groups; given its temporal depth it is likely that this lineage has formed part of the gene pool of both the proto-Uto-Aztecan and proto-Tupí speakers. It is not possible to define whether both groups have a common origin or, having different origins, left shared genetic traits due to their geographic expansion.ref

“Currently, this lineage has been reported for individuals from Mexico and Argentina. The ISOGG platform defines Q-Y27993 and Q-Y27992 as parallel; we have found Q-Y27993 in a Mexican sample from the databases and an Argentine individual belonging to the Chané ethnic group from Salta (S1 Table). Q-Y27992 occurs in a Mixtec individual from Oaxaca, but we have not found any marker shared by the three samples; therefore, in Fig 1 and S5 Fig it is represented with dotted lines since further study is needed to determine this link. The time estimate found for this lineage is 16,100 years ago (14,200–18,200 years ago) (see S5 Table), older than that found in the literature. We consider that the current dating calculations for this lineage are subject to biases due to low sample size and lineage resolution. If the three samples were not a monophyletic group and therefore Q-Y27992 and Q-Y27993 would not belong to the same sub-lineage, then the dating found in this study would be an error. On the contrary, if they really are a monophyletic group, our results could indicate that it is one of the oldest lineages of Q-M848, and this would lead to question its dating. However, given that the status of Q-Y27993/Q-Y27992 still requires further studies and higher resolution, in S5 Fig we consider the dating calculated in the literature as 12,600 years ago (12,100–13,100 years ago). For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-Y27993/Q-Y27992, see S2B Fig.Q-Y27993 occurs among individuals from Mexico and Chané from Northern Argentina. The language spoken by the Chané belongs to the Arawak linguistic group, one of the largest and most dispersed linguistic families in the Americas. Q-Y27993 provide genetic support to the links found between Arawak-speaking individuals and Mexican communities, though further studies would be necessary to determine the ethnic relationship found between these regions.ref

“This lineage has been reported before in Peru and in Argentine individuals of the Colla ethnic group from Salta province. In this study, researchers corroborate this previous distribution and add a Brazilian individual from a database belonging to Maxakalí ethnic group from Minas Gerais, as a new contribution to this sub-lineage (S1 Table and S5 Fig). For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-Z19357 and its sub-lineages, see S3C Fig. Q-Z19357 provides evidence of a shared lineage ancestry among individuals from Andean Peru, Northwestern Argentina, and the Brazilian Maxakalí ethnic group with a temporal depth of 8,100 years ago (9,500–6,700 years ago), as reported in the literature. We cannot determine whether these groups have a common origin or have different origins and were later linked and admixed leaving shared genetic traits. The greatest current diversity for this lineage occurs among Andean individuals, so it is likely that this sub-lineage has differentiated among Andean human groups, perhaps within the current territory of Peru, a region known for being the cradle of great South American civilizations, expanding its ties with the Macro-Jê-speaking communities of Brazil, native language of Maxakalí groups. These people have probably also established relationships with Chaco human groups because this area relates the Andean region with the Brazilian Cerrado Ecoregion, which was extensively inhabited by Macro-Jê speakers in times previous to European colonization. In this regard, linguistic studies on languages of the Guaicurú family (spoken by Mocovíes, Toba, Pilagás, and Caduveos), typical of the Chaco region and Mato Grosso do Sul, have shown some grammatical morphemes similar to elements of languages belonging to the Macro-Jê linguistic trunk, widely spread throughout the Central and Eastern regions of Brazil. A higher amount of Chaco samples should be analyzed in Y chromosome genomic studies to better understand the human links among these regions.ref

“The phylogenetic relationship found in this work between an Ecuadorian individual of the Cañari ethnic group and a Brazilian individual of the Hupda ethnic group agrees with that previously described. In the present work we contribute 7 new SNPs shared between both samples, not described in the literature and absent in ISOGG (see S2 Table). The dating found in this study for this sub-lineage is 11,200 years ago (9,900–12,700 years ago), within the range estimated before. Q-MPB016 provides evidence of a shared lineage ancestry among human groups of the Cañari ethnic group of Ecuador and the Hupda ethnic group of Northwestern Amazonia of Brazil with a temporal depth of 11,200 years ago (9,900–12,700 years ago). We cannot define whether these groups have a common origin, or if they had different origins and were then linked and admixed leaving shared genetic traits, but genetic evidence of separation of the Cañari lineage from the characteristic lineages of Peru (such as Q-SK281or Q-Z6658) would indicate that the Cañaris managed to preserve their ancestral lineage despite the Inca and Spanish conquest processes. The same is observed for the Hupda ethnic group, which presents a differentiated lineage from those found for neighboring Amazonian ethnic groups such as Arawak (such as Q-Z35497 or Y27993). The links between Cañari and Hupda groups could also be useful for the reconstruction of their ancient history. For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-MPB016, see S3C Fig.ref

“Q-Z5908 was found in the present study shared among 6 individuals from Peru, as previously reported, 2 individuals from the Province of Salta, Argentina, 1 individual belonging to the Colla ethnic group, and another one from the town of Cachi, also previously described for this lineage. A new Argentine sample in our collection from La Quiaca, Jujuy Province, is added to this sub-lineage as a novelty in this study (S1 Table and S5 Fig). We have found 69 new SNPs for this lineage, absent in ISOGG (S2 Table), one of which is equivalent for Q-Z5912 and another one is equivalent for Q-Z5910. We have also described a new sub-lineage derived from Q-Z5908 defined by Q-GMP51 (S4 Table and S5 Fig). The remaining 66 SNPs are private for the new sample in our collection, and 7 named Q-GMP52 to Q-GMP58 were validated (see S2 and S4 Tables). Furthermore, the incorporation of a new high coverage complete sequence to this sub-lineage allows a new estimate of its dating, with values of 13.6 kya (12.0–15.4), older than those reported in the literature. The phylogenetic relationships found for Q-Z5908 show links among human groups from the Central Andes, extending through the territories that today are part of Peru and Northwestern Argentina, with a regional differentiation and defined spatial structure (~13,600 years ago). These links resemble what was previously discussed for the Q-B42 lineage in human groups of these regions. For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-Z5908, see S1B Fig.ref

“The Q-Z5906 sub-lineage includes 11 individuals, out of which 5 are Peruvians and 6 are individuals from Northwestern Argentina (S1 Table and S6 Fig). This lineage has been described in the literature as characteristic among members of Peru, Bolivia, Calchaquí communities, and Colla ethnic groups of Argentina. In the present study, 2 new sequences of Argentine individuals are contributed to this sub-lineage, both from La Quiaca, province of Jujuy (see S1 Table and Table A in S1 Text). We have found 30 new SNPs for this lineage, absent in ISOGG, out of which 8 are equivalent for Q-B35 and 5 were validated as Q-GMP65 to Q-GMP69; downstream, we found a new sub-lineage validated as Q-GMP70, with other 3 SNPs equivalents, 2 of which were validated as Q-GMP71 to Q-GMP72 (see S2 and S4 Tables). We also detected 2 Q-Z5907 equivalents and the remaining 16 were private of the new samples of this lineage (S2 Table). The gene flow between Andean human groups of Peru and Northwestern Argentina is reflected once again by Q-Z5906 and its sub-lineages Q-B35, Q-GMP70, and Q-Z5907 (S6 Fig), similar to the links found for Q-Z35841, Q-Z5908, and Q-B42 lineages, discussed above for human groups of these regions. This lineage was found in literature with an estimated dating of 12,880 years ago (11.38–14.57). The present study determined datings of 2,400 years ago (2,100–2.700 years ago) and 1,700 years ago (1,500–1,900 years ago) for the derived sub-lineages Q-GMP70 and Q-Z5907respectively (S5 Table). This indicates a great temporal depth for this lineage but with more recent regional differentiation covering the great extension between Peru and Northwestern Argentina, which shows the constant interaction and gene flow of these groups for thousands of years. For a schematic representation of the geographic distribution of Q-Z5906 and its sub-lineages, see S2A Fig.ref

“Migrations to the Americas from North Asia by way of Alaska are well known. Haplogroup Q-M242 is one of the two branches of P-P226 (M45), the other being R-M207. Q-M242 is the predominant Y-DNA haplogroup among Native Americans and several peoples of Central Asia and Northern Siberia. Q-M242 is believed to have arisen around the Altai Mountains area (or South Central Siberia), approximately 17,000 to 31,700 years ago. However, the matter remains unclear due to limited sample sizes and changing definitions of Haplogroup Q: early definitions used a combination of the SNPs M242, P36.2, and MEH2 as defining mutations.” ref

“Here are the Haplogroup Q migrations. Highest frequencies: Kets (Yeniseian-speaking people in Siberia) 93.8%, South American Indians 92%, Turkmens from Karakalpakstan (mainly Yomut: Western and Central Asia), 73%, Selkups 66.4%., Altaians 63.6%., Tuvans (from Xinjiang: Uygur Autonomous Region, China) 62.5%., Chelkans 60.0%., Greenlandic Inuit 54%, Tubalar 41%, Siberian Tatars(Ishtyak-Tokuz Tatars) 38%, Inuit, the indigenous peoples of the Americas, Akha people of northern Thailand, Mon-Khmer people, and some tribes of Assam.” ref

“The Ket people share their origin with other Yeniseian people and are closely related to other Indigenous people of Siberia and Indigenous peoples of the Americas. They belong mostly to Y-DNA haplogroup Q-M242. The Ket language has been linked to the Na-Dené languages of North America in the Dené–Yeniseian language family. This link has led to some collaboration between the Ket and northern Athabaskan peoples. According to a 2016 study, the Ket and other Yeniseian people originated likely somewhere near the Altai Mountains or near Lake Baikal. It is suggested that parts of the Altaians are predominantly of Yeniseian origin and closely related to the Ket people. The Ket people are also closely related to several Native American groups. According to this study, the Yeniseians are linked to the Paleo-Eskimo groups.” ref

“The Kets have a rich and varied culture, filled with an abundance of Siberian mythology, including shamanistic practices and oral traditions. The shamans of the Ket people have been identified as practitioners of healing as well as other local ritualistic spiritual practices. Supposedly, there were several types of Ket shamans, differing in function (sacral rites, curing), power, and associated animals (deer, bear). Also, among Kets, (as with several other Siberian peoples such as the Karagas) there are examples of the use of skeleton symbolics. Hoppál interprets it as a symbol of shamanic rebirth, although it may also symbolize the bones of the loon (the helper animal of the shaman, joining the air and underwater worlds, just like the story of the shaman who traveled both to the sky and the underworld). The skeleton-like overlay represented shamanic rebirth among some other Siberian cultures as well.” ref

 “Of great importance to Kets are spirit images, described as “an animal shoulder bone wrapped in a scrap of cloth simulating clothing.” One adult Ket, who had been careless with a cigarette, said, “It’s a shame I don’t have my doll. My house burnt down together with my dolls.” Kets regard their spirit images as household deities, which sleep in the daytime and protect them at night. Edward J. Vajda, a professor of Modern and Classical languages, spent a year in Siberia studying the Ket people, and found a relationship between the Ket language and the Na-Dene languages, of which Navajo is the most prominent and widely spoken. Vyacheslav Ivanov and Vladimir Toporov compared Ket mythology with those of speakers of Uralic languages, assuming in the studies that they are modeling semiotic systems in the compared mythologies. They have also made typological comparisons.” ref 

“Among other comparisons, possibly from Uralic mythological analogies, the mythologies of Ob-Ugric peoples and Samoyedic peoples are mentioned. Other authors have discussed analogies (similar folklore motifs, purely typological considerations, and certain binary pairs in symbolics) may be related to a dualistic organization of society – some dualistic features can be found in comparisons with these peoples. However, for Kets, neither dualistic organization of society nor cosmological dualism have been researched thoroughly. If such features existed at all, they have either weakened or remained largely undiscovered. There are some reports of a division into two exogamous patrilinear moieties, folklore on conflicts of mythological figures, and cooperation of two beings in the creation of the land, the motif of the earth-diver. This motif is present in several cultures in different variants. In one example, the creator of the world is helped by a waterfowl as the bird dives under the water and fetches earth so that the creator can make land out of it. In some cultures, the creator and the earth-fetching being (sometimes called a devil, or taking the shape of a loon) compete with one another; in other cultures (including the Ket variant), they do not compete at all, but rather collaborate.” ref

Haplogroup Q and the Americas

“Several branches of haplogroup Q-M242 have been predominant pre-Columbian male lineages in indigenous peoples of the Americas. Most of them are descendants of the major founding groups who migrated from Asia into the Americas by crossing the Bering Strait. These small groups of founders must have included men from the Q-M346, Q-L54, Q-Z780, and Q-M3 lineages. In North America, two other Q-lineages also have been found. These are Q-P89.1 (under Q-MEH2) and Q-NWT01. They may have not been from the Beringia Crossings but instead come from later immigrants who traveled along the shoreline of Far East Asia and then the Americas using boats. It is unclear whether the current frequency of Q-M242 lineages represents their frequency at the time of immigration or is the result of the shifts in a small founder population over time. Regardless, Q-M242 came to dominate the paternal lineages in the Americas.” ref

North America

“In the indigenous people of North America, Q-M242 is found in Na-Dené speakers at an average rate of 68%. The highest frequency is 92.3% in Navajo, followed by 78.1% in Apache,  87%  in SC Apache,  and about 80% in North American Eskimo (Inuit, Yupik)–Aleut populations. (Q-M3 occupies 46% among Q in North America). On the other hand, a 4000-year-old Saqqaq individual belonging to Q1a-MEH2* has been found in Greenland. Surprisingly, he turned out to be genetically more closely related to Far East Siberians such as Koryaks and Chukchi people rather than Native Americans. Today, the frequency of Q runs at 53.7% (122/227: 70 Q-NWT01, 52 Q-M3) in Greenland, showing the highest in east Sermersooq at 82% and the lowest in Qeqqata at 30%.” ref

Mesoamerica and South America

“Haplogroup Q-M242 has been found in approximately 94% of Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica and South America. The frequencies of Q among the whole male population of each country reach as follows:

  • 61% in Bolivia.
  • 51% in Guatemala,
  • 40.1% (159/397) to 50% in Peru
  • 37.6% in Ecuador,
  • 37.3% (181/485) in Mexico (30.8% (203/659) among the specifically Mestizo segment)
  • 31.2% (50/160) in El Salvador,
  • 15.3% (37/242) to 21.8% (89/408) in Panama,
  • 16.1% in Colombia,
  • 15.2% (25/165) in Nicaragua,
  • 9.7% (20/206) in Chile,
  • 5.3% (13/246 in 8 provinces in northeastern, central, southern regions) to 23.4% (181/775 in 8 provinces in central-west, central, northwest regions) in Argentina,
  • 5% in Costa Rica,
  • 3.95% in Brazil, and so on.” ref

Y-DNA Q samples from ancient sites

  • South Central Siberia (near Altai)
    • Afontova-Gora-2, Yenisei River Bank, Krasnoyarsk (South Central Siberia of Russia), 17,000 years ago: Q1a1-F1215 (mtDNA R)
  • North America
  • Altai (West Mongolia)
    • Tsagaan Asga and Takhilgat Uzuur-5 Kurgan sites, westernmost Mongolian Altai, 2,900-4,800 years ago: 4 R1a1a1b2-Z93 (B.C. 10C, B.C. 14C, 2 period unknown), 3 Q1a2a1-L54 (period unknown), 1 Q-M242 (B.C. 28C), 1 C-M130 (B.C. 10C)
  • Greenland
  • China
    • Hengbei site (Peng kingdom cemetery of Western Zhou period), Jiang County, Shanxi, 2,800-3,000 years ago: 9 Q1a1-M120, 2 O2a-M95, 1 N, 4 O3a2-P201, 2 O3, 4 O*
      • In another paper, the social status of those human remains of ancient Peng kingdom(倗国) are analyzed. aristocrats: 3 Q1a1 (prostrate 2, supine 1), 2 O3a (supine 2), 1 N (prostrate) / commoners: 8 Q1a1 (prostrate 4, supine 4), 3 O3a (prostrate 1, supine 2), 3 O* (supine 3) / slaves: 3 O3a, 2 O2a, 1 O*
      • (cf) Pengbo (倗伯), Monarch of Peng Kingdom is estimated as Q-M120.
    • Pengyang County, Ningxia, 2,500 years ago: all 4 Q1a1-M120 (with a lot of animal bones and bronze swords and other weapons, etc.)
    • Heigouliang, Xinjiang, 2,200 years ago: 6 Q1a* (not Q1a1-M120, not Q1a1b-M25, not Q1a2-M3), 4 Q1b-M378, 2 Q* (not Q1a, not Q1b: unable to determine subclades):
      • In a paper (Lihongjie 2012), the author analyzed the Y-DNAs of the ancient male samples from the 2nd or 1st century BCE cemetery at Heigouliang in Xinjiang – which is also believed to be the site of a summer palace for Xiongnu kings – which is east of the Barkol basin and near the city of Hami. The Y-DNA of 12 men excavated from the site belonged to Q-MEH2 (Q1a) or Q-M378 (Q1b). The Q-M378 men among them were regarded as hosts of the tombs; half of the Q-MEH2 men appeared to be hosts and the other half as sacrificial victims.
    • Xiongnu site in Barkol, Xinjiang, all 3 Q-M3
      • In L. L. Kang et al. (2013), three samples from a Xiongnu) site in Barkol, Xinjiang were found to be Q-M3 (Q1a2a1a1). And, as Q-M3 is mostly found in Yeniseians and Native Americans, the authors suggest that the Xiongnu had connections to speakers of the Yeniseian languages. These discoveries from the above papers (Li 2012, Kang et al., 2013) have some positive implications on the not as yet clearly verified theory that the Xiongnu were precursors of the Huns.
    • Mongolian noble burials in the Yuan dynasty, Shuzhuanglou Site, northernmost Hebei China, 700 years ago: all 3 Q (not analyzed subclade, the principal occupant Gaodangwang Korguz (高唐王=趙王 阔里吉思)’s mtDNA=D4m2, two others mtDNA=A)
      • (cf) Korguz was a son of a princess of Kublai Khan (元 世祖), and was the king of the Ongud tribe. He died in 1298 and was reburied in Shuzhuanglou in 1311 by his son. (Do not confuse this man with the Uyghur governor, Korguz who died in 1242.) The Ongud tribe (汪古部) was a descendant of the Shatuo tribe (沙陀族) which was a tribe of Göktürks (Western Turkic Khaganate) and was prominent in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period of China, building three dynasties. His two queens were all princesses of the Yuan dynasty (Kublai Khan’s granddaughters). It was very important for the Yuan dynasty to maintain a marriage alliance with Ongud tribe which had been a principal assistant since Genghis Khan‘s period. About 16 princesses of the Yuan dynasty married kings of the Ongud tribe.” ref

“The first humans to settle the Amazon Basin arrived around 13,000 years ago as part of a mass migration that quickly swept across the Americas, researchers have discovered.” ref

Source Populations for the Peopling of the Americas

“Genetic studies have used high-resolution analytical techniques applied to DNA samples from modern Native Americans and Asian populations regarded as their source populations to reconstruct the development of human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups (yDNA haplogroups) and human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups (mtDNA haplogroups) characteristic of Native American populations. Models of molecular evolution rates were used to estimate the ages at which Native American DNA lineages branched off from their parent lineages in Asia and to deduce the ages of demographic events. One model (Tammetal 2007) based on Native American mtDNA Haplotypes (Figure 2) proposes that migration into Beringia occurred between 30,000 and 25,000 years ago, with migration into the Americas occurring around 10,000 to 15,000 years after isolation of the small founding population. Another model (Kitchen et al. 2008) proposes that migration into Beringia occurred approximately 36,000 years ago, followed by 20,000 years of isolation in Beringia. A third model (Nomatto et al. 2009) proposes that migration into Beringia occurred between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago, with a pre-LGM migration into the Americas followed by isolation of the northern population following the closure of the ice-free corridor. Evidence of Australo-Melanesians admixture in Amazonian populations was found by Skoglund and Reich (2016).” ref

“A study of the diversification of mtDNA Haplogroups C and D from southern Siberia and eastern Asia, respectively, suggests that the parent lineage (Subhaplogroup D4h) of Subhaplogroup D4h3, a lineage found among Native Americans and Han Chinese, emerged around 20,000 years ago, constraining the emergence of D4h3 to post-LGM. Age estimates based on Y-chromosome micro-satellite diversity place origin of the American Haplogroup Q1a3a (Y-DNA) at around 15,000 to 10,000 years ago. Greater consistency of DNA molecular evolution rate models with each other and with archaeological data may be gained by the use of dated fossil DNA to calibrate molecular evolution rates. The Ancient Beringian (AB) is a specific archaeogenetic lineage, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago. The AB lineage diverged from the Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage about 20,000 years ago. The ANA lineage was estimated as having been formed between 20,000 and 25,000 years ago by a mixture of East Asian and Ancient North Eurasian lineages, consistent with the model of the peopling of the Americas via Beringia during the Last Glacial Maximum.” ref

“The peopling of the Americas began when Paleolithic hunter-gatherers (Paleo-Indians) entered North America from the North Asian Mammoth steppe via the Beringia land bridge, which had formed between northeastern Siberia and western Alaska due to the lowering of sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum (26,000 to 19,000 years ago). These populations expanded south of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and spread rapidly southward, occupying both North and South America, by 12,000 to 14,000 years ago. The earliest populations in the Americas, before roughly 10,000 years ago, are known as Paleo-Indians. Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been linked to Siberian populations by linguistic factors, the distribution of blood types, and in genetic composition as reflected by molecular data, such as DNA. While there is general agreement that the Americas were first settled from Asia, the pattern of migration and the place(s) of origin in Eurasia of the peoples who migrated to the Americas remain unclear. The traditional theory is that Ancient Beringians moved when sea levels were significantly lowered due to the Quaternary glaciation, following herds of now-extinct Pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific coast to South America as far as Chile. Any archaeological evidence of coastal occupation during the last Ice Age would now have been covered by the sea level rise, up to a hundred metres since then.” ref

“The precise date for the peopling of the Americas is a long-standing open question, and while advances in archaeology, Pleistocene geology, physical anthropology, and DNA analysis have progressively shed more light on the subject, significant questions remain unresolved. The “Clovis first theory” refers to the hypothesis that the Clovis culture represents the earliest human presence in the Americas about 13,000 years ago. Evidence of pre-Clovis cultures has accumulated and pushed back the possible date of the first peopling of the Americas. Academics generally believe that humans reached North America south of the Laurentide Ice Sheet at some point between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago. Some new controversial archaeological evidence suggests the possibility that human arrival in the Americas may have occurred prior to the Last Glacial Maximum more than 20,000 years ago.

“The Native American source population was formed in Siberia by the mixing of two distinct populations: Ancient North Eurasians and an ancient East Asian (ESEA) population. According to Jennifer Raff, the Ancient North Eurasian population mixed with a daughter population of ancient East Asians, who they encountered around 25,000 years ago, which led to the emergence of Native American ancestral populations. However, the exact location where the admixture took place is unknown, and the migratory movements that united the two populations are a matter of debate. One theory supposes that Ancient North Eurasians migrated south to East Asia, or Southern Siberia, where they would have encountered and mixed with ancient East Asians. Genetic evidence from Lake Baikal in Mongolia supports this area as the location where the admixture took place.ref

“However, a third theory, the “Beringian standstill hypothesis”, suggests that East Asians instead migrated north to Northeastern Siberia, where they mixed with ANE, and later diverged in Beringia, where distinct Native American lineages formed. This theory is supported by maternal and nuclear DNA evidence. According to Grebenyuk, after 20,000 years ago, a branch of Ancient East Asians migrated to Northeastern Siberia, and mixed with descendants of the ANE, leading to the emergence of Ancient Paleo-Siberian and Native American populations in Extreme Northeastern Asia. However, the Beringian standstill hypothesis is not supported by paternal DNA evidence, which may reflect different population histories for paternal and maternal lineages in Native Americans, which is not uncommon and has been observed in other populations. A 2019 study suggested that Native Americans are the closest living relatives to 10,000-year-old fossils found near the Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia. A study published in July 2022 suggested that people in southern China may have contributed to the Native American gene pool, based on the discovery and DNA analysis of 14,000-year-old human fossils. The contrast between the genetic profiles of the Hokkaido Jōmon skeletons and the modern Ainu illustrates another uncertainty in source models derived from modern DNA samples: The development of high-resolution genomic analysis has provided opportunities to further define Native American subclades and narrow the range of Asian subclades that may be parent or sister subclades.” ref

“The common occurrence of the mtDNA Haplogroups A, B, C, and D among eastern Asian and Native American populations has long been recognized, along with the presence of haplogroup X. As a whole, the greatest frequency of the four Native-American-associated haplogroups occurs in the AltaiBaikal region of southern Siberia. Some subclades of C and D closer to the Native American subclades occur among Mongolian, Amur, Japanese, Korean, and Ainu populations. With further definition of subclades related to Native American populations, the requirements for sampling Asian populations to find the most closely related subclades grow more specific. Subhaplogroups D1 and D4h3 have been regarded as Native American specific based on their absence among a large sampling of populations regarded as potential descendants of source populations, over a wide area of Asia. Among the 3,764 samples, the Sakhalin–lower Amur region was represented by 61 Oroks.” ref 

“In another study, Subhaplogroup D1a has been identified among the Ulchis of the lower Amur River region (4 among 87 sampled, or 4.6%), along with Subhaplogroup C1a (1 among 87, or 1.1%). Subhaplogroup C1a is regarded as a close sister clade of the Native American Subhaplogroup C1b. Subhaplogroup D1a has also been found among ancient Jōmon skeletons from Hokkaido The modern Ainu are regarded as descendants of the Jōmon. The occurrence of the Subhaplogroups D1a and C1a in the lower Amur region suggests a source population from that region distinct from the Altai-Baikal source populations, where sampling did not reveal those two particular subclades. The conclusions regarding Subhaplogroup D1 indicating potential source populations in the lower Amur and Hokkaido areas stand in contrast to the single-source migration model. Subhaplogroup D4h3 has been identified among Han Chinese. Subhaplogroup D4h3 from China does not have the same geographic implication as Subhaplotype D1a from Amur-Hokkaido, so its implications for source models are more speculative. Its parent lineage, Subhaplotype D4h, is believed to have emerged in East Asia, rather than Siberia, around 20,000 years ago. Subhaplogroup D4h2, a sister clade of D4h3, has also been found among Jōmon skeletons from Hokkaido. D4h3 has a coastal trace in the Americas.” ref

“X is one of the five mtDNA haplogroups found in Indigenous Americans. Native Americans mostly belong to the X2a clade, which has never been found in the Old World. According to Jennifer Raff, X2a probably originated in the same Siberian population as the other four founding maternal lineages, and that there is no compelling reason to believe it is related to X lineages found in Europe or West Eurasia. The Kennewick man fossil was found to carry the deepest branch of the X2a haplogroup, and he did not have any European ancestry that would be expected for a European origin of the lineage. The Human T cell Lymphotrophic Virus 1 (HTLV-1) is a virus transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids and from mother to child through breast milk. The mother-to-child transmission mimics a hereditary trait, although such transmission from maternal carriers is less than 100%. The HTLV virus genome has been mapped, allowing identification of four major strains and analysis of their antiquity through mutations. The highest geographic concentrations of the strain HLTV-1 are in sub-Saharan Africa and Japan.” ref

“In Japan, it occurs in its highest concentration on Kyushu. It is also present among African descendants and native populations in the Caribbean region and South America. It is rare in Central America and North America. Its distribution in the Americas has been regarded as due to importation with the slave trade. The Ainu have developed antibodies to HTLV-1, indicating its endemicity to the Ainu and its antiquity in Japan. A subtype “A” has been defined and identified among the Japanese (including Ainu), and among Caribbean and South American isolates. A subtype “B” has been identified in Japan and India. In 1995, Native Americans in coastal British Columbia were found to have both subtypes A and B. Bone marrow specimens from an Andean mummy about 1500 years old were reported to have shown the presence of the A subtype. The finding ignited controversy, with contention that the sample DNA was insufficiently complete for the conclusion and that the result reflected modern contamination. However, a re-analysis indicated that the DNA sequences were consistent with, but not definitely from, the “cosmopolitan clade” (subtype A). The presence of subtypes A and B in the Americas is suggestive of a Native American source population related to the Ainu ancestors, the Jōmon.” ref

“Paleo-Indian skeletons in the Americas such as Kennewick Man (Washington State), Hoya Negro skeleton (Yucatán), Luzia Woman and other skulls from the Lagoa Santa site (Brazil), Buhl Woman (Idaho), Peñon Woman III, two skulls from the Tlapacoya site (Mexico City), and 33 skulls from Baja California have exhibited certain craniofacial traits distinct from most modern Native Americans, leading physical anthropologists to posit an earlier “Paleoamerican” population wave. The most basic measured distinguishing trait is the dolichocephaly of the skull. Some modern isolated populations such as the Pericúes of Baja California and the Fuegians of Tierra del Fuego exhibit that same morphological trait. Other anthropologists advocate an alternative hypothesis that evolution of an original Beringian phenotype gave rise to a distinct morphology that was similar in all known Paleoamerican skulls, followed by later convergence towards the modern Native American phenotype.” ref

“Archaeogenetic studies do not support a two-wave model or the Paleoamerican hypothesis of an Australo-Melanesian origin, and firmly assign all Paleo-Indians and modern Native Americans to one ancient population that entered the Americas in a single migration from Beringia. Only in one ancient specimen (Lagoa Santa) and a few modern populations in the Amazon region, a small Australasian ancestry component of c. 3% was detected, which remains unexplained by the current state of research (as of 2021), but may be explained by the presence of the more basal Tianyuan-related ancestry, a deep East Asian lineage which did not directly contribute to modern East Asians but may have contributed to the ancestors of Native Americans in Siberia, as such ancestry is also found among previous Paleolithic Siberians (Ancient North Eurasians).” ref

“A report published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology in January 2015 reviewed craniofacial variation focusing on differences between early and late Native Americans and explanations for these based on either skull morphology or molecular genetics. Arguments based on molecular genetics have in the main, according to the authors, accepted a single migration from Asia with a probable pause in Beringia, plus later bi-directional gene flow. Some studies focusing on craniofacial morphology have previously argued that Paleoamerican remains have been described as closer to Australo-Melanesians and Polynesians than to the modern series of Native Americans, suggesting two entries into the Americas, an early one occurring before a distinctive East Asian morphology developed (referred to in the paper as the “Two Components Model”). Another “third model”, the “Recurrent Gene Flow” (RGF) model, attempts to reconcile the two, arguing that circumarctic gene flow after the initial migration could account for morphological changes. It specifically re-evaluates the original report on the Hoya Negro skeleton which supported the RGF model, the authors disagreed with the original conclusion which suggested that the skull shape did not match those of modern Native Americans, arguing that the “skull falls into a subregion of the morphospace occupied by both Paleoamericans and some modern Native Americans.” ref

“Stemmed points are a lithic technology distinct from Beringian and Clovis types. They have a distribution ranging from coastal East Asia to the Pacific coast of South America. The emergence of stemmed points has been traced to Korea during the upper Paleolithic. The origin and distribution of stemmed points have been interpreted as a cultural marker related to a source population from coastal East Asia. The Indigenous peoples of the Americas have ascertained archaeological presence in the Americas dating back to about 15,000 years ago. More recent research, however, suggests a human presence dating to between 18,000 and 26,000 years ago, during the Last Glacial Maximum. There remain uncertainties regarding the precise dating of individual sites and regarding conclusions drawn from population genetics studies of contemporary Native Americans.” ref

Genetic diversity and population structure in the American land mass using DNA micro-satellite markers (genotype) sampled from North, Central, and South America have been analyzed against similar data available from other Indigenous populations worldwide. The Amerindian populations show a lower genetic diversity than populations from other continental regions. Decreasing genetic diversity with increasing geographic distance from the Bering Strait can be seen, as well as a decreasing genetic similarity to Siberian populations from Alaska (genetic entry point). A higher level of diversity and lower level of population structure in western South America compared to eastern South America is observed. A relative lack of differentiation between Mesoamerican and Andean populations is a scenario that implies coastal routes were easier than inland routes for migrating peoples (Paleo-Indians) to traverse. The overall pattern that is emerging suggests that the Americas were recently colonized by a small number of individuals (effective size of about 70–250), and then they grew by a factor of 10 over 800–1,000 years.” ref 

“The data also show that there have been genetic exchanges between Asia, the Arctic, and Greenland since the initial peopling of the Americas. A new study in early 2018 suggests that the effective population size of the original founding population of Native Americans was about 250 people. “Pre-Columbian population figures are difficult to estimate due to the fragmentary nature of the evidence. Estimates range from 8–112 million. Scholars have varied widely on the estimated size of the Indigenous populations prior to colonization and on the effects of European contact. Estimates are made by extrapolations from small bits of data. A 2020 genetic study suggests that prior estimates for the pre-Columbian Caribbean population may have been at least tenfold too large. Historian David Stannard estimates that the extermination of Indigenous peoples took the lives of 100 million people: “…the total extermination of many American Indian peoples and the near-extermination of others, in numbers that eventually totaled close to 100,000,000.” ref


Climate amelioration, abrupt vegetation recovery, and the dispersal of Homo sapiens in Baikal Siberia

Abstract: “The dispersal of Homo sapiens in Siberia and Mongolia occurred by 45,000 to 40,000 years ago; however, the climatic and environmental context of this event remains poorly understood. We reconstruct a detailed vegetation history for the Last Glacial period based on pollen spectra from Lake Baikal. While herb and shrub taxa including Artemisia and Alnus dominated throughout most of this period, coniferous forests rapidly expanded during Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) events 14 (55,000 years ago) and 12 to 10 (48,000 to 41,000 years ago), with the latter presenting the strongest signal for coniferous forest expansion and Picea trees, indicating remarkably humid conditions. These abrupt forestation events are consistent with obliquity maxima, so that we interpret last glacial vegetation changes in southern Siberia as being driven by obliquity change. Likewise, we posit that major climate amelioration and pronounced forestation precipitated H. sapiens dispersal into Baikal Siberia 45,000 years ago, as chronicled by the appearance of the Initial Upper Paleolithic.” ref


“The Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site (Yana RHS) is an Upper Palaeolithic archaeological site located near the lower Yana river in northeastern Siberia, Russia, north of the Arctic Circle in the far west of Beringia. It was discovered in 2001, after thawing and erosion exposed animal bones and artifacts. The site features a well-preserved cultural layer due to the cold conditions, and includes hundreds of animal bones and ivory pieces and numerous artifacts, which are indicative of sustained settlement and a relatively high level of technological development. With an estimated age of around 32,000 years ago, the site provides the earliest archaeological evidence for human settlement in this region, or anywhere north of the Arctic Circle, where people survived extreme conditions and hunted a wide range of fauna before the onset of the Last Glacial Maximum. The Yana site is perhaps the earliest unambiguous evidence of mammoth hunting by humans. A 2019 genetic study found that the remains of two young male humans discovered at the site, dating to c. 31,600 years ago, represent a distinct archaeogenetic lineage, named ‘Ancient North Siberians‘ (ANS). The Yana RHS site is preceded in Siberia by a few Initial Upper Paleolithic archaeological sites such as Ust-Ischim (with modern human remains, 45,000 years ago), or Kara-Bom (dating to 46,620 +/-1,750 cal years ago), Kara-Tenesh, Kandabaevo, and Podzvonskaya.ref

“A model of differentiation after dispersal out of Africa in the Early Upper Paleolithic (45,000–20,000 years ago) (“The tree diagram shows divergence patterns and is not meant to depict migration routes from the branches or geographic origins of ancestral populations”). The genetic proximity of Yana with Ancient North Eurasian populations (Mal’taAfontova Gora), but also Ust-Ishim and Sunghir and to a lesser extent Tianyuan, within a principal component analysis of ancient and present-day individuals from worldwide populations. Human teeth, dated to around 31,630 calibrated years before present, were found at the site, at the Northern Point locality. DNA extracted from two of these teeth, which were found to be from two unrelated males, were found to represent a distinct archaeogenetic lineage which can be modeled as a mixture of early West Eurasian with significant contribution (c. 22% to 50%) from early East Asians (represented by Tianyuan man), an ancestral lineage that the authors have named ‘Ancient North Siberian’ (ANS), thought to have diversified around 38,000 years ago. Both individuals from the Yana site were found to belong to mitochondrial haplogroup U, and Y chromosome haplogroup P1. This is currently the oldest human genetic material retrieved from Siberia.” ref

“The site has been radiocarbon dated to approximately 32,000 years ago, before the Last Glacial Maximum and more than twice the age of any previously known human settlement of the Arctic. By the time of the Last Glacial Maximum, around 21,000 years ago, the archaeological culture represented by the Yana site had disappeared. The Yana stone industry is flake-based, using a simple knapping technology. Blades are rare and microblades are absent. Large tools are mostly unifacial or incomplete bifaces. Among thousands of stone artifacts, no stone hunting tools have been discovered at the Yana site. Instead, hunting tools seem to have been made from bone and ivory. A variety of other stone tools have been found at the site, however, including chopping tools, scrapers, chisel-like tools, and a hammer stone. Organic materials are well-preserved at the site due to the permafrost. Around 2,500 bone and ivory artifacts have been discovered at the site between 2002 and 2016. These include a rhinoceros horn foreshaft and two mammoth ivory foreshafts, which may have been straightened with a shaft-wrench, combined with heating or steaming. The foreshafts are said to be similar to those of the Clovis culture, and are the earliest examples of bi-beveled osseous rods, and also the only example found outside the Americas. There are also numerous ivory utensils, bone and ivory points, bone needles, a punch or an awl made from wolf bone, decorations and personal ornaments, and hunting weapons.ref

“Non-local materials such as amber were used to manufacture ornaments such as pendants, suggesting high mobility or extensive trade networks. Over 1,500 beads, some painted with red ochre, have been discovered at the site. These include rounded mammoth ivory beads and tubular beads made from Pleistocene hare bone. Pendants were found made from reindeer teeth and herbivore incisors, and occasionally carnivore canines, or more rarely from minerals such as amber, as well as one specimen made from anthraxolite shaped like a horse or mammoth head. Ivory hair band ornaments are also found. Three-dimensional objects are less common, but include 19 antler animal figurines, probably intended to represent mammoths, three ornamented ivory vessels, and two engraved mammoth tusks, possibly engraved with drawings of hunters or dancers. The extent and density of the finds indicate a sustained and long-term human occupation of the site, and demonstrate a high level of cultural and technological development.ref


Formation and expansion of people having the Y Chromosome haplogroup K as well as of its descendants

“One of the descendants of the Y Chromosome haplogroup F, namely the haplogroup K, Map 6, was very productive as
well. It is now very rare, as well, but its descendants we find all over the world. The Y Chromosome haplogroup K
seems to had expanded east. From it there formed the haplogroup LT (45,400 years ago), which expanded south, whereas in Siberia there formed the haplogroup P (45,400 years ago). From the haplogroup LT there formed the haplogroup T (42,600 years ago), which members live from Ethiopia to Estonia, then haplogroup L (42,600), which members live in India and Middle East, and the haplogroup NO (41,500 years ago), which migrated to the South East Asia. There formed from the haplogroup NO the haplogroups N (36,800 years ago) and O (36,800 years ago). The haplogroup O is now the main haplogroup there (China, Tibet, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan), whereas part of the members of haplogroup N migrated north. From the haplogroup P there formed the haplogroup Q (31,900 years ago), which descendants live now in North East Asia and in Americas, as well as the haplogroup R (31,900 years ago), which members remained mainly in the Altai region, and there formed from the haplogroup R the haplogroup R1 (28,200 years ago), and from it the haplogroup R1a M420 (22,800 years ago) and R1b M 343 (22,800 years ago).” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

To me, Animism starts in Southern Africa, then to West Europe, and becomes Totemism. Another split goes near the Russia and Siberia border becoming Shamanism, which heads into Central Europe meeting up with Totemism, which also had moved there, mixing the two which then heads to Lake Baikal in Siberia. From there this Shamanism-Totemism heads to Turkey where it becomes Paganism.

I think animism started 100,000 years ago, totemism 50,000-45,000 years ago, and shamanism 30,000-35,000 years ago.

Animism (simplified to me as a belief in a perceived spirit world) passably by at least 100,000 years ago “the primal stage of early religion” To me, Animistic Somethingism: You just feel/think there has to be something supernatural/spirit-world or feel/think things are supernatural/spirit-filled.

Totemism (simplified to me, as a belief that these perceived spirits could be managed or related with by created physical expressions) passably by at least 50,000 years ago “progressed stage of early religion” A totem is a representational spirit being, a sacred object, or symbol of a group of people, clan, or tribe.

Shamanism (simplified to me as a belief that some special person can commune with these perceived spirits on the behalf of others by way of rituals) passably by at least 30,000 years ago Shamanism is an otherworld connection belief thought to heal the sick, communicate with spirits/deities, and escort souls of the dead.

Shamanism (beginning around 30,000 years ago)

Shamanism (such as that seen in Siberia Gravettian culture: 30,000 years ago). Gravettian culture (34,000–24,000 years ago; Western Gravettian, mainly France, Spain, and Britain, as well as Eastern Gravettian in Central Europe and Russia. The eastern Gravettians, which include the Pavlovian culture). And, the Pavlovian culture (31,000 – 25,000 years ago such as in Austria and Poland). 31,000 – 20,000 years ago Oldest Shaman was Female, Buried with the Oldest Portrait Carving.

Shamanism is approximately a 30,000-year-old belief system and believe in spirit-filled life and/or afterlife that can be attached to or be expressed in things or objects and these objects can be used by special persons or in special rituals that can connect to spirit-filled life and/or afterlife. If you believe like this, regardless of your faith, you are a hidden shamanist.

Around 29,000 to 25,000 years ago in Dolní Vestonice, Czech Republic, the oldest human face representation is a carved ivory female head that was found nearby a female burial and belong to the Pavlovian culture, a variant of the Gravettian culture. The left side of the figure’s face was a distorted image and is believed to be a portrait of an elder female, who was around 40 years old. She was ritualistically placed beneath a pair of mammoth scapulae, one leaning against the other. Surprisingly, the left side of the skull was disfigured in the same manner as the aforementioned carved ivory figure, indicating that the figure was an intentional depiction of this specific individual. The bones and the earth surrounding the body contained traces of red ocher, a flint spearhead had been placed near the skull, and one hand held the body of a fox. This evidence suggests that this was the burial site of a shaman. This is the oldest site not only of ceramic figurines and artistic portraiture but also of evidence of early female shamans. Before 5,500 years ago, women were much more prominent in religion.

Archaeologists usually describe two regional variants: the western Gravettian, known namely from cave sites in France, Spain, and Britain, and the eastern Gravettian in Central Europe and Russia. The eastern Gravettians include the Pavlovian culture, which were specialized mammoth hunters and whose remains are usually found not in caves but in open air sites. The origins of the Gravettian people are not clear, they seem to appear simultaneously all over Europe. Though they carried distinct genetic signatures, the Gravettians and Aurignacians before them were descended from the same ancient founder population. According to genetic data, 37,000 years ago, all Europeans can be traced back to a single ‘founding population’ that made it through the last ice age. Furthermore, the so-called founding fathers were part of the Aurignacian culture, which was displaced by another group of early humans members of the Gravettian culture. Between 37,000 years ago and 14,000 years ago, different groups of Europeans were descended from a single founder population. To a greater extent than their Aurignacian predecessors, they are known for their Venus figurines. 

refrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefref, & ref

“Evidence from personal ornaments suggest nine distinct cultural groups between 34,000 and 24,000 years ago in Europe. European personal ornament dataset analysis shows that Gravettian cultural geography is not explained by geographical proximity or shared biological descent.” refref

The Evidence of Shamanism Rituals in Early Prehistoric Periods of Europe and Anatolia

“Shamanism Rituals in Palaeolithic Siberian shamans (Eastern Eurasian Shamanism) believe that shamanism emerged in the period when hunting and gathering was the main means to support. Ethnographic evidence suggests that hunter-gatherer groups would have seen the environment as giving and reciprocating, and that their spirit worlds would have consisted largely of animals and natural features with which shaman-like figures may have mediated. From this point of view, it is best to begin investigating prehistoric shamanism in Palaeolithic rituals and related cave paintings of Europe. The shamanic hypothesis that cave art is based on a fusion of direct evidence from the caves themselves with observations of more recent hunter-gatherer societies that still produce rock art. However, not all cultures have specific shamanic ritual locations, and even when they are present, shamans will perform some rituals away from them. Ritual areas are typically viewed as the literal doorway between the spiritual and physical worlds, and are often an opening into the earth, like caves or springs, or elevated spaces such as mountains and even caves in mountains.” ref 

Shamanism is approximately a 30,000-year-old belief system and believe in spirit-filled life and/or afterlife that can be attached to or be expressed in things or objects and these objects can be used by special persons or in special rituals that can connect to spirit-filled life and/or afterlife. If you believe like this, regardless of your faith, you are a hidden shamanist.

Around 29,000 to 25,000 years ago in Dolní Vestonice, Czech Republic, the oldest human face representation is a carved ivory female head that was found nearby a female burial and belong to the Pavlovian culture, a variant of the Gravettian culture. The left side of the figure’s face was a distorted image and is believed to be a portrait of an elder female, who was around 40 years old. She was ritualistically placed beneath a pair of mammoth scapulae, one leaning against the other. Surprisingly, the left side of the skull was disfigured in the same manner as the aforementioned carved ivory figure, indicating that the figure was an intentional depiction of this specific individual. The bones and the earth surrounding the body contained traces of red ocher, a flint spearhead had been placed near the skull, and one hand held the body of a fox. This evidence suggests that this was the burial site of a shaman. This is the oldest site not only of ceramic figurines and artistic portraiture but also of evidence of early female shamans. Before 5,500 years ago, women were much more prominent in religion.

Archaeologists usually describe two regional variants: the western Gravettian, known namely from cave sites in France, Spain, and Britain, and the eastern Gravettian in Central Europe and Russia. The eastern Gravettians include the Pavlovian culture, which were specialized mammoth hunters and whose remains are usually found not in caves but in open air sites. The origins of the Gravettian people are not clear, they seem to appear simultaneously all over Europe. Though they carried distinct genetic signatures, the Gravettians and Aurignacians before them were descended from the same ancient founder population. According to genetic data, 37,000 years ago, all Europeans can be traced back to a single ‘founding population’ that made it through the last ice age. Furthermore, the so-called founding fathers were part of the Aurignacian culture, which was displaced by another group of early humans members of the Gravettian culture. Between 37,000 years ago and 14,000 years ago, different groups of Europeans were descended from a single founder population. To a greater extent than their Aurignacian predecessors, they are known for their Venus figurines. 

refref, refrefrefrefrefrefrefref, & ref


“Haplogroup U is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup (mtDNA). The clade arose from haplogroup R, likely during the early Upper Paleolithic. Its various subclades (labeled U1–U9, diverging over the course of the Upper Paleolithic) are found widely distributed across Northern and Eastern EuropeCentralWestern, and South Asia, as well as North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Canary Islands. Basal U was found in the 26,000-year-old remains of Ancient North EurasianMal’ta boy (MA1). The age of U5 is estimated at between 25,000 and 35,000 years old, roughly corresponding to the Gravettian culture. and is the DNA associated with the seeming first Gravettian shaman burial seen in the Pavlovian culture, around Dolní Věstonice in southern Moravia. One of the Dolní Věstonice burials, located near the huts, revealed a human female skeleton aged to 40+ years old, ritualistically placed beneath a pair of mammoth scapulae, one leaning against the other. Surprisingly, the left side of the skull was disfigured in the same manner as the aforementioned carved ivory figure, indicating that the figure was an intentional depiction of this specific individual. The bones and the earth surrounding the body contained traces of red ocher, a flint spearhead had been placed near the skull, and one hand held the body of a fox. This evidence suggests that this was the burial site of a shaman. This is the oldest site not only of ceramic figurines and artistic portraiture, but also of evidence of female shamans.” refrefrefref

“Approximately 11% of Europeans (10% of European-Americans) have some variant of haplogroup U5. U5 was the predominant mtDNA of mesolithic Western Hunter Gatherers (WHG). U5 has been found in human remains dating from the Mesolithic in England, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, France, and Spain. Neolithic skeletons (~7,000 years old) that were excavated from the Avellaner cave in Catalonia, northeastern Spain included a specimen carrying haplogroup U5. Haplogroup U5 and its subclades U5a and U5b today form the highest population concentrations in the far north, among SamiFinns, and Estonians. However, it is spread widely at lower levels throughout Europe. This distribution, and the age of the haplogroup, indicate individuals belonging to this clade were part of the initial expansion tracking the retreat of ice sheets from Europe around 10,000 years ago. The modern Basques and Cantabrians possess almost exclusively U5b lineages (U5b1f, U5b1c1, U5b2).” ref

6 Ice Age Humans (30,000 Years Ago)

Abstract: Starting about 35,000 years ago, humans seem to have made a great leap forward culturally. The authors argue that this wasn’t because of genetic changes that caused the human brain to have increased capacity. It was because some groups culturally evolved the “social tools” that allowed them to maintain connections and share information over long distances. The groups with the most effective social tools managed to stay connected and to survive, and their descendants inherited this culture of connectedness. It’s likely that forming greater connectedness and more complex culture was necessary in order to survive the periods of high climate variability that were a feature of the last ice age.” ref

“Archaeologists usually describe two regional variants: the western Gravettian, known mainly from cave sites in France, Spain, and Britain, and the eastern Gravettian in Central Europe and Russia. The eastern Gravettians, which include the Pavlovian culture, were specialized mammoth hunters, whose remains are usually found not in caves but in open air sites. Gravettian culture thrived on their ability to hunt animals. They utilized a variety of tools and hunting strategies. Compared to theorized hunting techniques of Neanderthals and earlier human groups, Gravettian hunting culture appears much more mobile and complex. They lived in caves or semi-subterranean or rounded dwellings which were typically arranged in small “villages”. Gravettians are thought to have been innovative in the development of tools such as blunted-back knives, tanged arrowheads, and boomerangs. Other innovations include the use of woven nets and oil lamps made of stone. Blades and bladelets were used to make decorations and bone tools from animal remains.” ref

“Gravettian culture extends across a large geographic region, as far as Estremadura in Portugal. but is relatively homogeneous until about 27,000 years ago. They developed burial rites, which included simple, purpose-built offerings and/or personal ornaments owned by the deceased, placed within the grave or tomb. Surviving Gravettian art includes numerous cave paintings and small, portable Venus figurines made from clay or ivory, as well as jewelry objects. The fertility deities mostly date from the early period; there are over 100 known surviving examples. They conform to a very specific physical type, with large breasts, broad hips and prominent posteriors. The statuettes tend to lack facial details, and their limbs are often broken off. During the post glacial period, evidence of the culture begins to disappear from northern Europe but was continued in areas around the Mediterranean. The Mal’ta Culture (c. 24,000 years ago) in Siberia is often considered as belonging to the Gravettian, due to its similar characteristics, particularly its Venus figurines, but any hypothetical connection would have to be cultural and not genetic: a 2016 genomic study showed that the Mal’ta people have no genetic connections with the people of the European Gravettian culture (the Vestonice Cluster).” ref

“Fu et al. (2016) examined the remains of fourteen Gravettians. The eight males included three samples of Y-chromosomal haplogroup CT, one of I, one IJK, one BT, one C1a2, and one sample of F. Of the fourteen samples of mtDNA, there were thirteen samples of U and one sample of M. The majority of the sample of U belonged to the U5 and U2. Teschler et al. (2020) examined the remains of one adult male and two twin boys from a Gravettian site in Austria. All belonged to haplogroup Y-Haplogroup I. and all had the same mtDNA, U5. According to Scorrano et al. (2022), “the genome of an early European individual from Kostenki 14, dated to around 37,000 years ago, demonstrated that the ancestral European gene pool was already established by that time.” ref


Here are Damien’s thoughts/speculations on where he believes is the possible origin of shamanism, which may have begun sometime around 35,000 to 30,000 years ago seen in the emergence of the Gravettian culture, just to outline his thinking, on what thousands of years later led to evolved Asian shamanism, in general, and thus WU shamanism as well. In both Europe-related “shamanism-possible burials” and in Gravettian mitochondrial DNA is a seeming connection to Haplogroup U. And the first believed Shaman proposed burial belonged to Eastern Gravettians/Pavlovian culture at Dolní Věstonice in southern Moravia in the Czech Republic, which is the oldest permanent human settlement that has ever been found. It is at Dolní Věstonice where approximately 27,000-25,000 years ago a seeming female shaman was buried and also there was an ivory totem portrait figure, seemingly of her.

“The Pavlovian is an Upper Paleolithic culture, a variant of the Gravettian, that existed in the region of Moravia, northern Austria, and southern Poland around 29,000–25,000 years ago. Its name is derived from the village of Pavlov, in the Pavlov Hills, next to Dolní Věstonice in southern Moravia. The culture used sophisticated stone age technology to survive in the tundra on the fringe of the ice sheets around the Last Glacial Maximum. Excavation has yielded flint implements, polished and drilled stone artifacts, bone spearheads, needles, digging tools, flutes, bone ornaments, drilled animal teeth, and seashells. Art or religious finds are bone carvings and figurines of humans and animals made of mammoth tusk, stone, and fired clay.” ref

“One of the burials, located near the huts, revealed a human female skeleton aged to 40+ years old, ritualistically placed beneath a pair of mammoth scapulae, one leaning against the other. Surprisingly, the left side of the skull was disfigured in the same manner as the aforementioned carved ivory figure, indicating that the figure was an intentional depiction of this specific individual. The bones and the earth surrounding the body contained traces of red ocher, a flint spearhead had been placed near the skull, and one hand held the body of a fox. This evidence suggests that this was the burial site of a shaman. This is the oldest site not only of ceramic figurines and artistic portraiture, but also of evidence of female shamans.” ref

“A burial of an approximately forty-year-old woman was found at Dolní Věstonice in an elaborate burial setting. Various items found with the woman have had a profound impact on the interpretation of the social hierarchy of the people at the site, as well as indicating an increased lifespan for these inhabitants. The remains were covered in red ochre, a compound known to have religious significance, indicating that this woman’s burial was ceremonial in nature. Also, the inclusion of a mammoth scapula and a fox are indicative of a high-status burial.” ref

“In the Upper Paleolithic, anatomically modern humans began living longer, often reaching middle age, by today’s standards. Rachel Caspari argues in “Human Origins: the Evolution of Grandparents,” that life expectancy increased during the Upper Paleolithic in Europe (Caspari 2011). She also describes why elderly people were highly influential in society. Grandparents assisted in childcare, perpetuated cultural transmission, and contributed to the increased complexity of stone tools (Caspari 2011). The woman found at Dolní Věstonice was old enough to have been a grandparent. Although human lifespans were increasing, elderly individuals in Upper Paleolithic societies were still relatively rare. Because of this, it is possible that the woman was attributed with great importance and wisdom, and revered because of her age. Because of her advanced age, it is also possible she had a decreased ability to care for herself, instead relying on her family group to care for her, which indicates strong social connections.” ref

“Furthermore, a female figurine was found at the site and is believed to be associated with the aged woman, because of remarkably similar facial characteristics. The woman was found to have deformities on the left side of her face. The special importance accorded with her burial, in addition to her facial deformity, makes it possible that she was a shaman in this time period, where it was “not uncommon that people with disabilities, either mental or physical, are thought to have unusual supernatural powers” (Pringle 2010).” ref

“In 1981, Patricia Rice studied a multitude of female clay figurines found at Dolní Věstonice, believed to represent fertility in this society. She challenged this assumption by analyzing all the figurines and found that, “it is womanhood, rather than motherhood that is symbolically recognized or honored” (Rice 1981: 402). This interpretation challenged the widely held assumption that all prehistoric female figurines were created to honor fertility. The fact is that we have no idea why these figurines proliferated nor of their purpose or usage.” ref

“Haplogroup U5 is estimated to be about 30,000 years old, and it is primarily found today in people with European ancestry. Both the current geographic distribution of U5 and testing of ancient human remains indicate that the ancestor of U5  expanded into Europe before 31,000 years ago. A 2013 study by Fu et al. found two U5 individuals at the Dolni Vestonice burial site in the Czech Republic that has been dated to 31,155 years ago.  A third person from the same burial was identified as haplogroup U8. The Dolni Vestonice samples have only two of the five mutations ( C16192T and C16270T) that are found in the present day U5 population. This indicates that the U5-(C16192T and C16270T) mtDNA sequence is ancestral to the present day U5 population that includes the additional three mutations T3197C, G9477A and T13617C.” ref

“Haplogroup U5 is thought to have evolved in the western steppe region and then entered Europe around 30,000 to 55,000 years ago. Results support previous hypotheses that haplogroup U5 mtDNAs expanded throughout Northern, Southern, and Central Europe with more recent expansions into Western Europe and Africa. The results further allow us to explain how U5 mtDNAs are now found with high frequency in Northern Europe, as well as delineate the origins of the specific U5 subhaplogroups found in that part of Europe.” ref 

“Haplogroup U5 is found throughout Europe with an average frequency ranging from 5% to 12% in most regions. U5a is most common in north-east Europe and U5b in northern Spain. Nearly half of all Sami and one fifth of Finnish maternal lineages belong to U5. Other high frequencies are observed among the Mordovians (16%), the Chuvash (14.5%) and the Tatars (10.5%) in the Volga-Ural region of Russia, the Estonians (13%), the Lithuanians (11.5%) and the Latvians in the Baltic, the Dargins (13.5%), Avars (13%) and the Chechens (10%) in the Northeast Caucasus, the Basques (12%), the Cantabrians (11%) and the Catalans (10%) in northern Spain, the Bretons (10.5%) in France, the Sardinians (10%) in Italy, the Slovaks (11%), the Croatians (10.5%), the Poles (10%), the Czechs (10%), the Ukrainians (10%) and the Slavic Russians (10%). Overall, U5 is generally found in population with high percentages of Y-haplogroups I1I2, and R1a, three lineages already found in Mesolithic Europeans. The highest percentages are observed in populations associated predominantly with Y-haplogroup N1c1 (the Finns and the Sami), although N1c1 is originally an East Asian lineage that spread over Siberia and Northeast Europe and assimilated indigenous U5 maternal lineages.” ref

“The age of haplogroup U5 is uncertain at present. It could have arisen as recently as 35,000 years ago, or as early was 50,000 years ago. U5 appear to have been a major maternal lineage among the Paleolithic European hunter-gatherers, and even the dominant lineage during the European Mesolithic. In two papers published two months apart, Posth et al. 2016 and Fu et al. 2016 reported the results of over 70 complete human mitochondrial genomes ranging from 45,000 to 7,000 years ago. The oldest U5 samples all dated from the Gravettian culture (c. 32,000 to 22,000 years ago), while the older Aurignacian samples belonged to mt-haplogroups M, N, R*, and U2. Among the 16 Gravettian samples that yielded reliable results, six belonged to U5 – the others belonging mostly to U2, as well as isolated samples of M, U*, and U8c. Two Italian Epigravettian samples, one from the Paglicci Cave in Apulia (18,500 years ago), and another one from Villabruna in Veneto (14,000 years ago), belonged to U5b2b, as did two slightly more recent Epipaleolithic samples from the Rhône valley in France. U5b1 samples were found in Epipalaeolithic Germany, Switzerland (U5b1h in the Grotte du Bichon), and France. More 80% of the numerous Mesolithic European mtDNA tested to date belonged to various subclades of U5. Overall, it appears that U5 arrived in Europe with the Gravettian tool makers, and that it particularly prospered from the end of the glacial period (from 11,700 years ago) until the arrival of Neolithic farmers from the Near East (between 8,500 and 6,000 years ago).” ref

“Carriers of haplogroup U5 were part of the Gravettian culture, which experienced the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 26,000 to 19,000 years ago). During this particularly harsh period, Gravettian people would have retreated into refugia in southern Europe, from which they would have re-expanded to colonise the northern half of the continent during the Late Glacial and postglacial periods. For reasons that are yet unknown, haplogroup U5 seems to have resisted better to the LGM to other Paleolithic haplogroups like U*, U2 and U8. Mitochondrial DNA being essential for energy production, it could be that the mutations selected in early U5 subclades (U5a1, U5a2, U5b1, U5b2) conferred an advantage for survival during the coldest millennia of the LGM, which had for effect to prune less energy efficient mtDNA lineages.” ref

“It is likely that U5a and U5b lineages already existed prior to the LGM and they were geographically scattered to some extent around Europe before the growing ice sheet forced people into the refugia. Nonetheless, founder effects among the populations of each LGM refugium would have amplified the regional division between U5b and U5a. U5b would have been found at a much higher frequency in the Franco-Cantabrian region. We can deduce this from the fact that modern Western Europeans have considerably more U5b than U5a, but also because the modern Basques and Cantabrians possess almost exclusively U5b lineages. What’s more, all the Mesolithic U5 samples from Iberia whose subclade could be identified belonged to U5b.” ref

“Conversely, only U5a lineages have been found so far in Mesolithic Russia (U5a1) and Sweden (U5a1 and U5a2), which points at an eastern origin of this subclade. Mesolithic samples from Poland, Germany and Italy yielded both U5a and U5b subclades. German samples included U5a2a, U5a2c3, U5b2 and U5b2a2. The same observations are valid for the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods too, with U5a1 being found in Russia and Ukraine, U5b in France (Cardium Pottery and Megalithic), U5b2 in Portugal. U5b1b1 arose approximately 10,000 years ago, over two millennia after the end of the Last Glaciation, when the Neolithic Revolution was already under way in the Near East. Despite this relatively young age, U5b1b1 is found scattered across all Europe and well beyond its boundaries. The Saami, who live in the far European North and have 48% of U5 and 42% of V lineages, belong exclusively to the U5b1b1 subclade. Amazingly, the Berbers of Northwest Africa also possess that U5b1b1 subclade and haplogroup V.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Here are my thoughts/speculations on where I believe is the possible origin of shamanism, which may have begun sometime around 35,000 to 30,000 years ago seen in the emergence of the Gravettian culture, just to outline his thinking, on what thousands of years later led to evolved Asian shamanism, in general, and thus WU shamanism as well. In both Europe-related “shamanism-possible burials” and in Gravettian mitochondrial DNA is a seeming connection to Haplogroup U. And the first believed Shaman proposed burial belonged to Eastern Gravettians/Pavlovian culture at Dolní Věstonice in southern Moravia in the Czech Republic, which is the oldest permanent human settlement that has ever been found. It is at Dolní Věstonice where approximately 27,000-25,000 years ago a seeming female shaman was buried and also there was an ivory totem portrait figure, seemingly of her.

And my thoughts on how cultural/ritual aspects were influenced in the area of Göbekli Tepe. I think it relates to a few different cultures starting in the area before the Neolithic. Two different groups of Siberians first from northwest Siberia with U6 haplogroup 40,000 to 30,000 or so. Then R Haplogroup (mainly haplogroup R1b but also some possible R1a both related to the Ancient North Eurasians). This second group added its “R1b” DNA of around 50% to the two cultures Natufian and Trialetian. To me, it is likely both of these cultures helped create Göbekli Tepe. Then I think the female art or graffiti seen at Göbekli Tepe to me possibly relates to the Epigravettians that made it into Turkey and have similar art in North Italy. I speculate that possibly the Totem pole figurines seen first at Kostenki, next went to Mal’ta in Siberia as seen in their figurines that also seem “Totem-pole-like”, and then with the migrations of R1a it may have inspired the Shigir idol in Russia and the migrations of R1b may have inspired Göbekli Tepe.

Seeming Connections: Totem poles, Ceremonial poles, Spirit poles, Sacred poles, Deity poles, Deities with poles, Pole star, Axis Mundi, Sacred trees, World tree, Maypole, Sun Dance with poles, etc.

“Migration from Siberia behind the formation of Göbeklitepe: Expert states. People who migrated from Siberia formed the Göbeklitepe, and those in Göbeklitepe migrated in five other ways to spread to the world, said experts about the 12,000-year-old Neolithic archaeological site in the southwestern province of Şanlıurfa.“ The upper paleolithic migrations between Siberia and the Near East is a process that has been confirmed by material culture documents,” he said.” ref

“Semih Güneri, a retired professor from Caucasia and Central Asia Archaeology Research Center of Dokuz Eylül University, and his colleague, Professor Ekaterine Lipnina, presented the Siberia-Göbeklitepe hypothesis they have developed in recent years at the congress held in Istanbul between June 11 and 13. There was a migration that started from Siberia 30,000 years ago and spread to all of Asia and then to Eastern and Northern Europe, Güneri said at the international congress.” ref

“The relationship of Göbeklitepe high culture with the carriers of Siberian microblade stone tool technology is no longer a secret,” he said while emphasizing that the most important branch of the migrations extended to the Near East. “The results of the genetic analyzes of Iraq’s Zagros region confirm the traces of the Siberian/North Asian indigenous people, who arrived at Zagros via the Central Asian mountainous corridor and met with the Göbeklitepe culture via Northern Iraq,” he added.” ref

“Emphasizing that the stone tool technology was transported approximately 7,000 kilometers from east to west, he said, “It is not clear whether this technology is transmitted directly to long distances by people speaking the Turkish language at the earliest, or it travels this long-distance through using way stations.” According to the archaeological documents, it is known that the Siberian people had reached the Zagros region, he said. “There seems to be a relationship between Siberian hunter-gatherers and native Zagros hunter-gatherers,” Güneri said, adding that the results of genetic studies show that Siberian people reached as far as the Zagros.” ref

“There were three waves of migration of Turkish tribes from the Southern Siberia to Europe,” said Osman Karatay, a professor from Ege University. He added that most of the groups in the third wave, which took place between 2600-2400 BCE, assimilated and entered the Germanic tribes and that there was a genetic kinship between their tribes and the Turks. The professor also pointed out that there are indications that there is a technology and tool transfer from Siberia to the Göbeklitepe region and that it is not known whether people came, and if any, whether they were Turkish.” ref

“Around 12,000 years ago, there would be no ‘Turks’ as we know it today. However, there may have been tribes that we could call our ‘common ancestors,’” he added. “Talking about 30,000 years ago, it is impossible to identify and classify nations in today’s terms,” said Murat Öztürk, associate professor from İnönü University. He also said that it is not possible to determine who came to where during the migrations that were accepted to have been made thousands of years ago from Siberia. On the other hand, Mehmet Özdoğan, an academic from Istanbul University, has an idea of where “the people of Göbeklitepe migrated to.” ref

“According to Özdoğan, “the people of Göbeklitepe turned into farmers, and they could not stand the pressure of the overwhelming clergy and started to migrate to five ways.” “Migrations take place primarily in groups. One of the five routes extends to the Caucasus, another from Iran to Central Asia, the Mediterranean coast to Spain, Thrace and [the northwestern province of] Kırklareli to Europe and England, and one route is to Istanbul via [Istanbul’s neighboring province of] Sakarya and stops,” Özdoğan said. In a very short time after the migration of farmers in Göbeklitepe, 300 settlements were established only around northern Greece, Bulgaria, and Thrace. “Those who remained in Göbeklitepe pulled the trigger of Mesopotamian civilization in the following periods, and those who migrated to Mesopotamia started irrigated agriculture before the Sumerians,” he said.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Based on the seeming evidence, I speculate that around 14,000 years ago, it could be possible Siberian Shamanism (along with dogs and a bird carving, different but yet possibly related to the bird carvings in Siberia dating from 24,000 to 15,000 years ago) was transferred to China, after “N” DNA reached Siberia bringing them pottery. Bird sculptures through ethnographic comparison at 24,000–15,000 years old Mal’ta with objects used by Siberian shamans, suggest a fully developed shamanism.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“North American archaeological periods divides the history of pre-Columbian North America into a number of named successive eras or periods, from the earliest-known human habitation through to the early Colonial period which followed the European colonization of the Americas.” ref

Lithic stage before 8500 BCE
Archaic period 8000 – 1000 BCE
Formative stage 1000 BCE – CE 500
Woodland period 1000 BCE – CE 1000
Classic stage CE 500 – 1200
Post-Classic stage after 1200

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

California-Peruvian connection

“The Cell study also revealed a surprising connection between ancient people living in California’s Channel Islands and the southern Peruvian Andes at least 4,200 years ago. It appears that these two geographically distant groups have a shared ancestry, the researchers found. It’s unlikely that people living in the Channel Islands actually traveled south to Peru, the researchers said. Rather, it’s possible that these groups’ ancestors sallied forth thousands of years earlier, with some ending up in the Channel Islands and others in South America. But those genes didn’t become common in Peru until much later, around 4,200 years ago, when the population may have exploded, the researchers said. It could be that this ancestry arrived in South America thousands of years before and we simply don’t have earlier individuals showing it,” study co-lead researcher Nathan Nakatsuka, a research assistant in the Reich lab at Harvard Medical School, said in the statement. “There is archaeological evidence that the population in the Central Andes area greatly expanded after around 5,000 years ago. Spreads of particular subgroups during these events may be why we detect this ancestry afterward.” ref

Pre-Columbian Ceramics

Ceramics of Indigenous peoples of the Americas is an art form with at least a 7500-year history in the Americas.” ref

The earliest ceramics made by humans were pottery objects (pots, vessels, or vases) or figurines made from clay, either by itself or mixed with other materials like silica, hardened and sintered in fire. The word ceramic comes from the Ancient Greek word κεραμικός (keramikós), meaning “of or for pottery” (from κέραμος (kéramos) ‘potter’s clay, tile, pottery’). The earliest known mention of the root ceram- is the Mycenaean Greek ke-ra-me-we, workers of ceramic, written in Linear B syllabic script. The word ceramic can be used as an adjective to describe a material, product, or process, or it may be used as a noun, either singular or, more commonly, as the plural noun ceramics.” ref

“Human beings appear to have been making their own ceramics for at least 26,000 years, subjecting clay and silica to intense heat to fuse and form ceramic materials. The earliest found so far were in southern central Europe and were sculpted figures, not dishes. The earliest known pottery was made by mixing animal products with clay and firing it at up to 800 °C (1,500 °F). While pottery fragments have been found up to 19,000 years old, it was not until about 10,000 years later that regular pottery became common. Ceramic artifacts have an important role in archaeology for understanding the culture, technology, and behavior of peoples of the past. They are among the most common artifacts to be found at an archaeological site, generally in the form of small fragments of broken pottery called sherds.” ref

In art history and archaeology, especially of ancient and prehistoric periods, pottery often means vessels only, and sculpted figurines of the same material are called terracottas. Pottery is one of the oldest human inventions, originating before the Neolithic period, with ceramic objects such as the Gravettian culture Venus of Dolní Věstonice figurine discovered in the Czech Republic dating back to 29,000–25,000 BCE. However, the earliest known pottery vessels were discovered in Jiangxi, China, which date back to 18,000 BCE. Other early Neolithic and pre-Neolithic pottery artifacts have been found, in Jōmon Japan (10,500 BCE), the Russian Far East (14,000 BCE), Sub-Saharan Africa (9,400 BCE), South America (9,000s–7,000s BCE), and the Middle East (7,000s–6,000s BCE).” ref

“It is valuable to look into pottery as an record of potential interaction between peoples. When pottery is placed within the context of linguistic and migratory patterns, it becomes an even more prevalent category of social artifact. A great part of the history of pottery is prehistoric, part of past pre-literate cultures. Therefore, much of this history can only be found among the artifacts of archaeology. Because pottery is so durable, pottery and shards of pottery survive for millennia at archaeological sites, and are typically the most common and important type of artifact to survive. Many prehistoric cultures are named after the pottery that is the easiest way to identify their sites, and archaeologists have developed the ability to recognize different types from the chemistry of small shards.” ref

“The potter’s wheel was invented in Mesopotamia sometime between 6,000 and 4,000 BCE (Ubaid period), and revolutionised pottery production. The earliest-known ceramic objects are Gravettian figurines such as those discovered at Dolní Věstonice in the modern-day Czech Republic. The Venus of Dolní Věstonice is a Venus figurine, a statuette of a nude female figure dated to 29,000–25,000 BCE (Gravettian industry). But there is no evidence of pottery vessels from this period. Weights for looms or fishing-nets are a very common use for the earliest pottery. Sherds have been found in China and Japan from a period between 12,000 and perhaps as long as 18,000 years ago. As of 2012, the earliest pottery vessels found anywhere in the world, dating to 20,000 to 19,000 years before the present, was found at Xianrendong Cave in the Jiangxi province of China.” ref

Other early pottery vessels include those excavated from the Yuchanyan Cave in southern China, dated from 16,000 BCE, and those found in the Amur River basin in the Russian Far East, dated from 14,000 BCE. The Odai Yamamoto I site, belonging to the Jōmon period, currently has the oldest pottery in Japan. Excavations uncovered earthenware fragments which have been dated as early as 14,500 BCE. The term “Jōmon” means “cord-marked” in Japanese. This refers to the markings made on the vessels and figures using sticks with cords during their production. Recent research has elucidated how Jōmon pottery was used by its creators.” ref

“Early type of pottery, also found at the site of Lahuradewa, is currently the oldest known pottery tradition in South Asia, dating back to 7,000–6,000 BCE. Wheel-made pottery began to be made during the Mehrgarh Period II (5,500–4,800 BCE) and Merhgarh Period III (4,800–3,500 BCE), known as the ceramic Neolithic and chalcolithic. Most evidence points to an independent development of pottery in the Native American cultures, with the earliest known dates from Brazil, from 9,500 to 5,000 years ago and 7,000 to 6,000 years ago. Further north in Mesoamerica, dates begin with the Archaic Era (3500–2000 BCE), and into the Formative period (2000 BCE – CE 200). These cultures did not develop the stoneware, porcelain or glazes found in the Old World. Maya ceramics include finely painted vessels, usually beakers, with elaborate scenes with several figures and texts. Several cultures, beginning with the Olmec, made terracotta sculpture, and sculptural pieces of humans or animals that are also vessels are produced in many places, with Moche portrait vessels among the finest.” ref

“The clay body is a necessary component of pottery. Clay must be mined and purified in an often laborious process, and certain tribes have ceremonial protocols to gathering clay. Different tribes have different processes for processing clay, which can include drying in the sun, soaking in water for days, and repeatedly running through a screen or sieve. Acoma and other Pueblo pottery traditionally pound dry clay into a powder and then remove impurities by hand, then running the dry powder through a screen, mixing it with a dry temper, and then mixing water to create a plastic paste. In preparing the clay, potters spend hours wedging it to remove air pockets and humidity that could easily cause it to explode during firing. The clay then needs to “cure” over time.” ref

Coiling is the most common means of shaping ceramics in the Americas. In coiling, the clay is rolled into a long, thin strands that are coiled upon each other to build up the shape of the pottery. While the potter builds the coils up, she also blends them together until there was no trace of the ropes of clay entwined to form the pot, no deviation in the thickness of the walls, and therefore no weaknesses. Potter’s wheels were not used prior to European contact and are only used today by a limited number of Native American artists. Pinch pots and other small clay objects could be formed directly by hand. Hohokam potters and their descendants in the American Southwest employed the paddle-and-anvil technique, in which the interior clay wall of a pot was supported by an anvil, while the exterior was beaten with a paddle, smoothing the surface. In precontact South America, ceramics were mass-produced using molds.” ref

Slip is a liquid clay suspension of mineral pigments applied to the ceramics before firing. Slips are typically red, buff, white, and black; however, Nazca culture ceramic artists in Peru perfected 13 distinct colors of slips. They also used a hand-rotated turntable that allowed all sides of a ceramic piece to be painted with ease. These were first used in 500 BCE and continue to be used today. Slips can be applied overall in washes, creating large color fields, often with cloth, or they can be painted in fine detail with brushes. Yucca leaves, chewed slightly to loosen fibers, make excellent brushes that are still in use today in the American Southwest. Negative painting is a technique employed by precontact Mississippian potters in the Eastern Woodlands, Mayan potters in Mesoamerica, and others, which involves covering the ceramic piece in beeswax or another resist, incising a design in the resist, then soaking the piece with a slip. In the firing process the resists melts away, leaving the colored design.” ref

“While still green, pottery can be incised with designs. Cords, textiles, baskets, and corncobs have been rolled over wet clay, both as a decoration and to improve heat dispersion in cooking pots. Carved wood or ceramic stamping paddles are used throughout the Southeastern Woodlands to create repeating designs. Clay can also be added to the main ceramic structure to build up designs. Before firing, ceramics can be burnished or polished to a fine sheen with a smooth instrument, usually a stone. Glazes are seldom used by indigenous American ceramic artists. Grease can be rubbed onto the pot as well. Prior to contact, pottery was usually open-air fired or pit fired; precontact Indigenous peoples of Mexico used kilns extensively. Today many Native American ceramic artists use kilns. In pit-firing, the pot is placed in a shallow pit dug into the earth along with other unfired pottery, covered with wood and brush, or dung, then set on fire whereupon it can harden at temperatures of 1400 degrees or more. Finally, the ceramics surface is often polished with smooth stones.” ref

“Not all Indigenous American pottery requires added tempers; some Hopi potters use pure kaolin clay that does not require tempering. Some clays naturally contain enough temper that they do not required additional tempers. This includes mica or sand in clays used in some Taos Pueblo, Picuris Pueblo, and Hopi pottery, and sponge spicules in the clay used to produce the “chalky ware” of the St. Johns cultureCeramics are often used to identify archaeological cultures. The type of temper (or mix of tempers) used helps to distinguish the ceramics produced by different cultures during particular time periods. For example, the Hohokam used schist containing silver mica as a temper in their plainware; the shiny particles of the mica gave the pottery a mystical shimmer.” ref 

“Grog, sand, and sandstone were all used by Ancestral Pueblo people and other Southwestern cultures. Crushed bone was used as temper in at least some ceramics at a number of sites in Texas. In the Southeastern United States, the earliest ceramics were tempered with fiber such as Spanish moss and palmetto leaves. In Louisiana, fiber as tempering was replaced first by grog and later by shell. In peninsular Florida and coastal Georgia sand replaced fiber as tempering. Still later, freshwater sponge spicules became an important temper in the “chalky ware” of the St. Johns culture in northeastern Florida. Locally produced ceramics of the Lucayan people in the Bahamas were characterized by crushed conch shell tempering, as opposed to the quartz sand-tempered ware imported from Hispaniola.” ref

“The choice of temper used in ceramics was constrained by what was available, but changes in the choice of temper can provide clues to influence and trade relations between groups. Shell-tempered ware was produced sporadically in various places across the eastern United States, but in the late Woodland and early Mississippian periods it became the predominant temper used across much of the Mississippi Valley and middle gulf coast, and a major defining characteristic of Mississippian culture pottery.” ref

“The earliest ceramics known from the Americas have been found in the lower Amazon Basin. Ceramics from the Caverna da Pedra Pintada, near Santarém, Brazil, have been dated to between 7,500 and 5,000 years ago. Ceramics from Taperinha, also near Santarém, have been dated to 8,000 to 7,000 years ago. Some of the sherds at Taperinho were shell-tempered, which allowed the sherds themselves to be radiocarbon dated. These first ceramics-making cultures were fishers and shellfish-gatherers.” ref

“Ceramics appeared next across northern South America and then down the western side of South America and northward through Mesoamerica. Ceramics of the Alaka culture in Guyana have been dated to 6,000 to 4,500 years ago. Ceramics of the San Jacinto culture in Colombia have been dated to about 4530 BCE, and at Puerto Hormiga, also in Colombia, to about 3794 BCE. Ceramics appeared in the Valdivia culture in Ecuador around 3200 BCE, and in the Pandanche culture in Peru around 2460 BCE.” ref

“The spread of ceramics in Mesoamerica came later. Ceramics from Monagrillo in Panama have been dated to around 2140 BCE, from Tronadora in Costa Rica to around 1890 BCE, and from Barra in the Soconusco of Chiapas to around 1900 BCE. Ceramics of the Purrón tradition in southcentral Mexico have been dated to around 1805 BCE, and from the Chajil tradition of northcentral Mexico, to around 1600 BCE.” ref

“The appearance of ceramics in the Southeastern United States does not fit the above pattern. Ceramics from the middle Savannah River in Georgia and South Carolina (known as Stallings, Stallings Island, or St. Simons) have been dated to about 2888 BCE (around 4888 years ago), and ceramics of the Orange and Norwood cultures in northern Florida to around 2460 BCE (around 4460 years ago) (all older than any other dated ceramics from north of Colombia). Ceramics appeared later elsewhere in North America. Ceramics reached southern Florida (Mount Elizabeth) by 4000 years ago, Nebo Hill (in Missouri) by 3700 years ago, and Poverty Point (in Louisiana) by 3400 years ago.” ref

Eastern Woodlands

Southeastern Woodlands

“Geological studies show that certain areas of the southeastern portion of North America are rich in kaolins and ball clays (Hosterman, USGS), the types of plastic clays best suited for pottery. Clay beds which still produce ceramic clays are from primary and secondary deposits formed in the Late Paleocene and Early Miocene Epochs in formations that formed the Gulf Coastal Plain. According to all geological surveys the entire southeastern portion of the continent has abundant clay deposits, with the exception of all of south Florida and a portion of western central Florida (Calver) (Matson).” ref

“Fiber-tempered ceramics associated with shell middens left by Late Archaic hunter-fisher-gatherers appeared in the Atlantic coastal plain of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina starting in 2500 BCE. The earliest attested pottery is in the Stallings culture area, around the middle Savannah River. Fiber-tempered pottery of the Orange culture in northeast Florida has been dated to 2000 BC or a bit earlier. Fiber-tempered pottery of very similar form spread along coasts and river valleys of the Southeastern United States from the Atlantic coast into Alabama, reaching northwestern Florida (Norwood culture) and the Gulf coast by 1300 BC, the interior Middle South by 1100, and Poverty Point by 1000 BCE.” ref

“Thoms Creek ceramics closely resembled Stallings ceramics, but used more sand and less fiber as temper than Stalling or Orange ware. Thoms Creek ceramics were largely contemporary with Stalling and Orange ceramics, although no Thoms Creek ceramics have been found that are as early as the earliest Stallings. Thoms Creek ceramics overlapped Stallings ceramics in northern Georgia and southern South Carolina, but were the dominant tradition north of the Santee River into North Carolina.” ref

“The similarities of the Stallings series ceramics to the earlier Puerto Hormiga ceramics of Colombia, which were both associated with shell rings, and the presence of winds and ocean currents favoring journeys from South America to the Southeastern United States, led James A. Ford, among other archaeologists, to offer the hypothesis that the two areas had connections, and that the technology of fiber-tempered ceramics in the southeastern United States had been imported from Colombia. Other archaeologists have noted that there are no known archaeological sites between Colombia and Florida that are of a type or age consistent with such connections, and that the cultural traditions of the Southeastern United States show no significant changes associated with the appearance of ceramics, indicating that there was no migration or people, and no transfer of technology or other elements of culture, other than the appearance of ceramics.” ref

“Later significant developments in ceramics in the Southeastern Woodlands included Mississippian culture pottery in the Mississippi River valley, and Weedon Island pottery, a style of pottery used primarily in ceremonial contexts and high status burials, produced and traded along the Gulf of Mexico coast from southwestern Florida to the Florida panhandle.” ref

  • Swift Creek and Santa Rosa culture pottery post Deptford, northwest Florida, ceremonial decorative pottery, 1000 CE.
  • Glade and Belle Glade culture pottery fiber or sand-tempered crude pottery, south Florida to central Florida, 500 BCE until 1700 CE, reference four periods I, II, III and IV
  • Alachua culture pottery northeast, north central Florida, protohistoric period
  • Plaquemine culture pottery, ceramics of the Natchez people, a historic tribe known also to be one of the last of the Plaquemine culture chiefdoms in southwestern Mississippi
  • Fort Walton culture pottery distinctively Mississippi culture in Florida panhandle, developed out of the Weedon Island culture 1000 CE.” ref

Great Basin

Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin based their pottery on basketry. The Fremont culture of central Utah (700–1300 CE) developed pottery after adopting agriculture. Paiute and Washoe people in the western Great Basin developed plain, utilitarian ceramics separately, which was not burnished but occasionally featured red painted designs. The Owens Valley Brown Ware is an example of Paiute/Washoe ceramics, which was used for cooking, food storage, and water jugs. The jugs often featured clay handles that accommodated carrying straps.” ref

Mesoamerican pottery

Colombia and Venezuela

“Fiber-tempered ceramics associated with shell middens left by hunter-fisher-gatherers of the Early Northwest South American Literature appeared at sites such as Puerto Hormiga, Monsú, Puerto Chacho, and San Jacinto in Colombia by 3100 BCE. Fiber-tempered ceramics at Monsú have been dated to 5940 radiocarbon years before present. The fiber-tempered pottery at Puerto Hormiga was “crude”, formed from a single lump of clay. The fiber-tempered pottery at San Jacinto is described as “well-made”. Sand-tempered coiled ceramics have also been found at Puerto Horrible.” ref

Ráquira, a town in the Boyacá Department, Colombia, is a major ceramics center, where both indigenous techniques and those introduced by Europeans are employed to create primarily utilitarian pots based on Chibcha designs. Ceramic mobiles, nativity scenes, and animal figurines are popular, especially ceramic horses, which have been the symbol of Colombian pottery. La Chamba in the Tolima Department is known for its blackware. The women potters here also create brown and red ware.” ref

Andean region

“In the Andes, great civilizations had been created and flourished for thousands of years during the Andean preceramic period. Yet the ceramics appear only during the Initial Period around 1800 BCE. Their main purpose may have been for boiling agricultural produce. The earliest ceramics in the Andean area have been radiocarbon dated to about 1800 BC, although according to John H. Rowe the date may go back even to 2100 BC. Early ceramics have been found on the central coast at the large settlement of Las Haldas, at Huarmey, as well as at some other sites in the Casma River region, and in Lima area.” ref

Chavín potters (900–200 BCE) on the Peruvian coast created distinctive stirrup spout vessels, both incised and highly burnished. These thin-walled effigy pots were fashioned to resemble stylized humans, plants, and animals. Two substyles of Chavín stirrup spout pots include the thicker-walls, glossy-on-matte blackware Cupisnique style and red and black Santa Ana style, both featuring fanged heads. Subsequent Andean cultures revived these ancient ceramics styles and imagery.” ref

Paracas culture, from Peru’s desert south coast, created highly detailed ceramics, that were often painted after firing. Paints, made with an acacia resin binder, were commonly warm yellow, olive green, red-orange, white, and black in color. Paracas artists built upon Chavín styles and introduced the double spout-and-bridge vessel and distinctive masks portraying a supernatural “Oculate Being,” that combines human, owl, and double-headed snake forms.” ref

Nasca culture, another south coastal Peruvian culture, returned to the less fragile practice slip-painted their ceramics prior to firing. They created thirteen distinct colors, the larger palette found in Pre-Columbian ceramics in the Americas, which included rare pale purple, maroon, and bluish-grey. Nasca artists created ceremonial and utilitarian bowls and beakers, effigy jars, panpipes, and vessels of new designs, including the stepped-fret. These combined sculptural elements with surface painting, often with curvilinear designs emphasized by bold, black outlining. Painters used revolving turntables to paint all sides of a ceramic piece.” ref

“Dominating Peru’s north coast from 1–600 CE, the Moche culture excelled at the art of ceramics, which was characterized by symbolic, religious imagery. Moche artists produced some of the more naturalistic, i.e. faithfully representational, artwork of the precolumbian Americas. Moche portrait vessel were so realistic that individuals portrayed at different stages of their life are identifiable. Their paintings on ceramics were narrative and action-packed. Ceramics produced by two-press molds were identical in shape but individualized through unique surface painting. Tens of thousands of Moche ceramics have survived today. The stirrup-spout vessel continued to be the most common form of clay vessel, but Moche artists also created bowls, dippers, jars with long necks, spout-and-handle vessels, and double-chambered vessels that whistled when liquid was poured. Vessels were often effigies portraying elaborate scenes. A fineline painting tradition emerged, which resembles Greek black-figure pottery. A 29,000-square-foot Moche ceramics workshop with numerous kilns was discovered in at the mountain Mayal in the Chicama Valley. The workshop specialized in female figurines.” ref

“The Tiwanaku and Wari cultures shared dominance of the Andes, roughly from 500 to 1000 BCE. The Tiwanaku civilizations originated in Lake Titicaca region of Bolivia, and a staff-bearing deity figured largely in their artwork.  Tiwanaku artists continued the tradition of naturalistic, ceramic portrait vessels. The ubiquitous Wari ceramics carried over imagery from their textiles and metalwork, such as llama and alpaca imagery. Qunchupata in Peru was the epicenter of Wari ceramic production, featuring pit kilns and firing rooms. The stone floors of the firing rooms had rounded depressions for accommodating larger pots. Some Wari palaces had their own attached kilns. Broken potsherds were used as forms for building new pots and for scrapers. Evidence shows ceramics were often ritually destroyed.” ref

“Four Andean civilizations flourished in Late Intermediate Period: the Chancay, Chimú, Lambayeque, and Ica. Luxury goods, including elaborate ceramics, were mass-produced in vast quantities for the middle class as well as nobles. Identical ceramics created in molds took sway over individualized works. The Lambayeque culture of north coastal Peru created press-molded reliefs on blackware ceramics. Chimú ceramics, also predominantly blackware, often featured zoomorphic appliqués, such as monkeys or sea birds. They excelled at the doubled-chambered whistling vessels. Chancay ceramics, from the central coast, featured black-on-white designs on unique shapes, such as female effigies or elongated, oval jars. Their sand-tempered ceramics were hastily painted and left unpolished.  Ica culture ceramics, from the southern coasts, were the finest quality of their time. They were still handcrafted and had a wide range of polychrome slips, including black, maroon, orange, purple, red, white, and a glittery deep purple. Designs were abstract and geometric.” ref

“The Inca Empire or Tawantinsuyo spanned 3500 miles and controlled the world’s largest empire by 1500 CE. Artistically, they unified regional styles. Incan ceramics were geometric and understated, while color schemes remained regionally diverse. Mass-produced pottery, conformed to standardized measurements, such as the urpu, a long-necked jar with handles and a pointed bottom used to transport maize and chicha, maize beer. Qirus were Incan drinking vessels, made from wood or precious metals, as well as ceramics.” ref


“The pottery tradition at Pedra Pintada in Brazil represents the oldest known ceramics in the Americas. Dating back to 5630 BCE, this same tradition continued for 2500 years. Ceramics from the Taperinha site near Santarém, Brazil date back to 5130 BCE and include sand-tempered bowls and cooking vessels resembling gourds. Other ancient Amazonian ceramic traditions, Mina and Uruá-Tucumã featured shell- and sand-tempered pottery, that was occasionally painted red. Around 1000 CE, dramatic new ceramic styles emerged throughout Amazonia. Amazonian ceramics are geometric and linear in decoration. Polychrome pottery typically features red and black on white slips. Additionally ceramics were decorated by sculpting, incision, excision, and grooving. In the upper and central Amazon, the bark of the caraipé tree, Licania octandra, provided tempering material.” ref

“In regions of terra preta, or “black earth”, of the Amazon rainforest, an abundance of potsherds were used to develop the soil and build mounds, which protected buildings and cemeteries from seasonal flooding. Marajó Island, located at the mouth of the Amazon River was a major ceramic center, where the Marajoara Phase of polychrome ceramics last from around 400 to 1300 CE. In the central Amazon, the Mancapuru Phase, or Incised Rim Tradition, emerged in the 5th century CE. Marajoara ceramics, typically tempered with grog, were complex effigies of humans and animals, such as reptiles and birds. The dead were cremated and buried in elaborate ceramic urns. Ceramic artists are active in Marajó, using precontact styles for inspiration.” ref

“Women have traditionally been the ceramic artists in the Amazon. Female figures are common in anthropomorphic effigy vessels. Tangas are a unique Amazonian cultural item; they are triangular, concave ceramic pubic coverings held in place by strings, once worn by women of several Amazonian tribes. Today, they are still worn by girls during their puberty rites among Panoan-speaking peoples.” ref

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy”, remains of 24,000 years ago in central Siberia Mal’ta-Buret’ culture 24,000-15,000 years ago. The Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) samples (Afontova Gora 3, Mal’ta 1, and Yana-RHS) show evidence for minor gene flow from an East Asian-related group (simplified by the Amis, Han, or Tianyuan) but no evidence for ANE-related geneflow into East Asians (Amis, Han, Tianyuan), except the Ainu, of North Japan.” ref 

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy”, remains of 24,000 years ago in central Siberia Mal’ta-Buret’ culture 24,000-15,000 years ago “basal to modern-day Europeans”. Some Ancient North Eurasians also carried East Asian populations, such as Tianyuan Man.” ref

“Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were ANE at around 50% and Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) at around 75% ANE. Karelia culture: Y-DNA R1a-M417 8,400 years ago, Y-DNA J, 7,200 years ago, and Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297 7,600 years ago is closely related to ANE from Afontova Gora, 18,000 years ago around the time of blond hair first seen there.” ref 

Ancient North Eurasian

“In archaeogenetics, the term Ancient North Eurasian (often abbreviated as ANE) is the name given to an ancestral West Eurasian component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture and populations closely related to them, such as from Afontova Gora and the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site. Significant ANE ancestry are found in some modern populations, including Europeans and Native Americans.” ref 

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy“, the remains of an individual who lived during the Last Glacial Maximum, 24,000 years ago in central Siberia, Ancient North Eurasians are described as a lineage “which is deeply related to Paleolithic/Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Europe,” meaning that they diverged from Paleolithic Europeans a long time ago.” ref

“The ANE population has also been described as having been “basal to modern-day Europeans” but not especially related to East Asians, and is suggested to have perhaps originated in Europe or Western Asia or the Eurasian Steppe of Central Asia. However, some samples associated with Ancient North Eurasians also carried ancestry from an ancient East Asian population, such as Tianyuan Man. Sikora et al. (2019) found that the Yana RHS sample (31,600 BP) in Northern Siberia “can be modeled as early West Eurasian with an approximately 22% contribution from early East Asians.” ref

“Populations genetically similar to MA-1 were an important genetic contributor to Native Americans, Europeans, Central Asians, South Asians, and some East Asian groups, in order of significance. Lazaridis et al. (2016:10) note “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia.” The ancient Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were found to have a noteworthy ANE component at ~50%.” ref

“According to Moreno-Mayar et al. 2018 between 14% and 38% of Native American ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal’ta–Buret’ people (ANE). This difference is caused by the penetration of posterior Siberian migrations into the Americas, with the lowest percentages of ANE ancestry found in Eskimos and Alaskan Natives, as these groups are the result of migrations into the Americas roughly 5,000 years ago.” ref 

“Estimates for ANE ancestry among first wave Native Americans show higher percentages, such as 42% for those belonging to the Andean region in South America. The other gene flow in Native Americans (the remainder of their ancestry) was of East Asian origin. Gene sequencing of another south-central Siberian people (Afontova Gora-2) dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures to that of Mal’ta boy-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum.” ref

“The earliest known individual with a genetic mutation associated with blonde hair in modern Europeans is an Ancient North Eurasian female dating to around 16000 BCE from the Afontova Gora 3 site in Siberia. It has been suggested that their mythology may have included a narrative, found in both Indo-European and some Native American fables, in which a dog guards the path to the afterlife.” ref

“Genomic studies also indicate that the ANE component was introduced to Western Europe by people related to the Yamnaya culture, long after the Paleolithic. It is reported in modern-day Europeans (7%–25%), but not of Europeans before the Bronze Age. Additional ANE ancestry is found in European populations through paleolithic interactions with Eastern Hunter-Gatherers, which resulted in populations such as Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers.” ref

“The Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) split from the ancestors of European peoples somewhere in the Middle East or South-central Asia, and used a northern dispersal route through Central Asia into Northern Asia and Siberia. Genetic analyses show that all ANE samples (Afontova Gora 3, Mal’ta 1, and Yana-RHS) show evidence for minor gene flow from an East Asian-related group (simplified by the Amis, Han, or Tianyuan). In contrast, no evidence for ANE-related geneflow into East Asians (Amis, Han, Tianyuan), except the Ainu, was found.” ref

“Genetic data suggests that the ANE formed during the Terminal Upper-Paleolithic (36+-1,5ka) period from a deeply European-related population, which was once widespread in Northern Eurasia, and from an early East Asian-related group, which migrated northwards into Central Asia and Siberia, merging with this deeply European-related population. These population dynamics and constant northwards geneflow of East Asian-related ancestry would later gave rise to the “Ancestral Native Americans” and Paleosiberians, which replaced the ANE as dominant population of Siberia.” ref

Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) is a lineage derived predominantly (75%) from ANE. It is represented by two individuals from Karelia, one of Y-haplogroup R1a-M417, dated c. 8.4 kya, the other of Y-haplogroup J, dated c. 7.2 kya; and one individual from Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297, dated c. 7.6 kya. This lineage is closely related to the ANE sample from Afontova Gora, dated c. 18 kya. After the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, the Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) and EHG lineages merged in Eastern Europe, accounting for early presence of ANE-derived ancestry in Mesolithic Europe. Evidence suggests that as Ancient North Eurasians migrated West from Eastern Siberia, they absorbed Western Hunter-Gatherers and other West Eurasian populations as well.” ref

Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) is represented by the Satsurblia individual dated ~13 kya (from the Satsurblia cave in Georgia), and carried 36% ANE-derived admixture. While the rest of their ancestry is derived from the Dzudzuana cave individual dated ~26 kya, which lacked ANE-admixture, Dzudzuana affinity in the Caucasus decreased with the arrival of ANE at ~13 kya Satsurblia.” ref

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) is represented by several individuals buried at Motala, Sweden ca. 6000 BC. They were descended from Western Hunter-Gatherers who initially settled Scandinavia from the south, and later populations of EHG who entered Scandinavia from the north through the coast of Norway.” ref

“Iran Neolithic (Iran_N) individuals dated ~8.5 kya carried 50% ANE-derived admixture and 50% Dzudzuana-related admixture, marking them as different from other Near-Eastern and Anatolian Neolithics who didn’t have ANE admixture. Iran Neolithics were later replaced by Iran Chalcolithics, who were a mixture of Iran Neolithic and Near Eastern Levant Neolithic.” ref

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American are specific archaeogenetic lineages, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago. The AB lineage diverged from the Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage about 20,000 years ago.” ref

“West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSHG) are a specific archaeogenetic lineage, first reported in a genetic study published in Science in September 2019. WSGs were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% to 38% East Asian ancestry.” ref

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent closely related to the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic–Caspian steppe. This ancestry is often referred to as Yamnaya ancestry or Steppe ancestry.” ref

“Late Upper Paeolithic Lake Baikal – Ust’Kyakhta-3 (UKY) 14,050-13,770 BP were mixture of 30% ANE ancestry and 70% East Asian ancestry.” ref

“Lake Baikal Holocene – Baikal Eneolithic (Baikal_EN) and Baikal Early Bronze Age (Baikal_EBA) derived 6.4% to 20.1% ancestry from ANE, while rest of their ancestry was derived from East Asians. Fofonovo_EN near by Lake Baikal were mixture of 12-17% ANE ancestry and 83-87% East Asian ancestry.” ref

Hokkaido Jōmon people specifically refers to the Jōmon period population of Hokkaido in northernmost Japan. Though the Jōmon people themselves descended mainly from East Asian lineages, one study found an affinity between Hokkaido Jōmon with the Northern Eurasian Yana sample (an ANE-related group, related to Mal’ta), and suggest as an explanation the possibility of minor Yana gene flow into the Hokkaido Jōmon population (as well as other possibilities). A more recent study by Cooke et al. 2021, confirmed ANE-related geneflow among the Jōmon people, partially ancestral to the Ainu people. ANE ancestry among Jōmon people is estimated at 21%, however, there is a North to South cline within the Japanese archipelago, with the highest amount of ANE ancestry in Hokkaido and Tohoku.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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My Speculations are in Comparative Mythologies?

For instance, the mytheme of an ancient belief that is seemingly shared though changed and adapted, a fundamental generic unit of narrative structure seems to be shared a common relation with mountains/ancestors/gods or sacred animals with Sacred Mounds, Mountains, Kurgans, and Pyramids

North America Area (with Deities/paganism and Shamanism/or “medicine people”)

  1. Eskimo–Aleut or Inuit–Yupik–Unangan languages
  2. Na-Dené, Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit languages
  3. The Algic: Algonquian–Wiyot–Yurok languages
  4. Siouan–Catawban languages
  5. Uto-Aztecan languages
  6. Salishan languages
  7. Muskogean languages

Mesoamerica Aera (with Deities/paganism and Shamanism/or “medicine people”)

5. Uto-Aztecan languages

8. Mayan languages

9. Chibchan languages

South America Area (with Deities/paganism and Shamanism/or “medicine people”)

  1. Chibchan languages
  2. Cariban languages
  3. Quechuan languages
  4. Arawakan languages
  5. Tupian languages
  6. Macro-Jê languages
  7. Chonan languages

Pre-contact: distribution of North, Central, and South American language families and

their Deities/Paganism or Religious/Spiritual beliefs like Shamanism/or “medicine people”

“The term medicine man/woman, like the term shaman, has been criticized by Native Americans, as well as other specialists in the fields of religion and anthropology. While non-Native anthropologists often use the term shaman for Indigenous healers worldwide, including the Americas, shaman is the specific name for a spiritual mediator from the Tungusic peoples of Siberia and is not used in Native American or First Nations communities.” ref

Shamanism (simplified to me as a belief that some special person can commune with these perceived spirits on the behalf of others by way of rituals) possibly by at least 30,000 years ago Shamanism is an otherworld connection belief thought to heal the sick, communicate with spirits/deities, and escort souls of the dead.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Art and info adapted from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)

I enjoy this book a lot. I liked the part about the seats and their relations. I see seating in art and archaeology can often seem to relate to hierarchy: elites, chiefdom/religious figures, or deities.

“We recognize that communities and constellations of practice entail activities that overlap, transcend, and defy categorization within conventional geographic or cultural boundaries. Indigenous peoples of the Americas include more than half a million speakers of indigenous languages. And while identity can sometimes to linked to indigenous languages, indigenous identities are further complicated for indigenous groups whose identities are not strictly tied to language.” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)

“Shellfish was a major source of protein, and shells also became tools and artifacts. In Pre-Colombia art and oral traditions, many animals that were not utilized for food, still feature prominently: birds (Vultures and Eagles), felids (Jaguars, Ocelots, Margays, and others), crocodiles (Crocodiles and Caymans), saurian (Iguanas and basilisks), anurans (Frogs and Toads), rodents (Agoutis and Rabbits), snakes (Pit vipers and Rattlesnakes), and simians (Spider, Howler, Capuchin, and Squirrel monkeys) .” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)  

The early Holocene period (“The Holocene: began approximately 9,700 BCE or 11,650 cal years ago, and corresponds with the rapid proliferation, growth, and impacts of the human species worldwide, including all of its written historytechnological revolutions, development of major civilizations, and overall significant transition towards urban living in the present. ref), saw the first documented use of wild food plants.” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)   

Genetic diversity may have begun in the Late Pleistocene (“between 129,000 to 11,700 years ago ref) as populations crossing the Isthmus (“Isthmus and land bridge are related terms, with isthmus having a broader meaning. A land bridge is an isthmus connecting Earth’s major land masses. ref) dispersing both eastward and south. According to the linguistic and genetic evidence, the Chibchan-speaking populations separated into distinct groups in the Early Holocene and maintained a significant level of identity and cohesion thought the archaeological record.” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)    

“People spoke Chibchan languages throughout the Isthmo-Colombian Area, from eastern Honduras to southern Colombia. There is no reason to characterize Chibchan languages as “South American” than there is to label them “Central American.” Furthermore, what some authors called “Mesoamerican influence” in Colombia may have come from southern Central America instead. New evidence confirms chthonous expansion beginning in the Late Pleistocene of populations, technologies, sociopolitical strategies, interregional interactions, and ideological systems.” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)  

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


“These ideas are my speculations from the evidence.”

I am still researching the “god‘s origins” all over the world. So you know, it is very complicated but I am smart and willing to look, DEEP, if necessary, which going very deep does seem to be needed here, when trying to actually understand the evolution of gods and goddesses. I am sure of a few things and less sure of others, but even in stuff I am not fully grasping I still am slowly figuring it out, to explain it to others. But as I research more I am understanding things a little better, though I am still working on understanding it all or something close and thus always figuring out more. 

Sky Father/Sky God?

“Egyptian: (Nut) Sky Mother and (Geb) Earth Father” (Egypt is different but similar)

Turkic/Mongolic: (Tengri/Tenger Etseg) Sky Father and (Eje/Gazar Eej) Earth Mother *Transeurasian*

Hawaiian: (Wākea) Sky Father and (Papahānaumoku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

New Zealand/ Māori: (Ranginui) Sky Father and (Papatūānuku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

Proto-Indo-European: (Dyus/Dyus phtr) Sky Father and (Dʰéǵʰōm/Plethwih) Earth Mother

Indo-Aryan: (Dyaus Pita) Sky Father and (Prithvi Mata) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Italic: (Jupiter) Sky Father and (Juno) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Etruscan: (Tinia) Sky Father and (Uni) Sky Mother *Tyrsenian/Italy Pre–Indo-European*

Hellenic/Greek: (Zeus) Sky Father and (Hera) Sky Mother who started as an “Earth Goddess” *Indo-European*

Nordic: (Dagr) Sky Father and (Nótt) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Slavic: (Perun) Sky Father and (Mokosh) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Illyrian: (Deipaturos) Sky Father and (Messapic Damatura’s “earth-mother” maybe) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Albanian: (Zojz) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Baltic: (Perkūnas) Sky Father and (Saulė) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Germanic: (Týr) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Colombian-Muisca: (Bochica) Sky Father and (Huythaca) Sky Mother *Chibchan*

Aztec: (Quetzalcoatl) Sky Father and (Xochiquetzal) Sky Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Incan: (Viracocha) Sky Father and (Mama Runtucaya) Sky Mother *Quechuan*

China: (Tian/Shangdi) Sky Father and (Dì) Earth Mother *Sino-Tibetan*

Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian: (An/Anu) Sky Father and (Ki) Earth Mother

Finnish: (Ukko) Sky Father and (Akka) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Sami: (Horagalles) Sky Father and (Ravdna) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Puebloan-Zuni: (Ápoyan Ta’chu) Sky Father and (Áwitelin Tsíta) Earth Mother

Puebloan-Hopi: (Tawa) Sky Father and (Kokyangwuti/Spider Woman/Grandmother) Earth Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Puebloan-Navajo: (Tsohanoai) Sky Father and (Estsanatlehi) Earth Mother *Na-Dene*



Sky Father/Sky Mother “High Gods” or similar gods/goddesses of the sky more loosely connected, seeming arcane mythology across the earth seen in Siberia, China, Europe, Native Americans/First Nations People and Mesopotamia, etc.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

“These ideas are my speculations from the evidence.”

“1 central Eurasian Neolithic individual from Tajikistan (around 8,000 years ago) and approximately 8,200 years ago Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov group from Karelia in western Russia formed by 19 genomes affinity to Villabruna ancestry than all the other Eastern Hunter-Gatherer groups”

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Axis Mundi

In astronomy, axis mundi is the Latin term for the axis of Earth between the celestial poles. In a geocentric coordinate system, this is the axis of rotation of the celestial sphere. Consequently, in ancient Greco-Roman astronomy, the axis mundi is the axis of rotation of the planetary spheres within the classical geocentric model of the cosmos. In 20th-century comparative mythology, the term axis mundi – also called the cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, the center of the world, or world tree – has been greatly extended to refer to any mythological concept representing “the connection between Heaven and Earth” or the “higher and lower realms.” ref

Mircea Eliade introduced the concept in the 1950s. Axis mundi closely relates to the mythological concept of the omphalos (navel) of the world or cosmos. Items adduced as examples of the axis mundi by comparative mythologists include plants (notably a tree but also other types of plants such as a vine or stalk), a mountain, a column of smoke or fire, or a product of human manufacture (such as a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagoda, temple mount, minaret, church) or secular (obelisk, lighthouse, rocket, skyscraper). The image appears in religious and secular contexts. The axis mundi symbol may be found in cultures utilizing shamanic practices or animist belief systems, in major world religions, and in technologically advanced “urban centers”. In Mircea Eliade‘s opinion: “Every Microcosm, every inhabited region, has a Centre; that is to say, a place that is sacred above all.” ref

“There are multiple interpretations about the origin of the concept of the axis mundi. One psychological and sociological interpretation suggests that the symbol originates in a natural and universal psychological perception – i.e., that the particular spot that one occupies stands at “the center of the world”. This space serves as a microcosm of order because it is known and settled. Outside the boundaries of the microcosm lie foreign realms that – because they are unfamiliar or not ordered – represent chaos, death, or night. From the center, one may still venture in any of the four cardinal directions, make discoveries, and establish new centers as new realms become known and settled. The name of China — meaning “Middle Nation” (中国 pinyin: Zhōngguó) – is often interpreted as an expression of an ancient perception that the Chinese polity (or group of polities) occupied the center of the world, with other lands lying in various directions relative to it.” ref

“A second interpretation suggests that ancient symbols such as the axis mundi lie in a particular philosophical or metaphysical representation of a common and culturally shared philosophical concept, which is that of a natural reflection of the macrocosm (or existence at grand scale) in the microcosm (which consists of either an individual, community, or local environment that shares the same principles and structures as the macrocosm). In this metaphysical representation of the universe, mankind is placed into an existence that serves as a microcosm of the universe or the entire cosmic existence, and who – in order to achieve higher states of existence or liberation into the macrocosm – must gain necessary insights into universal principles that can be represented by his life or environment in the microcosm. In many religious and philosophical traditions around the world, mankind is seen as a sort of bridge between either: two worlds, the earthly and the heavenly (as in Hindu, and Taoist philosophical and theological systems); or three worlds, namely the earthly, heavenly, and the “sub-earthly” or “infra-earthly” (e.g., the underworld, as in the Ancient Greek, Incan, Mayan, and Ancient Egyptian religious systems). Spanning these philosophical systems is the belief that man traverses a sort of axis, or path, which can lead from man’s current central position in the intermediate realms into heavenly or sub-earthly realms. Thus, in this view, symbolic representations of a vertical axis represent a path of “ascent” or “descent” into other spiritual or material realms, and often capture a philosophy that considers human life to be a quest in which one develops insights or perfections in order to move beyond this current microcosmic realm and to engage with the grand macrocosmic order.” ref

“In other interpretations, an axis mundi is more broadly defined as a place of connection between heavenly and the earthly realms – often a mountain or other elevated site. Tall mountains are often regarded as sacred and some have shrines erected at the summit or base. Mount Kunlun fills a similar role in China. Mount Kailash is holy to Hinduism and several religions in Tibet. The Pitjantjatjara people in central Australia consider Uluru to be central to both their world and culture. The Teide volcano was for the Canarian aborigines (Guanches) a kind of axis mundi. In ancient Mesopotamia, the cultures of ancient Sumer and Babylon built tall platforms, or ziggurats, to elevate temples on the flat river plain. Hindu temples in India are often situated on high mountains – e.g., Amarnath, Tirupati, Vaishno Devi, etc. The pre-Columbian residents of Teotihuacán in Mexico erected huge pyramids, featuring staircases leading to heaven. These Amerindian temples were often placed on top of caves or subterranean springs, which were thought to be openings to the underworld. Jacob’s Ladder is an axis mundi image, as is the Temple Mount. For Christians, the Cross on Mount Calvary expresses this symbol. The Middle Kingdom, China, had a central mountain, Kunlun, known in Taoist literature as “the mountain at the middle of the world”. To “go into the mountains” meant to dedicate oneself to a spiritual life.” ref

“As the abstract concept of axis mundi is present in many cultural traditions and religious beliefs, it can be thought to exist in any number of locales at once. Mount Hermon was regarded as the axis mundi in Canaanite tradition, from where the sons of God are introduced descending in 1 Enoch 6:6. The ancient Armenians had a number of holy sites, the most important of which was Mount Ararat, which was thought to be the home of the gods as well as the center of the universe. Likewise, the ancient Greeks regarded several sites as places of Earth’s omphalos (navel) stone, notably the oracle at Delphi, while still maintaining a belief in a cosmic world tree and in Mount Olympus as the abode of the gods. Judaism has the Temple Mount; Christianity has the Mount of Olives and Calvary; and Islam has the Ka’aba (said to be the first building on Earth), as well as the Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock). In Hinduism, Mount Kailash is identified with the mythical Mount Meru and regarded as the home of Shiva; in Vajrayana Buddhism, Mount Kailash is recognized as the most sacred place where all the dragon currents converge and is regarded as the gateway to Shambhala. In Shinto, the Ise Shrine is the omphalos.” ref

“Sacred places can constitute world centers (omphaloi), with an altar or place of prayer as the axis. Altars, incense sticks, candles, and torches form the axis by sending a column of smoke, and prayer, toward heaven. It has been suggested by Romanian religious historian Mircea Eliade that architecture of sacred places often reflects this role: “Every temple or palace – and by extension, every sacred city or royal residence – is a Sacred Mountain, thus becoming a Centre.” Pagoda structures in Asian temples take the form of a stairway linking earth and heaven. A steeple in a church or a minaret in a mosque also serve as connections of earth and heaven. Structures such as the maypole, derived from the Saxons Irminsul, and the totem pole among indigenous peoples of the Americas also represent world axes. The calumet, or sacred pipe, represents a column of smoke (the soul) rising from a world center. A mandala creates a world center within the boundaries of its two-dimensional space analogous to that created in three-dimensional space by a shrine. In the classical elements and the Vedic Pancha Bhoota, the axis mundi corresponds to Aether, the quintessence.” ref

“A common shamanic concept, and a universally told story, is that of the healer traversing the axis mundi to bring back knowledge from the other world. It may be seen in the stories from Odin and the World Ash Tree to the Garden of Eden and Jacob’s Ladder to Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. It is the essence of the journey described in The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The epic poem relates its hero’s descent and ascent through a series of spiral structures that take him through the core of the earth, from the depths of hell to celestial paradise. It is also a central tenet in the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex. Anyone or anything suspended on the axis between heaven and earth becomes a repository of potential knowledge. A special status accrues to the thing suspended: a serpent, a rod, a fruit, mistletoe. Derivations of this idea find form in the Rod of Asclepius, an emblem of the medical profession, and in the caduceus, an emblem of correspondence and commercial professions. The staff in these emblems represents the axis mundi, while the serpents act as guardians of, or guides to, knowledge.” ref

“Secular structures can also function as axes mundi. In Navajo culture, the hogan acts as a symbolic cosmic center. In some Asian cultures, houses were traditionally laid out in the form of a square oriented toward the four compass directions. A traditional home was oriented toward the sky through feng shui, a system of geomancy, just as a palace would be. Traditional Arab houses are also laid out as a square surrounding a central fountain that evokes a primordial garden paradise. Mircea Eliade noted that “the symbolism of the pillar in [European] peasant houses likewise derives from the ‘symbolic field’ of the axis mundi. In many archaic dwellings, the central pillar does in fact serve as a means of communication with the heavens, with the sky.” The nomadic peoples of Mongolia and the Americas more often lived in circular structures. The central pole of the tent still operated as an axis, but a fixed reference to the four compass points was avoided.” ref

“Plants often serve as images of the axis mundi. The image of the Cosmic Tree provides an axis symbol that unites three planes: sky (branches), earth (trunk), and underworld (roots). In some Pacific Island cultures, the banyan tree – of which the Bodhi tree is of the Sacred Fig variety – is the abode of ancestor spirits. In the Hindu religion, the banyan tree is considered sacred and is called ashwath vriksha (“Of all trees I am the banyan tree” – Bhagavad Gita). It represents eternal life because of its seemingly ever-expanding branches. The Bodhi tree is also the name given to the tree under which Gautama Siddhartha, the historical Buddha, sat on the night he attained enlightenment.” ref

“The Mesoamerican world tree connects the planes of the underworld and the sky with that of the terrestrial realm. The Yggdrasil, or World Ash, functions in much the same way in Norse mythology; it is the site where Odin found enlightenment. Other examples include Jievaras in Lithuanian mythology and Thor’s Oak in the myths of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis present two aspects of the same image. Each is said to stand at the center of the paradise garden from which four rivers flow to nourish the whole world. Each tree confers a boon. Bamboo, the plant from which Asian calligraphy pens are made, represents knowledge and is regularly found on Asian college campuses. The Christmas tree, which can be traced in its origins back to pre-Christian European beliefs, represents an axis mundi. In Yoruba religionoil palm is the axis mundi (though not necessarily a “world tree”) that Ọrunmila climbs to alternate between heaven and earth.” ref

“The human body can express the symbol of the world axis. Some of the more abstract Tree of Life representations, such as the sefirot in Kabbalism and the chakra system recognized by Hinduism and Buddhism, merge with the concept of the human body as a pillar between heaven and earth. Disciplines such as yoga and tai chi begin from the premise of the human body as axis mundi. The Buddha represents a world center in human form. Large statues of a meditating figure unite the human form with the symbolism of the temple and tower. Astrology in all its forms assumes a connection between human health and affairs and celestial-body orientation. World religions regard the body itself as a temple and prayer as a column uniting earth and heaven. The ancient Colossus of Rhodes combined the role of the human figure with those of portal and skyscraper. The Renaissance image known as the Vitruvian Man represented a symbolic and mathematical exploration of the human form as world axis.” ref

The Center of the World “Axis Mundi” and/or “Sacred Mountains” Mythology Could Relate to the Altai Mountains, Heart of the Steppe

“Golden Mountains of Altai is the name of the Altai and Katun Natural Reserves, Lake Teletskoye, Belukha Mountain, and the Ukok Plateau. The region represents the most complete sequence of altitudinal vegetation zones in central Siberia, from steppe, forest-steppe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine vegetation”. The Altai region is made up of four primary sites and landscapes: Mount Belukha, the Ukok Plateau, the Katun River, and the Karakol Valley. Mount Beluka is regarded as a sacred site to Buddhists and the Burkhanist. Their myths surrounding this portion of the mountain range lent credence to their claim that it was the location of Shangri-la (Shambala). The Ukok Plateau is an ancient burial site of the early Siberian people. Moreover, a number of myths are connected to this portion of the Golden Mountains. For example, the plateau was thought to have been the Elysian fields. The Katun River is an important religious location to the Altaians where they (during celebrations) utilize ancient ecological knowledge to restore and maintain the river. The Karakol Valley is home of three indigenous villages where tourism is greatly managed. While the Golden Mountains of Altai are listed on the World Heritage List under natural criteria, it holds information about the nomadic Scythian culture. The permafrost in these mountains has preserved Scythian burial mounds. These frozen tombs, or kurgans, hold metal objects, pieces of gold, mummified bodies, tattooed bodies, sacrificed horses, wood/leather objects, clothes, textiles, etc. However, the Ukok Plateau (in the Altai Mountains) is a sacred site to the Altai people, so archeologists and scholars who are looking to excavate the site for human remains raise controversy.” ref

Altai Mountains

“The Altai Mountains (also spelled Altay Mountains), are a mountain range in Central and East Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their headwaters. The massif merges with the Sayan Mountains in the northeast, and gradually becomes lower in the southeast, where it merges into the high plateau of the Gobi Desert. It spans from about 45° to 52° N and from about 84° to 99° E. The region is inhabited by a sparse but ethnically diverse population, including Russians, Kazakhs, Altais, and Mongols. The local economy is based on bovine, sheep, and horse husbandry, agriculture, forestry, and mining. The controversial Altaic language family takes its name from this mountain range.” ref

“The name comes from two words: al meaning “gold/reddish/yellowish” in Mongolic language, and -tai meaning “mountain” in Turkic languages too; thus, literally, the “Golden Mountain”. That matches their old Chinese name 金山, literally “Gold Mountain”. Also, the word altın/altun/al which means gold is a cognate word for Turkic and Mongolic languages. The mountains are called Altain nuruu (Алтайн нуруу) in Khalkha Mongolian, altai-yin niruɣu in Chakhar Mongolian, and Altay tuular (Алтай туулар) in the Altay language. They are also called Алтай таулары or التاي تاۋلارى‎ in Kazakh; Altay dağları in Turkish; Altajskije gory (Алтайские горы) in Russian; Altay Taghliri (ىالتاي تاغلىرى‎ or Алтай Тағлири) in Uyghur; ā’ěrtài shānmài in Chinese (阿尔泰山脉 simplified, 阿爾泰山脈 traditional, or اَعَرتَىْ شًامَىْ‎ in Xiao’erjing); and Arteː shanmeː (Артэ Шанмэ) in Dungan.” ref

“In the north of the region is the Sailughem Mountains, also known as Kolyvan Altai, which stretch northeast from 49° N and 86° E towards the western extremity of the Sayan Mountains in 51° 60′ N and 89° E. Their mean elevation is 1,500 to 1,750 m. The snow-line runs at 2,000 m on the northern side and at 2,400 m on the southern, and above it the rugged peaks tower some 1,000 m higher. Mountain passes across the range are few and difficult, the chief being the Ulan-daban at 2,827 m (2,879 m according to Kozlov), and the Chapchan-daban, at 3,217 m, in the south and north respectively. On the east and southeast this range is flanked by the great plateau of Mongolia, the transition being affected gradually by means of several minor plateaus, such as Ukok (2,380 m) with Pazyryk Valley, Chuya (1,830 m), Kendykty (2,500 m), Kak (2,520 m), (2,590 m), and (2,410 m). This region is studded with large lakes, e.g. Uvs 720 m above sea level, Khyargas, Dorgon, and Khar 1,170 m, and traversed by various mountain ranges, of which the principal are the Tannu-Ola Mountains, running roughly parallel with the Sayan Mountains as far east as the Kosso-gol, and the Khan Khökhii mountains, also stretching west and east.” ref

“The Altai mountains are home to a diverse fauna, because of its different habitats, like steppes, northern taigas, and alpine vegetation. Steep slopes are home to the Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica), whereas the rare argali (Ovis ammon) is found on more gentle slopes. Deer are represented by five species: Altai wapiti (Cervus elaphus sibiricus), moose (Alces alces), forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus valentinae), Siberian musk deer (Moschus moschiferus), and Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus). Moose and reindeer, however, are restricted to the northern parts of the mountain range. The wild boar (Sus scrofa) is found in the lower foothills and surrounding lowlands. Until recently, the Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa) was found in the Russian Altai mountains, more specifically in the Chuya River steppe close to the Mongolian border. Large predators are represented by snow leopards (Panthera uncia, syn. Uncia uncia), wolves (Canis lupus), lynx (Lynx lynx), and brown bears (Ursus arctos), in the northern parts also by the wolverine (Gulo gulo). The Tien Shan dhole (Cuon alpinus hesperius) (a northwestern subspecies of the Asiatic wild dog) also lives there. And until the 20th century, the Caspian tiger (Panthera tigris virgata) was found in the southern parts of the Altai mountains, where it reached Lake Zaisan and the Black Irtysh. Single individuals were also shot further north, for example, close to Barnaul. Closely related to the Caspian tiger is the extant Amur tiger, which has the taxonomic name Panthera tigris altaica. The wisent was present in the Altai mountains until the Middle Ages, perhaps even until the 18th century. Today, there is a small herd in a nursery in the Altai Republic.” ref

“The Altai mountains have retained a remarkably stable climate-changing little since the last ice age. In addition, the mix of mammals has remained largely the same, with a few exceptions such as extinct mammoths, making it one of the few places on earth to retain an ice age fauna. The Altai mountains were home to the Denisovan branch of hominids who were contemporaries of Neanderthals and of Homo sapiens (modern humans), descended from Hominids who reached Asia earlier than modern humans. The Denisova hominin, dated to 40,000 years ago, was discovered in the Denisova Cave of the Altai mountains in southern Siberia. Knowledge of the Denisovan humans derives primarily from DNA evidence and artifacts, as no complete skeletons have yet been recovered. DNA evidence has been unusually well preserved because of the low average temperature in the Denisova caves. Neanderthal bones and tools made by Homo sapiens have also been found in the Denisova Cave, making it the only place in the world where all three hominids are known to have lived.” ref

A dog-like canid from 33,000 years ago was found in the Razboinichya Cave. DNA analysis published affirmed that it was more closely related to modern dogs than to wolves. The Altai Mountains have been identified as being the point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon which arose during the Bronze Age around the start of the 2nd millennium BCE and led to a rapid and massive migration of peoples from the region into distant parts of Europe and Asia.” ref

The five highest mountains of the Altai are:

· Belukha, 4,506 m (14,783 ft), Kazakhstan–Russia

· Khüiten Peak , 4,374 m (14,350 ft), China–Mongolia

· Mönkh Khairkhan , 4,204 m (13,793 ft), Mongolia

· Sutai Mountain , 4,220 m (13,850 ft), Mongolia

· Tsambagarav , 4,195 m (13,763 ft), Mongolia ref

“Sacred mountains are central to certain religions and are the subjects of many legends. For many, the most symbolic aspect of a mountain is the peak because it is believed that it is closest to heaven or other religious worlds. Many religions have traditions centered on sacred mountains, which either are or were considered holy (such as Mount Olympus in Greek mythology) or are related to famous events (like Mount Sinai in Judaism and descendant religions). In some cases, the sacred mountain is purely mythical, like the Hara Berezaiti in Zoroastrianism. Mount Kailash is believed to be the abode of the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati, and is considered sacred in four religions: Hinduism, Bon, Buddhism, and Jainism. Volcanoes, such as Mount Etna in Italy, were also considered sacred, Mount Etna being believed to have been the home of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and the forge. The north face of Mount Kailash, a mountain in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China which is considered sacred by four religions.” ref

Greek and Inca

Mount Olympus is the highest mountain peak in Greece. It was once regarded as the “home of the Greek Gods/The Twelve Olympians of the Hellenistic World”. It was also considered the site of the War of the Titans (Titanomachy) where Zeus and his siblings defeated the Titans. Mount Othrys is a mountain in Central Greece, which is believed to be the home of the Titans during the ten-year war with the Gods of Mount Olympus.” ref

Mount Ida, also known as Mountain of the Goddess, refers to two specific mountains: one in the Greek island of Crete and the other in Turkey (formerly known as Asia Minor). Mount Ida is the highest mountain on the island of Crete is the sacred mountain of the Titaness Rhea, also known as the mother of the Greek Gods. It is also believed to be the cave where Greek God Zeus was born and raised.” ref

“The other Mount Ida is located in Northwestern Turkey alongside the ruins of Troy (in reference to the Hellenistic Period). The mountain was dedicated to Cybele, the Phrygian (modern-day Turkey) version of Earth Mother. Cybele was the goddess of caverns and mountains. Some refer to her as the “Great Mother” or “Mother of the Mountain”. The mythic Trojan War is said to have taken place at Mount Ida and that the Gods gathered upon the mountaintop to observe the epic fight. Mount Ida in Turkey is also represented in many of the stories of Greek author Homer such as Iliad and Odyssey.” ref

Mount Athos, located in Greece, is also referred to as the Holy Mountain. It has great historical connections with religion and classical mythology. In Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox forms of Christianity, it is believed that after the Ascension of the Lord, the Virgin Mary landed on the island and came upon a pagan temple. It was there that the pagan practitioners converted from paganism to Christianity. The Virgin Mary then blessed the land and claimed it her own.” ref

“In classical mythology, Mount Athos is named after the Thracian giant who battled Poseidon, God of the Sea, during the clash of the titans and Gods. It is also said that Greek historian was given the task of creating a canal through the mountain after the failed journey of Persian leader, Xerxes. Over time, Alexander the Great has become associated with the mountain for his worldly powers. The myth states that Roman architect Dinocrates had wanted to carve Alexander the Great’s figure onto the top of the mountain in tribute to him.” ref

“The ancient Inca displayed a connection with death and their mountains. It is well known by scholars that the Inca sensed a deep reservoir of spirituality along the mountain range. Situating their villages in the mountains, they felt these places acted as portal to the gods. Ritual child sacrifices called Capachochas were conducted annually, where the most precious gift that could be given (innocent, blemishless, perfect human life) would be sacrificed to the gods. Tremendous effort would be taken as the sacrificial victims would be paraded alive throughout the cities, with multiple festivals and feasts taking place. The final destination would be the tops of some of the highest mountains near their villages, leaving these sacrifices to freeze in the snow. These would take place during great times of distress, during times of famine, violent periods of war, and even during times of political shift. This connection with the mountain as a sacred space is paramount. There would be no other place that would be sufficient or acceptable enough for the gods to accept these gifts. It is neither a surprise nor a coincidence that their honored dead were placed on the highest peaks of the mountains to express the shared connection between the sacred mountain, the gods, and the dead.” ref

Other religious beliefs

Machapuchare, a sacred Nepalese mountain, viewed from foothills. Various cultures around the world maintain the importance of mountain worship and sacredness. One example is the Taranaki peoples of New Zealand. The Taranaki tribe view Mount Taranaki as sacred. The tribe was historically sustained by this mountain’s waterways. As in other instances in Māori mythology, the mountain is anthropomorphised in various stories. For the tribespeople, Mount Taranaki has a deep spiritual significance and is seen as a life force. It is viewed as the place where life is given and to where people are returned after death.” ref

“In Korea, people have maintained ancient ways of worshiping mountain spirits. While they are not in fact worshiping the land itself, the gods associated with this worship are united to the land. These spirits are female entities to whom people pay tribute while passing by the mountains, asking for good luck and protection. People also travel to these mountains to ask for fertility. While people generally hold to these female deities for protection or to perpetuate life, one of their most important functions is to protect the dead. The ponhyangsansin is a guardian spirit that is protecting an important clan grave site in the village. Each mountain goddess has an equally interesting story that is tied to their accounts of war against Japan, and the historical legacy of their emperors. Each spirit learned difficult lessons and experienced some sort of hardship. These legacies in the mountains serve as a kind of monument to the history of Korea. While many of the accounts may be true, their details and accuracy are shrouded by time and ritual. While the inaugurations of new ponhyang san sin are not being conducted, fallen important clansmen and leaders are strategically placed in the mountains in order for these strong, heroine-like spirits may fiercely guard their graves. The history of Korea is in turn protecting its own future.” ref

“In Japan, Mount Kōya-san is the home to one of the holiest Buddhist monastery complexes in the country. It was founded by a saint, Kukai, who is also known as Kobo Dashi and is regarded as a famous wandering mystic; his teachings are infamous throughout Japan and he is credited with being an important figure in shaping early Japanese culture. Buddhists believe that Kobo Dashi is not dead, but will instead awake and assist in bringing enlightenment to all people, alongside the Buddha and other bodhisattvas. It is believed that he was shown the sacred place to build the monastery by a forest god; this site is now the location of a large cemetery that is flanked by 120 esoteric Buddhist temples. Approximately a million pilgrims visit Mount Kōya-san a year; these pilgrims have included both royals and commoners who wish to pay their respects to Kobo Dashi. Mount Fuji, known as Fuji-san in Japanese, is another sacred mountain in Japan. Several Shinto temples flank its base, which all pay homage to the mountain. A common belief is that Fuji-san is the incarnation of the earth spirit itself. The Fuki-ko sect maintains that the mountain is a holy being, and the home to the goddess Sengen-sama. Annual fire festivals are held there in her honor. Fuji-san is also the site of pilgrimages; reportedly, 40,000 people climb up to its summit every year.” ref

“Tibet’s Mount Kailash is a sacred place to five religions: Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Bon Po (a native Tibetan religion prior to Buddhism), Sikhism, and Ayyavazhi religions. According to Hinduism and Ayyavazhi, Mount Kailash is the home of the deity Shiva. In the Hindu religion, Mount Kailash also plays an important role in Rama’s journey in the ancient Sanskrit epic, Ramayana. Buddhists hold that Mount Kailash is the home of Samvara, a guardian deity, and a representation of the Buddha. Buddhists believe that Mount Kailash has supernatural powers that are able to clean the sins of a lifetime of any person. Followers of Jainism believe that Kailash is the site where the founder of Jainism reached enlightenment. Bon Po teaches that Mount Kailash is the home of a wind goddess. Followers of Sikhism believe the 1st Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak arrived at Mt. Kailash during the 3rd Uddasi (divine journey) and debated with the Siddhas.” ref

Mount Meru is a cosmic mountain which is described to be one of the highest points on Earth and is the center of all creation. In the Hindu religion, it is believed that Meru is home to the god Brahma, who is believed to be the father of the human race and all the demigods produced afterward. Indian cosmology believes that the sun, moon, and stars all revolve around Mount Meru. Folklore suggests the mountain rose up from the ground piercing the heavens giving it the moniker “navel of the universe”.” ref

“According to the Torah, and consequently the Old Testament of the Bible, Mount Sinai is the location that Moses received the Ten Commandments directly from God. The tablets form the covenant, which is a central cornerstone of the Jewish faith. Saint Catherine’s Monastery is located at the foot of Sinai. It was founded by empress Helena, who was the mother of the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine. It was completed under the rule of Justinian two centuries later. The monastery was visited by the prophet Muhammed, who blessed it and promised: “that it would be cherished by Muslims for all time”. Today, the monastery is home to a group of Greek Orthodox monks, as well as a large collection of Byzantine art, illuminated manuscripts, icons, and books; the collection of icons, in particular, has been proclaimed one of the oldest in the world.” ref

“The Navajo possess a strong belief system in regards to the natural-supernatural world and have a belief that objects have a supernatural quality. For example, the Navajo consider mountains to be sacred. There are four peaks, which are believed to have supernatural aspects. The mountains each represent a borderline of the original Navajo tribal land. The mountain ranges include Mount Taylor, the San Francisco Peaks, Blanca Peak, and Hesperus Peak located in the La Plata Mountains.” ref

“Each mountain/peak is representative of a color, direction, and correlates with a cultural light phenomenon dealing with the cosmic scheme of the rising and of the setting sun. Directionally, the mountains are described in a clockwise motion following the movement of the Sun beginning with the eastern mountain of Blanca Peak. Blanca Peak is associated with the color white and the “Dawn Man” referring to the rising of the sun. Next in the south is Mount Taylor, which is associated with the color blue and the “Horizontal Blue Man” referring to the daytime. In the west is the San Francisco Peaks, which is representative of the color yellow and the “Horizontal Yellow Woman” and is associated with the setting of the sun. And finally in the north is the Hesperus Peak of the La Plata Mountains which is given the color black and belongs to the light phenomenon of the “Darkness Woman” representing the nighttime.” ref

Community identity

“History shows that mountains were commonly part of a complex system of mountain and ancestor worship. Having immortalized fallen brethren in the edifice, the people share a common allegiance with all the other people of a community. The meanings that were etched into the mountain and mound terrain connected the villagers. They were all subject to the same landscape and village history, which were bound together by their cultural significance. The history of ancestors could be told by simply pointing at specific mountains and remembering the stories that were passed down throughout the generations. The worship of ancestors and the mountains were largely inseparable. An interconnected web between history, landscape, and culture was thus formed. Examples of this would be the Hindu belief that Mount Kailas is the final resting place for the souls of the dead, as well as the large cemetery placed on Mount Kōya-san.” ref

“Sacred mountains can also provide an important piece of a culture’s identity. For example, Bruno Messerli and Jack Ives write, “The Armenian people regard Mount Ararat, a volcano in eastern Turkey believed to be the site of Noah’s Ark in the Bible, to be a symbol of their natural and cultural identity”. As a result of the mountain’s role as a part of a cultural identity, even people who do not live close to the mountain feel that events occurring to the mountain are relevant to their own personal lives. This results in communities banning certain activities near the mountain, especially if those activities are seen as potentially destructive to the sacred mountain itself.” ref


“To date, Kailash has never been climbed, largely due to the fact that the idea of climbing the mountain is seen as a major sacrilege. Instead, the worshipful embark on a pilgrimage known as the kora. The kora consists of a 32-mile path that circles the mountain, which typically takes five days with little food and water. Various icons, prayer flags, and other symbols of the four religions that believe Kailash is sacred mark the way. To Buddhists and Hindus, the pilgrimage is considered a major moment in a person’s spiritual life. Olsen writes, “One circuit is believed to erase a lifetime of sin, while 108 circuits is believed to ensure enlightenment”. As one of the most sacred mountains in the Middle East, mentioned in the Old Testament can be seen on the mountain’s summit, such as the area where Moses “sheltered from the total glory of God”.” ref

“Sacred Mountains are often seen as a site of revelation and inspiration. Mount Sinai is an example, as this is the site where the covenant is revealed to Moses. Mount Tabor is where it is supposed Jesus was revealed to be the Son of God. Muhammed is said to have received his first revelation on Mount Hira. The mountains’ roles as places of revelation and transformation often serve to attract tourists as much as they do religious pilgrims. However, in some cases, the financial revenue is overlooked and sacred mountains are conserved first due to their role in the community. Members of The Aetherius Society conduct pilgrimages to 19 mountains around the world that they describe as being “holy mountains”.” ref


“Sacred mountains are often viewed as the source of a power which is to be awed and revered. Often, this means that access to the sacred mountain is restricted. This could result in climbing being banned from a sacred mountain completely (as in the case of Mount Kailash) or for secular society to give the mountain a wide berth. Because of the respect accorded to a mountain’s sacred power, many areas have been declared off limit for construction and remain conserved. For example, a large amount of forest has been preserved due to its proximity to Mount Kōya-san. Additionally, sacred mountains can be seen as the source of something vital. This could be a blessing, water, life, or healing. Mount Kailash’s role as the source for four major rivers is celebrated in India and not simply seen as mundane. Rather, this also adds to its position as a sacred place, especially considering the sacred position of the Ganges river in Indian culture. Mountains that are considered home to deities are also central to prayers for the blessings from the gods reputed to live there. This also creates a sense of purity in the source of the mountain. This prompts people to protect streams from pollution that are from sacred mountains, for example.” ref

“Views of preservation and sacredness become problematic when dealing with diverse populations. When one observes the sacred mountain of the Sacramento Valley in the United States, it becomes clear that methods and opinions stretch over a vastly differing body of protesters. Shasta Mountain was first revered by the Native American tribe, the Wintu. Shasta was in effect a standing monument for the individuals of their cultural history. This bounded view of sacred mountains changed drastically during the 1800s. It is commonly assumed that sacred mountains are limited by a single society, trapped in a time capsule with only one definition to explain it: the indigenous tribe. Shasta’s glory had expanded to multiple regions of the world, communities of differing religions making their pilgrimage up to the summits of this glorious mountain. The Wintu tribe did not hold a monopoly on the sacredness anymore. There were others contesting to the meanings, adding new rituals and modifying old ones. With the advent of new technology and desires to turn this mountain into a skiing lodge, angry voices from all over the world rose up with variants of demands on why and how we should preserve this beautiful mountain.” ref

“Almost every day different religious practices such as nude bathing, camping out with magic crystals, yoga, and many “quasi-Christian” groups such as the I AM march their ways up to the tips of this mountain. With this activity the mountain pathways become clustered, cluttered, and littered. Even the pathways’ existence leads to erosion, and further slow degradation of the mountain. The Wintu tribe has voiced concerns and asked for support from the government to regulate the activities practiced on “their” mountain saying that “they are disturbed by the lack of respect” shown for this piece of land. It has become greatly debated if the more vulnerable and “spiritually desirable” places of the mountain should be closed and maintained only by the Wintu tribe, who see this land as a sacred graveyard of their ancestors, or open to all who seek spiritual fulfillment such as the modern-day group of the I AM.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

refrefrefrefrefref, refrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefref

Postglacial genomes from foragers across Northern Eurasia reveal prehistoric

mobility associated with the spread of the Uralic and Yeniseian languages


“The North Eurasian forest and forest-steppe zones have sustained millennia of sociocultural connections among northern peoples. We present genome-wide ancient DNA data for 181 individuals from this region spanning the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age. We find that Early to Mid-Holocene hunter-gatherer populations from across the southern forest and forest-steppes of Northern Eurasia can be characterized by a continuous gradient of ancestry that remained stable for millennia, ranging from fully West Eurasian in the Baltic region to fully East Asian in the Transbaikal region. In contrast, cotemporaneous groups in far Northeast Siberia were genetically distinct, retaining high levels of continuity from a population that was the primary source of ancestry for Native Americans. By the mid-Holocene, admixture between this early Northeastern Siberian population and groups from Inland East Asia and the Amur River Basin produced two distinctive populations in eastern Siberia that played an important role in the genetic formation of later people. Ancestry from the first population, Cis-Baikal Late Neolithic-Bronze Age (Cisbaikal_LNBA), is found substantially only among Yeniseian-speaking groups and those known to have admixed with them. Ancestry from the second, Yakutian Late Neolithic-Bronze Age (Yakutia_LNBA), is strongly associated with present-day Uralic speakers. We show how Yakutia_LNBA ancestry spread from an east Siberian origin ~4.5kya, along with subclades of Y-chromosome haplogroup N occurring at high frequencies among present-day Uralic speakers, into Western and Central Siberia in communities associated with Seima-Turbino metallurgy: a suite of advanced bronze casting techniques that spread explosively across an enormous region of Northern Eurasia ~4.0kya. However, the ancestry of the 16 Seima-Turbino-period individuals–the first reported from sites with this metallurgy–was otherwise extraordinarily diverse, with partial descent from Indo-Iranian-speaking pastoralists and multiple hunter-gatherer populations from widely separated regions of Eurasia. Our results provide support for theories suggesting that early Uralic speakers at the beginning of their westward dispersal where involved in the expansion of Seima-Turbino metallurgical traditions, and suggests that both cultural transmission and migration were important in the spread of Seima-Turbino material culture.” ref

Haplogroup N from China to Fennoscandia: Migrations and Relationship of Language (Dene-Yeniseian and Uralic), DNA, and Cultures

Dené–Yeniseian language family proposal

“A relationship between the Na-Dené languages of North America (such as Navajo and Apache), and the Yeniseian languages of Siberia was first proposed as early as 1923, and developed further by others. A detailed study was done by Edward Vajda and published in 2010. This theory received support from many linguists, with archaeological and genetic studies providing it with further support. The Arctic Small Tool tradition of Alaska and the Canadian Arctic may have originated in East Siberia about 5,000 years ago. This is connected with the ancient Paleo-Eskimo peoples of the Arctic. The Arctic Small Tool tradition source may have been the Syalakh-Bel’kachi-Ymyakhtakh culture sequence of East Siberia, dated to 6,500–2,800 years ago. The interior route is consistent with the spread of the Na-Dene language group and subhaplogroup X2a into the Americas after the earliest paleoamerican migration. Nevertheless, some scholars suggest that the ancestors of western North Americans speaking Na-Dene languages made a coastal migration by boat.” ref


“The Paleolithic dog was a Late Pleistocene canine. They were directly associated with human hunting camps in Europe over 30,000 years ago and it is proposed that these were domesticated. They are further proposed to be either a proto-dog and the ancestor of the domestic dog or an extinct, morphologically and genetically divergent wolf population. There are a number of recently discovered specimens which are proposed as being Paleolithic dogs, however, their taxonomy is debated. These have been found in either Europe or Siberia and date 40,000–17,000 years ago. They include Hohle Fels in Germany, Goyet Caves in Belgium, Predmosti in the Czech Republic, and four sites in Russia: Razboinichya Cave in the Altai RepublicKostyonki-8, Ulakhan Sular in the Sakha Republic, and Eliseevichi 1 on the Russian plain.” ref

  1. 40,000–35,500 years ago Hohle FelsSchelklingen,Germany
    2. 36,500 years ago Goyet Caves,Samson River Valley, Belgium
    3. 33,500 years ago Razboinichya Cave,  Altai Mountains, (Russia/Siberia)
    4. 33,500–26,500 years ago Kostyonki-Borshchyovo archaeological complex, (Kostenki site) Voronezh, Russia
    5. 31,000 years ago Predmostí, Moravia, Czech Republic
    6. 26,000 years ago Chauvet CaveVallon-Pont-d’Arc, Ardèche region, France
    7. 17,300–14,100 years ago Dyuktai Cave, northern Yakutia, Siberia
    8. 17,000–16,000 years ago Eliseevichi-I site, Bryansk Region, Russian Plain, Russia
    9. 16,900 years ago Afontova Gora-1, Yenisei River, southern Siberia
    10. 14,223 years ago BonnOberkassel, Germany
    11. 13,500 years ago MezineChernigov region, Ukraine
    12. 13,000 years ago Palegawra, (Zarzian cultureIraq
    13. 12,800 years ago Ushki I, Kamchatka, eastern Siberia
    14. 12,790 years ago Nanzhuangtou, China
    15. 12,300 years ago Ust’-Khaita site, Baikal region, Siberia
    16. 12,000 years ago Ain Mallaha (Eynan) and HaYonim terrace, Israel
    17. 10,150 years ago Lawyer’s Cave, Alaska, USA
    18. 9,000 years ago Jiahu site, China
    19. 8,000 years ago Svaerdborg site, Denmark
    20. 7,425 years ago Lake Baikal region, Siberia
    21. 7,000 years ago Tianluoshan archaeological site, Zhejiang province, China ref

Dog Domestication, Shamanism, and Emerging “Sacred Companion” Mortuary Rituals between 33,000 to 12,000 years ago?

To me, the when as well as who may have brought in the new elitism and compulsory authority to the Americas.

“For the Tlingit (branch of the Na-Dené language family), hereditary slavery was practiced extensively until it was outlawed by the United States. Wealth and economic power are important indicators of rank. Scientists suggest that the main ancestor of the Ainu and of the Tlingit can be traced back to Paleolithic groups in Southern Siberia.” ref

Human Migration from Asia into Alaska (North America) (11,000 to 6,000 years ago)

“likely relates to the Na-Dene languages described as C-M217/C2/C3/C-M130 DNA lineage”

Archaic period: 8000 BC– 1000 BCE

This C-M217/C2/C3/C-M130 DNA lineage is also in the Mound Builders (some of which are pyramid-like) such as the Adena (800 BCE–100 CE), Hopewell (200 BCE–500 CE), and the Maya civilization with pyramids.

Mound Builders

A number of pre-Columbian cultures are collectively termed “Mound Builders“. The term does not refer to a specific people or archaeological culture, but refers to the characteristic mound earthworks erected for an extended period of more than 5,000 years. The “Mound Builder” cultures span the period of roughly 3500 BCE (the construction of Watson Brake) to the 16th century CE, including the Archaic period, Woodland period (Calusa culture, Adena and Hopewell cultures), and Mississippian period. Geographically, the cultures were present in the region of the Great Lakes, the Ohio River Valley, and the Mississippi River valley and its tributary waters.” ref

“The first mound building was an early marker of political and social complexity among the cultures in the Eastern United States. Watson Brake in Louisiana, constructed about 3500 BCE during the Middle Archaic period, is currently the oldest known and dated mound complex in North America. It is one of 11 mound complexes from this period found in the Lower Mississippi Valley. These cultures generally had developed hierarchical societies that had an elite. These commanded hundreds or even thousands of workers to dig up tons of earth with the hand tools available, move the soil long distances, and finally, workers to create the shape with layers of soil as directed by the builders.” ref

“From about 800 CE, the mound building cultures were dominated by the Mississippian culture, a large archaeological horizon, whose youngest descendants, the Plaquemine culture and the Fort Ancient culture, were still active at the time of European contact in the 16th century. One tribe of the Fort Ancient culture has been identified as the Mosopelea, presumably of southeast Ohio, who were speakers of an Ohio Valley Siouan language. The bearers of the Plaquemine culture were presumably speakers of the Natchez language isolate. The first description of these cultures is due to Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, written between 1540 and 1542.” ref

Dené–Yeniseian languages? (I think similar to the Sami or Ainu peoples, Dené–Yeniseian peoples who migrated related to beliefs that were likely “paganistic” Shamanism, with heavy totemism themes)

“Dené–Yeniseian is a proposed language family consisting of the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia and the Na-Dené languages of northwestern North America. Reception among experts has been somewhat favorable; thus, Dené–Yeniseian has been called “the first demonstration of a genealogical link between Old World and New World language families that meets the standards of traditional comparativehistorical linguistics,” besides the Eskimo–Aleut languages spoken in far eastern Siberia and North America.” ref

“Na-Dene (/ˌnɑːdɪˈneɪ/; also Nadene, Na-Dené, Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit, Tlina–Dene) is a family of Native American languages that includes at least the Athabaskan languages, Eyak, and Tlingit languages. Haida was formerly included, but is now considered doubtful. By far the most widely spoken Na-Dene language today is Navajo. In February 2008, a proposal connecting Na-Dene (excluding Haida) to the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia into a Dené–Yeniseian family was published and well-received by a number of linguists. It was proposed in a 2014 paper that the Na-Dene languages of North America and the Yeniseian languages of Siberia had a common origin in a language spoken in Beringia, between the two continents.” ref

“Proto-Algic is the proto-language from which the Algic languages (Wiyot language *of Humboldt BayCalifornia*Yurok language *of Del Norte County and Humboldt County on the far north coast of California*, and Proto-Algonquian) *estimated to have been spoken around 2,500 to 3,000 years ago, usually divided into three subgroups: Eastern Algonquian *of the Atlantic coast of North America from Canada to North Carolina*, which is a genetic subgroup, and Central Algonquian *Eastern Great Lakes*, and Plains Algonquian are descended. Proto-Algic is estimated to have been spoken about 7,000 years ago somewhere in the American Northwest, possibly around the Columbia Plateau of WashingtonOregon, and IdahoSergei Nikolaev has argued in two papers for a systematic relationship between the Nivkh language of Sakhalin *the largest island of Russia north of the Japanese archipelago*, and the Amur river basin *of the Russian Far East and Northeastern China*, and the Algic languages, and a secondary relationship between these two together and the Wakashan languages.*of British Columbia around and on Vancouver Island, and in the northwestern corner of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state*.” refrefref

Genetics Reveal Movements of Ancient Siberians

“DNA reveals the previously unknown degree of mixture between Japan, North America, and the Eurasian mainland. Ancient DNA preserved in the icy climate of Siberia has revealed new insights about how ancient humans migrated five to seven thousand years ago.” ref

“In a study published recently in Current Biology, the researchers examined the DNA from 10 different ancient humans, which is quite a lot considering most of them date from 5,500 to 7,500 years old. These remains came from three locations in Siberia — the Altai Mountains, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and the Russian Far East.” ref

Altai Mountains meetings and Shamanism?

“Researchers were surprised to discover a previously unknown population with mixed genetics in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia. At some point during the last Ice Age, a group of ancient north Eurasians mixed with a population from northeastern Siberia. The corresponding mixture is one that researchers haven’t seen before, the head researcher explained. It’s also not clear where these two groups first met and intermingled since the people were mostly nomadic at the time. It’s possible they met in the region where the remains are found, though, which may have provided a good passage between mountains to the north and the desert to the south. “It’s a perfect meeting point for groups, geographically speaking,” the head researcher explained.” ref

“Five of the Altai Mountains remains — all males — had very similar DNA, despite dating from different times between 7,500 and 5,500 years ago. But the sixth male, which dates to about 6,500 years ago, comes from farther east. The DNA shows this, but so does the archaeological context. The individual was buried with rich burial goods and a costume that the head researcher explained could indicate some sort of shamanism. Moreover, the head researcher explained it’s unclear whether this man is representative of a larger migration between the Altai Mountains and people farther east. But it shows that a degree of movement was occurring between different people at the time.” ref

Japanese Connection?

“Nest, one of the analyzed individuals was found in the Russian Far East. This male isn’t that remarkable at first glance, for the DNA resembles that of other similarly aged people that have been previously analyzed. Or at least three-quarters of the DNA is similar. The other quarter of this man’s genome appears to be Japanese. This discovery is surprising. This man dates back to about 7,000 years ago, but Japan was settled much earlier — possibly 30,000 years ago. This means that people from Japan were traveling back to the mainland and mixing with other humans there. “These hunter-gatherers were also able to cross bodies of water and interact among each other,” the head researcher explained. Overall, these results show how fluid ancient people were in Eurasia and even North America. “These foraging communities were in close contact with each other, they were highly mobile with each other and were admixing,” the head researcher also explained. “We are really talking about large-distance mobility.” ref

Crossing the water to and from the Americas?

“Two males and one female from Kamchatka lived relatively recently — only 500 years ago. The reason it’s interesting is that researchers haven’t previously published any ancient genome information from this region. All three of the remains the head researcher and his colleagues analyzed contained small portions of ancestry from Indigenous Americans. The presence of these markers suggests that Indigenous Americans were also crossing back to Russia prior to the period these individuals were alive. “This probably happened over a long period of time,” the head researcher explained. While researchers had previously known there was gene flow back and forth across the Bering Sea — perhaps for 5,000 years — this finding stretches that area of gene flow further south into the Kamchatka Peninsula.” ref

Here are other supporting articles:

Gene flow across linguistic boundaries in Native North American populations

“Geneticists and anthropologists often expect that human language groups and gene pools will share a common structure. It is noted that both language and genes are passed from parents to children, mating tends to be endogamous with respect to linguistic groups, and splits in linguistic communities usually occur with splits in breeding populations. Cavalli-Sforza et al. have reported that genetic trees of major geographic populations correlate well with language families. They argue that a process consisting of population fissions, expansion into new territories, and isolation between ancestral and descendant groups will produced a tree-like structure common to both genes and languages. Linguists agree that population fissions and range expansions play an important role in the generation of linguistic diversity.” ref

“The potential correspondence between gene pools and language groups in Native North American populations is particularly interesting for several reasons. Early investigations of the correspondence between genetic groups and linguistic groups in Native North Americans produced equivocal results. On the one hand, average genetic distances between populations in different language families were greater than average genetic distances between populations within language families. On the other hand, genetic distances were not significantly correlated with glottochronological distances. In the three language families, the average nucleotide diversity within populations is low in Eskimo-Aleut populations and high in Amerind populations. However, nucleotide diversity varies considerably among the populations classified as Na-Dene-speaking. The Alaskan Athabascan and Haida populations, who reside in the North, have low nucleotide diversities, in the range of nucleotide diversities in the Eskimo-Aleut-speaking populations. The Navajo and Apache, who reside in the Southwest, have high nucleotide diversities, in the range of nucleotide diversities in populations classified as Amerind speaking.” ref 

“Several patterns that depart from the tree structure are apparent upon close examination. For example, the GLC expected distances consistently overestimate the realized genetic distances for several populations, including the Navajo, Aleut, and Siberian Yupik populations. This relationship means that these populations are genetically similar to populations with distantly related languages. Similarly, the GLC tree consistently underestimates the genetic distance between three Eskimo populations (Central Yupik, Canadian Inuit, and Inupaiq) and all other populations. First, none of Greenberg’s major language groups (Eskimo-Aleut, Na-Dene, or Amerind) forms a unique cluster. The most exclusive cluster that contains all Eskimo-Aleut populations (defined by branch a) also includes all four Na-Dene-speaking populations and the Amerind-speaking Cheyenne, Bella Coola, and Nuu Chah Nulth populations.” ref

“The most exclusive cluster with all Na-Dene-speaking populations (defined by branch b) also includes six Eskimo-Aleut-speaking populations (Siberian Yupik, Greenland Inuit, Central Yupik, Canadian Inuit, and Inupiaq) and the Amerind-speaking Bella Coola. The most exclusive cluster with all Amerind-speaking populations (defined by branch c) includes the Eskimo-Aleut-speaking Aleuts and the Na-Dene-speaking Navajo. Second, there is a strong North-South geographic pattern to the clustering pattern. An Arctic-Pacific Northwest cluster that includes all Aleut-Eskimo populations, all Na-Dene populations, and the Amerind Nuu Chah Nulth and Bella Coola populations originates on one side of branch a, whereas a more Southern group includes the Pima, Cherokee, Sioux, and Chippewa Amerind-speaking population forms to the other side of branch a. The Southwestern Athabascan-speaking populations, Navajo and Apache, defy the geographic groupings, but this result is consistent with the archaeological record.” ref

“Anthropologists agree that circa anno Domini 1400 the ancestors of Navajos and Apaches migrated from the Mackenzie Basin of Canada to the Southwest region, where they came into contact with Amerind-speaking populations who had been living there for thousands of years. The occurrence of haplogroup A differs markedly between the far Northern and the Southwestern samples. With only few exceptions, mtDNA lineages observed in the northern Na-Dene classified populations (Haida and Alaskan Athabascans) belong to haplogroup A. Haplogroup A is also common in Eskimos and Aleuts. Outside of the far North, the only samples in which haplogroup A appears commonly are the Southwestern Athabascan-speaking populations (Navajo and Apache). mtDNA sequences belonging to haplogroups B and C are frequent primarily in the Amerind-classified populations, including the Bella Coola, and Nuu Chah Nulth populations on the Northwest Coast. The Navajo and Apache are the only Na-Dene-classified populations with substantial frequencies of B- and C-group haplotypes, although haplogroup C is observed in the Haida and Alaskan Athabascan samples.” ref 

I think god beliefs (great spirit/shy father god) came into the Americas from North Asia from 7,000 to 5,000 years ago. I think it likely relates to the Na-Dene languages migrations as all of the Na-Dene languages have “great spirit” beliefs and some have shy father god/creator beliefs as well.

I think Na-Dene speakers brought into the Americas a kind/several kinds of Shamanism-Paganism with Totemism and Animism. Especially a daytime blue sky-god/sun-god but also an earth/moon goddess and bird mythology beliefs. Similar to the Hemudu culture (5500 – 3300 BCE or around 7,500 to 5,300 years ago) from China.

Hemudu’s inhabitants worshiped a sun spirit as well as a fertility spirit. They also enacted shamanistic rituals to the sun and believed in bird totems. A belief in an afterlife and ghosts is thought to have been widespread as well. People were buried with their heads facing east or northeast and most had no burial objects. Infants were buried in urn-casket style burials, while children and adults received earth level burials. They did not have a definite communal burial ground, for the most part, but a clan communal burial ground has been found from the later period. Two groups in separate parts of this burial ground are thought to be two intermarrying clans. There were noticeably more burial goods in this communal burial ground.” ref

“The Great Spirit is the concept of a life force, a supreme being or god, present in many, but not all, indigenous cultures in Canada and the United States. Interpretations of the Great Spirit also vary between cultures. It is known as Wakan Tanka in Lakota, Gitche Manitou in Algonquian, and by other, specific names in a number of First Nations and Native American cultures. According to Lakota activist Russell Means, a more semantically accurate translation of Wakan Tanka is the Great Mystery.” ref

“The Great Spirit has at times been conceptualized as an “anthropomorphic celestial deity,” a god of creation, history, and eternity, who also takes a personal interest in world affairs and might regularly intervene in the lives of human beings. Numerous individuals are held to have been “speakers” for the Great Spirit; persons believed to serve as an earthly mediator responsible for facilitating communication between humans and the supernatural more generally. Such a speaker is generally considered to have an obligation to preserve the spiritual traditions of their respective lineage. The Great Spirit is looked to by spiritual leaders for guidance by individuals as well as communities at large.” ref

“While belief in an entity or entities known as the Great Spirit exists across numerous indigenous American peoples, individual tribes often demonstrate varying degrees of cultural divergence. As such, a variety of stories, parables, fables, and messages exhibiting different, sometimes contradictory themes and plot elements have been attributed to the same figure by otherwise disparate cultures. Wakan Tanka (Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka) can be interpreted as the power or the sacredness that resides in everything, resembling some animistic and pantheistic beliefs. This term describes every creature and object as wakan (“holy”) or having aspects that are wakan; tanka corresponds to “great” or “large.” ref

“The Lakota used Wakan Tanka to refer to an organization or group of sacred entities whose ways were considered mysterious and beyond human understanding. It was the elaboration on these beliefs that prompted scholarly debate suggesting that the term “Great Mystery” could be a more accurate translation of such a concept than “Great Spirit”. Activist Russell Means also promoted the translation “Great Mystery” and the view that Lakota spirituality is not originally monotheistic.” ref

“Chief Luther Standing Bear (1868–1939) of the Lakota Nation put it thus:

From Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, there came a great unifying life force that flowed in and through all things – the flowers of the plains, blowing winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals – and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same Great Mystery.” ref

Manitou, akin to the Haudenosaunee concept of orenda, is perceived as the spiritual and fundamental life force by Algonquian peoples. It is believed by practitioners to be omnipresent; manifesting in all things, including organisms, the environment, and events both human-induced and otherwise. Manifestations of Manitou are also believed to be dualistic, and such contrasting instances are known as aashaa monetoo (“good spirit”) and otshee monetoo (“bad spirit”) respectively. According to legend, when the world was created, the Great Spirit, Aasha Monetoo, gave the land to the indigenous peoples, the Shawnee in particular.” ref

“The Anishinaabe culture, descended from the Algonquian-speaking Abenaki and Cree, inherited the Great Spirit tradition of their predecessors. Gitche Manitou (also transliterated as Gichi-manidoo) is an Anishinaabe language word typically interpreted as Great Spirit, the Creator of all things and the Giver of Life, and is sometimes translated as the “Great Mystery”. Historically, Anishinaabe people believed in a variety of spirits, whose images were placed near doorways for protection. According to Anishinaabe tradition, Michilimackinac, later named by European settlers as Mackinac Island, in Michigan, was the home of Gitche Manitou, and some Anishinaabeg tribes would make pilgrimages there for rituals devoted to the spirit.” ref

“Other Anishinaabe names for such a figure, incorporated through the process of syncretism, are Gizhe-manidoo (“venerable Manidoo“), Wenizhishid-manidoo (“Fair Manidoo“) and Gichi-ojichaag (“Great Spirit”). While Gichi-manidoo and Gichi-ojichaag both mean “Great Spirit”, Gichi-manidoo carried the idea of the greater spiritual connectivity while Gichi-ojichaag carried the idea of individual soul’s connection to the Gichi-manidoo. Consequently, Christian missionaries often used the term Gichi-ojichaag to refer to the Christian idea of a Holy SpiritThe contemporary belief in the great spirit is generally associated with the Native American Church. The doctrine regarding the great spirit within this modern tradition is quite varied and generally takes on Christian ideas of a monotheistic God alongside animistic conceptions. The number of adherents to these contemporary beliefs in the great spirit are unknown, but it is likely they number over a quarter million people.” ref

“Early European explorers describe individual Native American tribes and even small bands as each having their own religious practices. Theology may be monotheisticpolytheistichenotheisticanimisticshamanisticpantheistic or any combination thereof, among others. Traditional beliefs are usually passed down in the forms of oral histories, stories, allegories, and principles.” ref

“The sun dance is a religious ceremony practiced by a number of Native American and First Nations peoples, primarily those of the Plains Nations. Each tribe that has some type of sun dance ceremony that has their own distinct practices and ceremonial protocols. In many cases, the ceremony is held in private and is not open to the public. Most details of the ceremony are kept from public knowledge out of great respect for, and the desire for protection of, the traditional ways. Many of the ceremonies have features in common, such as specific dances and songs passed down through many generations, the use of traditional drums, the sacred pipe, praying, fasting and, in some cases, the piercing of the skin. In Canada, the Plains Cree call this ceremony the Thirst Dance; the Saulteaux (Plains Ojibwe) call it the Rain Dance; and the Blackfoot (Siksika, Kainai, and Piikani) call it the Medicine Dance. It is also practiced by the Canadian Dakota and Nakoda, and the Dene.” ref

Regional forms of shamanism: Americas:

North America Shamanism

Although many Native American and First Nations cultures have traditional healers, singers, mystics, lore-keepers, and medicine people, none of them ever used, or use, the term “shaman” to describe these religious leaders. Rather, like other Indigenous, their spiritual functionaries are described by words in their own languages. Many of these indigenous religions have been misrepresented by outside observers and anthropologists. Often these accounts suffer from “noble savage“-type romanticism and racism, meaning that popular understanding of their practices is often inaccurate.” ref

“Not all Indigenous communities have roles for specific individuals who mediate with the spirit world on behalf of the community. Among those that do have this sort of religious structure, spiritual methods, and beliefs may have some commonalities, though many of these commonalities are due to some nations being closely related, from the same region, or through post-Colonial governmental policies leading to the combining of formerly independent nations on reservations. This can sometimes lead to the impression that there is more unity among belief systems than there was in antiquity.” ref

“With the arrival of Eurasian settlers and colonial administration, the practice of Native American traditional beliefs was discouraged in favor of Christianity. From the colonial era, up until the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, it was illegal for Indigenous people to practice traditional religion and sacred ceremonies. In most communities, the traditions were not completely eradicated, but rather went underground and were practiced secretly until the prohibitive laws were repealed, or were syncretized with Christianity, retaining some aspects of traditional beliefs and practices and combining them with Christian ones.” ref

“Up until and during the last hundred years, thousands of Native American and First Nations children from different communities were sent into the Canadian Indian residential school system and Indian boarding schools in an effort to eradicate tribal languages, cultures, and beliefs. This led to a further decline in the number of Indigenous people practicing traditional religion and medicine. Canadian laws enacted in 1982, and henceforth, have attempted to reverse previous attempts at extinguishing Native culture.” ref

Mesoamerica Shamanism

South America Shamanism

The Urarina of the Peruvian Amazon have an elaborate cosmological system predicated on the ritual consumption of ayahuasca, which is a key feature of their society. Santo Daime and União do Vegetal ( abbreviated to UDV) are syncretic religions with which use an entheogen called ayahuasca in an attempt to connect with the spirit realm and receive divine guidance.” ref

“In the Peruvian Amazon basin and north coastal regions of the country, the healers are known as curanderos. Ayahuasqueros are Peruvians who specialize in the use of ayahuasca. Ayahuasqueros have become popular among Western spiritual seekers, who claim that the ayauasqueros and their ayahuasca brews have cured them of everything from depression to addiction to cancer.” ref

“In addition to curanderos use of ayahuasca and their ritualized ingestion of mescaline-bearing San Pedro cactuses (Echinopsis pachanoi) for the divination and diagnosis of sorcery, north-coastal shamans are famous throughout the region for their intricately complex and symbolically dense healing altars called mesas (tables). Sharon (1993) has argued that the mesas symbolize the dualistic ideology underpinning the practice and experience of north-coastal shamanism. For Sharon, the mesas are the, “physical embodiment of the supernatural opposition between benevolent and malevolent energies” (Dean 1998: 61). In several tribes living in the Amazon rainforest, the spiritual leaders also act as managers of scarce ecological resources. The rich symbolism in Tukano culture has been documented in field works even in the last decades of the 20th century.” ref 

“The yaskomo of the Waiwai is believed to be able to perform a soul flight. The soul flight can serve several functions:

  • healing
  • flying to the sky to consult cosmological beings (the moon or the brother of the moon) to get a name for a newborn baby
  • flying to the cave of peccaries’ mountains to ask the father of peccaries for abundance of game
  • flying deep down in a river, to achieve the help of other beings.” ref

“Thus, a yaskomo is believed to be able to reach sky, earth, and water.” ref

“Among the Mapuche people of Chile, a machi is usually a woman who serves the community by performing ceremonies to cure diseases, ward off evil, influence the weather and harvest, and by practicing other forms of healing such as herbalism.” ref

For the Aymara people of South America the Yatiri is a healer who heals the body and the soul, they serve the community and do the rituals for Pachamama. Part of the healing power attributed to shamanic practices depends on the use of plant alkaloids taken during the therapeutic sessions.” ref

“Although Fuegians (the indigenous peoples of Tierra del Fuego) were all hunter-gatherers, they did not share a common culture. The material culture was not homogenous, either: the big island and the archipelago made two different adaptations possible. Some of the cultures were coast-dwelling, others were land-oriented. Both Selk’nam and Yámana had persons filling in shaman-like roles. The Selk’nams believed their /xon/s to have supernatural capabilities, e.g. to control weather. The figure of /xon/ appeared in myths, too. The Yámana /jekamuʃ/ corresponds to the Selknam /xon/.” ref

North America Aera

1. “Eskimo–Aleutor Inuit–Yupik–Unanganlanguages are a language family native to the northern portions of the North American continent, and a small part of northeastern Asia. Eskimoan languages and of Aleut divided into the Eskimoan and Aleut branches at least 4,000 years ago. They represent a separate, and the last, prehistoric migration of people from Asia.” ref

Alexander Vovin (2015) notes that northern Tungusic languages, which are spoken in eastern Siberia and northeastern China, have Eskaleut loanwords that are not found in Southern Tungusic, implying that Eskaleut was once much more widely spoken in eastern Siberia. Vovin (2015) estimates that the Eskaleut loanwords in Northern Tungusic had been borrowed no more than 2,000 years ago, which was when Tungusic was spreading northwards from its homeland in the middle reaches of the Amur River. Vovin (2015) considers the homeland (Urheimat) of Proto-Eskaleut to be in Siberia rather than in Alaska. There is general agreement that it is not closely related to the other language families of North America. The more credible proposals on the external relations of Eskaleut all concern one or more of the language families of northern Eurasia, such as Chukotko-Kamchatkan just across the Bering Strait. Phonologically, the Eskaleut languages resemble other language families of northern North America (Na-Dene and Tsimshianic) and far-eastern Siberia (Chukotko-Kamchatkan).” ref

Eskimo-Aleut Religion (Deities and Shamanism/or “medicine people”)

“All animals are believed to possess a soul, when an animal had been hunted and killed a ritual would sometimes be performed to enable the animal to return to the place from which it had come. Certain taboos governed hunting practices. Land and sea animals were kept separate from one another. Women, who were ritually impure through birth or menstruation, were not allowed access to game. The life cycle was governed by a number of rites of passage. At death the soul would go to live in a land in the sky or in the sea. In some Eskimo-Aleut traditions the shaman was of great importance. Shamans would go into a trance and receive messages from spirits or deities or control them in order to ensure successful hunting. Shamans were also healers and could identify sorcerers who used their powers for evil ends.” ref

“Shamanism among Alaska Natives was particularly important as it served to construct their special connection to their land, and a kinship with the animals with whom they share that land. Before the introduction of western culture and the religions that are now practiced in Alaska, there was a common spiritual connection made with the people to the land they occupied. The most common name for this connection is shamanism. Shamanism differs in every culture where it is practiced, in Alaska it is centered in the animals that are common in the area. Through the use of many myths, stories, and ceremonies these animals are personified and their spirits made tangible and in turn are deeply woven within the Native Alaska people today. It was through the shaman that the spirit world was connected to the natural world. A shaman in Alaska Native culture was a mediator, healer and the spirit worlds’ mouthpiece. Although shamanism is no longer popularly practiced, it was and continues to be the heart of the Native Alaskan people. Suh as Aleuts, Athabaskan, Haida, Tlingit.” ref

2. “Na-DenéAthabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit is a family of Native American languages that includes at least the Athabaskan languagesEyak, and Tlingit languages. The southwestern division of Athabaskan is also called Southern Athabaskan or Apachean, and includes Navajo and all the Apache languages.  A proposal connecting Na-Dene (excluding Haida) to the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia into a Dené–Yeniseian family was published and well-received by a number of linguists. Evidence suggesting that the Na-Dene languages (Athabaskan–Eyak–Tlingit) might be related to the Yeniseian (or Yeniseic) languages of Siberia, the only living representative of which is the Ket language.” ref

“Dené–Yeniseian is a proposed language family consisting of the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia and the Na-Dené languages of northwestern North America. As a result, he agreed with the consensus belief that lexical evidence of a genetic relationship becomes virtually undetectable after about 8,000 to 10,000 years of linguistic separation, but suggested that certain sorts of complex morphology may remain stable beyond this time period. And addressing non-linguistic evidence, including analyses of Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups, which are passed unchanged down the male and female lines, respectively, except for mutations. His most compelling DNA evidence is the Q1 Y-chromosomal haplogroup subclade, which he notes arose c. 15,000 years ago and is found in nearly all Native Americans and nearly all of the Yeniseian Ket people (90%), but almost nowhere else in Eurasia except for the Selkup people (65%), who have intermarried with the Ket people for centuries.” ref

“Using this and other evidence, he proposes a Proto-Dené-Yeniseian homeland located in eastern Siberia around the Amur and Aldan Rivers. These people would have been hunter-gatherers, as are the modern Yeniseians, but unlike nearly all other Siberian groups (except for some Paleosiberian peoples located around the Pacific Rim of far eastern Siberia, who appear genetically unrelated to the Yeniseians). Eventually, all descendants in Eurasia were eliminated by the spread of reindeer-breeding pastoralist peoples (e.g. the speakers of the so-called Altaic languages) except for the modern Yeniseians, who were able to survive in swampy refuges far to the west along the Yenisei River because it is too mosquito-infested for reindeer to survive easily. Contrarily, the caribou (the North American reindeer population) were never domesticated, and thus the modern Na-Dené people were not similarly threatened.” ref

Dené–Yeniseian Religion (Deities and Shamanism/or “medicine people”)

Siberian Folklore and the Na-Dené Origins: Six folklore motifs shared by the native Na-Dené speakers in North America and in Southern Siberia are revealed. In such combination, these motifs are known nowhere else. The spread of the Na-Dené languages to North America was related to the migration of the bearers of the Dyuktai culture. The lack of parallels for the Na-Dené folklore in Yakutia, Kolyma, Chukotka, and Kamchatka is understandable: the Dyuktai people had gone to Alaska and their heritage was erased by the waves of newcomers. The folklore motifs that are shared both by Na-Dené and Siberian peoples go back to the traditions of the southern neighbors of the Dyuktai people. The population density across the area between Altai and Trans-Baikal region was higher than in northward territories; therefore, the remains of the “Paleolithic” folklore could survive, notwithstanding the multiple language changes.” ref 

“Legends come from the Dene Suline people (also known as “Chipewyan”), the traditional stories of related Athabaskan tribes like the Dene Tha and Carrier tribes are very similar. Yedariyé (or Niottsi): This is the name of the great sky god of the Dene tribes. He is a benevolent creator spirit who will occasionally intervene to help people in distress. Yedariyé means “He who lives on high,” and Niottsi means “Creator.” Yamoria: Also known as the Old Man, Transformer, or Wanderer. In Dene stories, Yamoria frequently uses his cleverness rather than his strength to defeat his enemies, at which point he either kills them or transforms them into something harmless.” ref

Dene Indian Folklore

Dene Creation Myth:
Dene legend about the creation of the world.
The Monster Bird:
A Dene story about a young man’s adventures in the sky world.
Dene legends about a magical caribou boy.
Sa-Klu-Nazetti (The Sun Taken in a Snare):
Chippewyan myth about the origin of the seasons.
Love and Support:
Story of a Dene man adopted by a bear.
Bear and Squirrel:
Dene story about the origin of light and darkness.
The Boy Who Became Strong:
Dene Indian story about a hero and his faithful wife.
Elder Speak:
Collection of oral history narrated by Cree and Dene elders.
Mythology of the Chipewyans:
Early 20th-century collection of Dene legends.” ref

“The Yeniseian people refers either to the modern or ancient Siberian populations speaking Yeniseian languages. Despite evidence pointing to the historical presence of Yeniseian populations throughout Central Siberia and Northern Mongolia, only the Ket and Yugh people survive today. The modern Yeniseians live along the eastern middle stretch of the Yenisei River in Northern Siberia. Based on hydronymic data, the Yeniseians originated from the area around the Sayan Mountains and the southern tip of Lake Baikal. The Yeniseians are thought to be closely related to the Na-Dene populations of Canada and Alaska. According to a 2016 study, the Ket and other Yeniseian people originated likely somewhere near the Altai Mountains or near Lake Baikal. It is suggested that parts of the Altaians are predominantly of Yeniseian origin and closely related to the Ket people.” ref

“The Ket people are also closely related to several Native American groups. According to this study, the Yeniseians are linked to the Paleo-Eskimo groups. It has been suggested that the part of the Xiongnu underwent a linguistic shift from Yeniseian to Turkic. According to Jingyi Gao (2014) lexical similarities between the Hungarian language and the Yeniseian languages may point to a Yeniseian presence within the Hun confederation, and a possible Hunnic substratum among Hungarian. Many recognisable Turkic and Mongolic words, such as the royal titles KhanKhagan, and Tarqan, and the word for “sky” and later “god”, Tengri, may be loanwords from Yeniseian. Tengri in particular has been derived from Yeniseian tɨŋVr by linguist Stefan Georg, in an analysis praised as “excellent” by Alexander Vovin.” ref

“The ancestors of Yeniseian peoples may have been related to the Syalakh culture of ancient Yakutia. Yeniseian people, specifically Ket, also show high amounts of affinity towards Tuvans and other peoples of Siberia, suggesting that Yeniseian ancestry can be linked to Paleo-Siberians, which replaced previous Upper-Paleolithic Siberians (Ancient North Eurasian) as the dominant population, and were subsequently largely assimilated by Neo-Siberians from Northeast Asia. Ancient Yeniseian speakers can be associated with a Late Neolithic/Bronze Age ancestry in the Baikal area (Cisbaikal_LNBA or Baikal_EBA) maximized among hunter-gatherers of the local Glazkovo culture.” ref

“They can be differentiated from the earlier ‘Early Neolithic Baikal hunter-gatherers’ associated with the Kitoi and Fofonovo cultures (Baikal_EN) and later Amur-derived (DevilsCave_N-like) groups. Cisbaikal_LNBA ancestry is inferred to be rich in Ancient Paleo-Siberian ancestry, and also display affinity to Inner Northeast Asian (Yumin-like) groups. This type of ancestry has also been observed among Eastern Scythians (Saka) and made up nearly all of the ancestry (85-95%) from an outlier sample of the Karasuk culture (RISE497). Cisbaikal_LNBA ancestry later spreaded together with Glazkovo-type pottery to the forest zone of the Middle Angara, correlating with the supposed dispersal of yeniseian languages, supporting a homeland in the Cis-Baikal region. Cisbaikal_LNBA has also been found at low amounts among Athabaskan speakers, lending support to the Dene-Yeniseian hypothesis.” ref

“Tengri (Old Turkic: 𐰚𐰇𐰚:𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃, romanized: Kök Teŋri/Teŋirilit. ’Blue Heaven’; Old Uyghur:  tängriMiddle Turkic: تآنغرِ; Ottoman TurkishتڭریKyrgyz: Теңир; Kazakh: Тәңір; TurkishTanrıAzerbaijaniTanrıBulgarian: Тангра; Proto-Turkic *teŋri / *taŋrɨMongolian scriptᠲᠩᠷᠢT’ngriMongolian: Тэнгэр, TengerUyghur: تەڭرى tengri ) is the all-encompassing God of Heaven in the traditional TurkicYeniseianMongolic, and various other nomadic Altaic religious beliefs. Tengri is not considered a deity in the usual sense, but a personification of the universe. However, some qualities associated with Tengri as the judge and source of life, and being eternal and supreme, led European and Muslim writers to identify Tengri as a deity of Turkic and Mongolic peoples. It is also one of the terms used for the primary chief deity of the early Turkic and Mongolic peoples. Worship surrounding Tengri is called Tengrism. The core beings in Tengrism are the Sky Father (Tenger Etseg) and the Earth Mother (Umay Ana).” ref

“Tengrism involves ancestor worship, as Tengri was thought to have been the ancestral progenitor of mankind in Turkic regions and Mongoliashamanismanimism, and totemism. The oldest form of the name is recorded in Chinese annals from the 4th century BCE, describing the beliefs of the Xiongnu. It takes the form 撑犁/Cheng-li, which is hypothesized to be a Chinese transcription of Tängri. (The Proto-Turkic form of the word has been reconstructed as *Teŋri or *Taŋrɨ.) Alternatively, a reconstructed Altaic etymology from *T`aŋgiri (“oath” or “god”) would emphasize the god’s divinity rather than his domain over the sky. It is generally assumed the term tengri originally meant “sky”. Andrey Kononov suggested that the term is formed by the words tän (morning) and injir (evening) into tänri, referring to the sky as whole. The Turkic form, Tengri, is attested in the 8th century Orkhon inscriptions as the Old Turkic form 𐱅𐰭𐰼𐰃‎ Teŋri.” ref

“In modern Turkish, the derived word “Tanrı” is used as the generic word for “god”, or for the Abrahamic God, and is used today by Turkish people to refer to any god. The supreme deity of the traditional religion of the Chuvash is Tură. Earlier, the Chinese word for “sky” 天 (Mandarintiān < Old Chinese *thīn or *thîn) has been suggested to be related to Tengri, possibly a loan into Chinese from a prehistoric Central Asian language. However, this proposal is unlikely in light of recent reconstructions of the Old Chinese pronunciation of the character “天”, such as *qʰl’iːn (Zhengzhang) or *l̥ˤi[n] (Baxter-Sagart), which propose for 天 a voiceless lateral onset, either a cluster or single consonant, respectively.” ref

“Baxter & Sagart (2014:113-114) pointed to attested dialectal differences in Eastern Han Chinese, the use of 天 as a phonetic component in phono-semantic compound Chinese characters, and the choice of 天 to transcribe foreign syllables, all of which prompted them to conclude that, around 200 CE, 天’s onset had two pronunciations: coronal * & dorsal *x, both of which likely originated from an earlier voiceless lateral *l̥ˤ. Linguist Stefan Georg has proposed that the Turkic word ultimately originates as a loanword from Proto-Yeniseian *tɨŋgɨr- “high”. Tengri was the main god of the Turkic pantheon, controlling the celestial sphere. Tengri is considered to be similar to the Indo-European sky god, *Dyeus, and the structure of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is closer to that of the early Turks than to the religion of any people of Near Eastern or Mediterranean antiquity.” ref

“Tengrism (also known as TengriismTengerism, or Tengrianism) is a religion originating in the Eurasian steppes, based on shamanism and animism. It generally involves the titular sky god Tengri, who is not considered a deity in the usual sense but a personification of the universe. According to some scholars, adherents of Tengrism view the purpose of life to be in harmony with the universe. It was the prevailing religion of the GöktürksXianbeiBulgarsXiongnuYeniseian, and Mongolic peoples and Huns, as well as the state religion of several medieval states: the First Turkic Khaganatethe Western Turkic Khaganatethe Eastern Turkic KhaganateOld Great Bulgariathe First Bulgarian EmpireVolga BulgariaKhazaria, and the Mongol Empire. In the Irk Bitig, a ninth century manuscript on divination, Tengri is mentioned as Türük Tängrisi (God of Turks).” ref

“According to many academics, Tengrism was, and to some extent still is, a predominantly polytheistic religion based on the shamanistic concept of animism, and was first influenced by monotheism during the imperial period, especially by the 12th–13th centuries. Abdulkadir Inan argues that Yakut and Altai shamanism are not entirely equal to the ancient Turkic religion. The name Tengri (“the Sky”) is derived from Old Turkic: Tenk (“daybreak”) or Tan (“dawn”). Meanwhile, Stefan Georg proposed that the Turkic Tengri ultimately originates as a loanword from Proto-Yeniseian *tɨŋgɨr- “high”. Mongolia is sometimes poetically called the “Land of Eternal Blue Sky” (Mönkh Khökh Tengeriin Oron) by its inhabitants. According to some scholars, the name of the important deity Dangun (also Tangol) (God of the Mountains) of the Korean folk religion is related to the Siberian Tengri (“Heaven”), while the bear is a symbol of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major).” ref

“In modern Turkey and, partly, Kyrgyzstan, Tengrism is known as the Tengricilik or Göktanrı dini (“Sky God religion”); the Turkish gök (sky) and tanrı (God) correspond to the Mongolian khukh (blue) and Tengeri (sky), respectively. The nature of this religion remains debatable. According to many scholars, it was originally polytheistic, but a monotheistic branch with the sky god Kök-Tengri as the supreme being evolved as a dynastical legitimation. It is at least agreed that Tengrism formed from the diverse folk religions of the local people and may have had diverse branches. It is suggested that Tengrism was a monotheistic religion only at the imperial level in aristocratic circles, and, perhaps, only by the 12th-13th centuries (a late form of development of ancient animistic shamanism in the era of the Mongol empire). According to Jean-Paul Roux, the monotheistic concept evolved later out of a polytheistic system and was not the original form of Tengrism.” ref

“The monotheistic concept helped to legitimate the rule of the dynasty: “As there is only one God in Heaven, there can only be one ruler on the earth …”. Others point out that Tengri itself was never an Absolute, but only one of many gods of the upper world, the sky deity, of polytheistic shamanism, later known as Tengrism. Tengrism differs from contemporary Siberian shamanism in that it was a more organized religion. Additionally the polities practicing it were not small bands of hunter-gatherers like the Paleosiberians, but a continuous succession of pastoral, semi-sedentarized khanates and empires from the Xiongnu Empire (founded 209 BC) to the Mongol Empire (13th century). In Mongolia it survives as a synthesis with Tibetan Buddhism while surviving in purer forms around Lake Khovsgol and Lake Baikal. Unlike Siberian shamanism, which has no written tradition, Tengrism can be identified from Turkic and Mongolic historical texts like the Orkhon inscriptionsSecret History of the Mongols, and Altan Tobchi. However, these texts are more historically oriented and are not strictly religious texts like the scriptures and sutras of sedentary civilizations, which have elaborate doctrines and religious stories.” ref

“On a scale of complexity, Tengrism lies somewhere between the Proto-Indo-European religion (a pre-state form of pastoral shamanism on the western steppe) and its later form the Vedic religion. The chief god Tengri (“Heaven”) is considered strikingly similar to the Indo-European sky god *Dyḗus and the East Asian Tian (Chinese: “Sky; Heaven”). The structure of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion is actually closer to that of the early Turks than to the religion of any people of neolithic European, Near Eastern or Mediterranean antiquity. The term “shamanism” was first applied by Western anthropologists as outside observers of the ancient religion of the Turkic and Mongolic peoples, as well as those of the neighbouring Tungusic and Samoyedic-speaking peoples. Upon observing more religious traditions across the world, some Western anthropologists began to also use the term in a very broad sense. The term was used to describe unrelated magico-religious practices found within the ethnic religions of other parts of Asia, Africa, Australasia and even completely unrelated parts of the Americas, as they believed these practices to be similar to one another.” ref 

“The peak of the mountain Khan Tengri, between ChinaKyrgyzstan, which is a mountain of the Tian Shan mountain range. The name “Khan Tengri” literally means “King Heaven” in Kazakh or “King Sky” in Mongolian and possibly references the deity Tengri that both exist in Pagan Tengrism and Central Asian Buddhism. Khan Tengri was believed to be the highest peak in the range until Jengish Chokusu.” ref 

“Tiān (天) is one of the oldest Chinese terms for heaven and a key concept in Chinese mythologyphilosophy, and religion. During the Shang dynasty (17th―11th century BCE), the Chinese referred to their highest god as Shàngdì (上帝, “Lord Above”) or  (帝, “Lord”). During the following Zhou dynastyTiān became synonymous with this figure. Before the 20th century, worship of Tiān was an orthodox state religion of China. In Taoism and ConfucianismTiān (the celestial aspect of the cosmos, often translated as “Heaven“) is mentioned in relationship to its complementary aspect of  (, often translated as “Earth“). They are thought to maintain the two poles of the Three Realms (三界) of reality, with the middle realm occupied by Humanity (人, rén), and the lower world occupied by demons (魔, ) and “ghosts”, the damned, (鬼, guǐ). For the etymology of tiān, Schuessler links it with the Mongolian word tengri “sky, heaven, heavenly deity” or the Tibeto-Burman words taleŋ (Adi) and tǎ-lyaŋ (Lepcha), both meaning “sky.” ref

“He also suggests a likely connection between Chinese tiān 天, diān 巔 “summit, mountaintop”, and diān 顛 “summit, top of the head, forehead”, which have cognates such as Zemeic Naga tiŋ “sky”. However, other reconstructions of 天’s OC pronunciation *qʰl’iːn or *l̥ˤi[n]  reconstructed a voiceless lateral onset, either a cluster or a single consonant, respectively. Baxter & Sagart pointed to attested dialectal differences in Eastern Han Chinese, the use of 天 as a phonetic component in phono-semantic compound Chinese characters, and the choice of 天 to transcribe foreign syllables, all of which prompted them to conclude that, around 200 CE, 天’s onset had two pronunciations: coronal * & dorsal *x, both of which likely originated from an earlier voiceless lateral *l̥ˤ.” ref

“Tiān was variously thought as a “supreme power reigning over lesser gods and human beings” that brought “order and calm…or catastrophe and punishment”, a goddestiny, an “impersonal” natural force that controlled various events, a holy world or afterlife containing other worlds or afterlives, or one or more of these. The modern Chinese character  and early seal script both combine   “great; large” and   “one”, but some of the original characters in Shāng oracle bone script and Zhōu bronzeware script anthropomorphically portray a large head on a great person. The ancient oracle and bronze ideograms for  大 depict a stick figure person with arms stretched out denoting “great; large”. The oracle and bronze characters for tiān 天 emphasize the cranium of this “great (person)”, either with a square or round head, or head marked with one or two lines.” ref

“Schuessler notes the bronze graphs for tiān, showing a person with a round head, resemble those for dīng  “4th Celestial stem“, and suggests “The anthropomorphic graph may or may not indicate that the original meaning was ‘deity’, rather than ‘sky’.”  Two variant Chinese characters for tiān 天 “heaven” are 二人 (written with  er “two” and  ren “human”) and the Daoist coinage  (with  qīng “blue” and  ““, i.e., “blue sky”). The Modern Standard Chinese pronunciation of 天 “sky, heaven; heavenly deity, god” is tiān [tʰi̯ɛn˥] in level first tone. The character is read as Cantonese tin1Taiwanese thiN1 or thian1Vietnamese thiênKorean cheon or ch’ŏn (천); and Japanese ten in On’yomi (borrowed Chinese reading) and ama- (bound), ame (free), or sora in Kun’yomi (native Japanese reading).” ref

“Lord Heaven” and “Jade Emperor” were terms for a supreme deity in Confucianism and Taoism who was an anthropromorphized Tian, and some conceptions of it thought of the names as synonymous. Tiān was viewed as “the dwelling place of Godgods,…other superhuman beings and the…state of being of the saved”. It was also viewed as “the guardian of both the moral laws of mankind and the physical laws of nature…and is synonymous with the divine will.” In Chinese culture, heaven tends to be “synonymous with order”, “containing the blueprints for creation”, “the mandate by which earthly rulers govern, and the standards by which to measure beauty, goodness, and truth.” Zhou dynasty nobles made the worship of heaven a major part of their political philosophy and viewed it as “many gods” who embodied order and kingship, as well as the mandate of heaven.” ref

“Confucianism has a religious side with a deep reverence for Heaven and Earth (Di), whose powers regulate the flow of nature and influence human events.” Yin and yang are also thought to be integral to this relationship and permeate both, as well as humans and man-made constructs. This “cosmos” and its “principles” is something that “[t]he ways of man should conform to, or else” frustration will result. Many Confucianists, both historically and in current times, use the I Ching to divine events through the changes of Tiān and other “natural forces”. The concept of Heaven (Tiān, 天) is pervasive in Confucianism. Confucius had a deep trust in Heaven and believed that Heaven overruled human efforts. He also believed that he was carrying out the will of Heaven, and that Heaven would not allow its servant, Confucius, to be dead until his work was done and complete. The number of vertical heaven layers in Taoism is different. A common belief in Taoism is that there were 36 Tiān “arranged on six levels” that have “different deities”. The highest heaven is the “Great Web” which was sometimes said to be where Yuanshi Tianzun lived.” ref

“After death, some Taoists were thought to explore “heavenly realms” and/or become Taoist immortals. These immortals could be good or evil, and there were sometimes rivalries between them. Some heavens in Taoism were thought to be evil, as in Shangqing Daoism, although Tiān was mostly thought of as a force for good. Heaven is sometimes seen as synonymous with the Dao or a natural energy that can be accessed by living in accordance with the Dao. A Tao realm inconceivable and incomprehensible by normal humans and even Confucius and Confucianists was sometimes called “the Heavens”. Higher, spiritual versions of Daoists such as Laozi were thought to exist in there when they were alive and absorb “the purest Yin and Yang“, as well as xian who were reborn into it after their human selves’ spirits were sent there. These spiritual versions were thought to be abstract beings that can manifest in that world as mythical beings such as xian dragons who eat yin and yang energy and ride clouds and their qi.” ref

“Some tiān in Chinese folk religion were thought to be many different or a hierarchy of multiple, sphere-like realms that contained morally ambiguous creatures and spirits such as huli jing and fire-breathing dragons. The Tao realm was thought to exist by many ancient folk religion practitioners. In some cases, the heavens in Japanese traditional religion of Shinto were thought to be a hierarchy of multiple, sphere-like realms that contained kami such as fox spirits. Myths about the kami were told “of their doings on Earth and in heaven.” Heaven was thought to be a clean and orderly place for nature gods in Shinto.” ref

3. The Algic languages(also Algonquian–Wiyot–Yurok or Algonquian–Ritwan) are an indigenous language family of North America. Most Algic languages belong to the Algonquiansubfamily, dispersed over a broad area from the Rocky Mountains to Atlantic Canada. The other Algic languages are the Yurok and Wiyot of northwestern California, which, despite their geographic proximity, are not closely related. All these languages descend from Proto-Algic, a second-order proto-language estimated to have been spoken about 7,000 years ago and reconstructed using the reconstructed Proto-Algonquian language and the Wiyot and Yurok languages.” ref

“When Edward Sapir proposed that the well-established Algonquian family was genetically related to the Wiyot and Yurok languages of northern California, he applied the term Algic to this larger family. The Algic urheimat is thought to have been located in the Northwestern United States somewhere between the suspected homeland of the Algonquian branch (to the west of Lake Superior according to Goddard) and the earliest known location of the Wiyot and Yurok (along the middle Columbia River “Around Washington state, or maybe Oregon” according to Whistler). Sergei Nikolaev has argued in two papers for a systematic relationship between the Nivkh language of Sakhalin and the Amur river basin and the Algic languages, and a secondary relationship between these two together and the Wakashan languages.” ref

“Proto-Algic is the proto-language from which the Algic languages (Wiyot languageYurok language, and Proto-Algonquian) are descended. It is estimated to have been spoken about 7,000 years ago somewhere in the American Northwest, possibly around the Columbia Plateau. It is an example of a second-level proto-language (a proto-language whose reconstruction depends on data from another proto-language, namely its descendant language Proto-Algonquian) which is widely agreed to have existed.” ref

Algic–Algonquin Religion (Deities and Shamanism/or “medicine people”) 

“Anishinaabe traditional beliefs cover the traditional belief system of the Anishinaabeg peoples, consisting of the Algonquin/NipissingOjibwa/Chippewa/Saulteaux/MississaugasOdawaPotawatomi and Oji-Cree, located primarily in the Great Lakes region of North America. The Midewiwin (also spelled Midewin and Medewiwin) is the Grand Medicine Society of the indigenous groups of the MaritimesNew England and Great Lakes regions in North America. Its practitioners are called Midew and the practices of Midewiwin referred to as the Mide. The Midewiwin society is a secretive animistic religion, requiring an initiation, and then progressing to four levels of practitioners, called “degrees”. Occasionally, male Midew are called Midewinini, which sometimes is very loosely translated into English as “medicine man“. The Waabanowin (also spelled WabuowinWabunohwin and Wabunohiwin) is the Dawn Society, also sometime improperly called the “Magical Dawn Society”. Its practitioners are called Waabanow and the practices of Waabanowin referred to as the Waabano. The Wabanowin are distinct society of visionaries. Like the Midewiwin, the Waabanowin is a secretive animistic religion, requiring an initiation.” ref 

“But unlike the Mide, the Waabano have sometimes two levels and sometimes four. This variation being dependent on the particular lodge. The Jiisakiiwin are also known as the Shaking Tent or the Juggler’s Tent. Among the Anishinaabeg, a particularly powerful and well-respected spiritual practice. Those who had trained from childhood are called a Jaasakiid or Jiisakiiwinini, also known as a “Juggler” or “Shaking-tent Seer.” Nanabozho (also known by a variety of other names and spellings, including WenabozhoMenabozho, and Nanabush) is a trickster figure and culture hero who features as the protagonist of a cycle of stories that serve as the Anishinaabe origin belief. The cycle, which varies somewhat from community to community, tells the story of Nanabozho’s conception, birth, and his ensuing adventures, which involve interactions with spirit and animal beings, the creation of the Earth, and the establishment of the Midewiwin. The myth cycle explains the origin of several traditions, including mourning customs, beliefs about the afterlife, and the creation of the sacred plant asemaa (tobacco). In Anishinaabe traditional belief, everything in the environment is interconnected and has important relationships with the things around it.” ref 

“Non-humans, and ecosystems are viewed as having great worth and importance, in addition to humans.  One such relationship in Anishinaabe homeland (what is now known as the Great Lake region) is between nmé (lake sturgeon), manoomin (wild rice), nibi (water), and humans. Similar relationships are exemplified in stories. For example, in her book A Short History of the Blockade, Leanne B. Simpson tells a story about Amik (beaver), stating “They [beavers] are consenting to giving up their bodies to help the Nishnaabeg feed their families.” The Seven Grandfather Teachings are traditional guiding principles for living a good life still in use by Anishnaabe peoples today. (They originate from the Potowatomi and Ojibwe tribes specifically.) These teachings include wisdom, respect, love, honesty, humility, bravery, and truth, and are supposed to be practiced towards humans, the earth, and everything in the environment. According to Leanne B. Simpson in A Short History of the Blockade, the Seven Grandfather Teachings were “…gifted to the Nishnaabeg by Seven Ancestors, a group of loving Elders and advisors that taught a young child these practices as recorded in one of our Sacred Stories.” Each of the teachings has an animal that represents it.” ref 

“The Algonquins (or Algonkins) are an aboriginal North American people speaking Algonquin, an Anishinaabe language. Culturally and linguistically, they are closely related to the Odawa and Ojibwe, with whom they form the larger Anicinàpe (or Anishinaabe) grouping. Although the historical Algonquin society was largely hunting- and fishing-based, some Algonquins practiced agriculture and cultivated cornbeans, and squash, the famous “Three Sisters” of indigenous horticulture. Traditionally, the Algonquins lived in cone-shaped tipi-like dwellings, rather than the usual North Eastern dome-shaped wigwams. They also built rectangular hunting shelters.” ref

“Bring primarily a hunting culture, mobility was essential. Material used had to be light and easy to transport. Canoes were made of birch bark, sowed with spruce roots and rendered waterproof by the application of heated-up spruce resin and grease. It was easy to move and the material readily available. During winter, toboggans were used to transport material and people used snowshoes to walk on the snow. For babies, they constructed tikinàgan (cradleboards) to carry them. They were built with wood and covered with an envelope made of leather or material. The baby was standing up with his feet resting on a small board. The mother would then put the tikinàgan on her back. This allowed the infant to look around and observe his surroundings, therefore start learning how everyday tasks were done.” ref

“The Algonquins were practitioners of Midewiwin, the secretive religion of the aboriginal groups of the Maritimes, New England, and Great Lakes regions in North America. Its practitioners are called Midew and the practices of Midewiwin referred to as Mide. Occasionally, male Midew are called Midewinini, which sometimes is translated into English as either “shaman” or “medicine man.” Midewiwin is based on the world view (religious beliefs) of the Ojibwa people. The Algonquin believed they were surrounded by many manitòk or spirits. The “Great Spirit” was the creator of the world, a supernatural power inherent in all things, both living and non-living. There were also many lesser spirits, both good and evil.” ref

“Dreams were of particular significance, and their interpretation was an important responsibility of the shamans. Their shamans were believed to be able to communicate with the spirit world, and thus their guidance was sought by hunters for success in the hunt, for healing the sick, and generally for guidance on important matters of life. They believed that after death the spirits of hunters went on to pursue the spirits of animals. They also had a great fear of witchcraft, fearing to use their real names in case of misuse by enemies with spiritual power and evil intent. An important ceremony for the Algonquins was the annual “Feast of the Dead.” This was a war dance performed for visiting tribes, which in addition to its spiritual significance provided an occasion for the strengthening of relations between villages and the exchange of gifts, particularly beaver furs.” ref

“The OjibweOjibwaChippewa, or Saulteaux are an Anishinaabe people in what is currently southern Canada, the northern Midwestern United States, and Northern Plains. They are Indigenous peoples of the Subarctic and Northeastern Woodlands. The language belongs to the Algonquian linguistic group and is descended from Proto-Algonquian. Its sister languages include BlackfootCheyenneCreeFoxMenomineePotawatomi, and Shawnee among the northern Plains tribes. Anishinaabemowin is frequently referred to as a “Central Algonquian” language; Central Algonquian is an area grouping, however, rather than a linguistic genetic one. Ojibwemowin is the fourth-most spoken Native language in North America after Navajo, Cree, and Inuktitut. According to Ojibwe oral history, seven great miigis (Cowrie shells) appeared to them in the Waabanakiing (Land of the Dawn, i.e., Eastern Land) to teach them the mide way of life. One of the miigis was too spiritually powerful and killed the people in the Waabanakiing when they were in its presence.” ref

“The six others remained to teach, while the one returned into the ocean. The six established doodem (clans) for people in the east, symbolized by animals. The five original Anishinaabe doodem were the Wawaazisii (Bullhead), Baswenaazhi (Echo-maker, i.e., Crane), Aan’aawenh (Pintail Duck), Nooke (Tender, i.e., Bear) and Moozoonsii (Little Moose). The six miigis then returned to the ocean as well. If the seventh had stayed, it would have established the Thunderbird doodem. The Ojibwe have spiritual beliefs that have been passed down by oral tradition under the Midewiwin teachings. These include a creation story and a recounting of the origins of ceremonies and rituals. Spiritual beliefs and rituals were very important to the Ojibwe because spirits guided them through life. Birch bark scrolls and petroforms were used to pass along knowledge and information, as well as for ceremonies. Pictographs were also used for ceremonies.” ref

“The sweatlodge is still used during important ceremonies about the four directions, when oral history is recounted. Teaching lodges are common today to teach the next generations about the language and ancient ways of the past. The traditional ways, ideas, and teachings are preserved and practiced in such living ceremonies. The modern dreamcatcher, adopted by the Pan-Indian Movement and New Age groups, originated in the Ojibwe “spider web charm”, a hoop with woven string or sinew meant to replicate a spider’s web, used as a protective charm for infants. According to Ojibwe legend, the protective charms originate with the Spider Woman, known as Asibikaashi; who takes care of the children and the people on the land and as the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children, so the mothers and grandmothers wove webs for the children, which had an apotropaic purpose and were not explicitly connected with dreams.” ref

“In Ojibwe tradition, the main task after a death is to bury the body as soon as possible, the very next day or even on the day of death. This was important because it allowed the spirit of the dead to journey to its place of joy and happiness. The land of happiness where the dead reside is called Gaagige Minawaanigozigiwining. This was a journey that took four days. If burial preparations could not be completed the day of the death, guests and medicine men were required to stay with the deceased and the family in order to help mourn, while also singing songs and dancing throughout the night. Once preparations were complete, the body would be placed in an inflexed position with their knees towards their chest. Over the course of the four days it takes the spirit to journey to its place of joy, it is customary to have food kept alongside the grave at all times.” ref

“A fire is set when the sun sets and is kept going throughout the night. The food is to help feed the spirit over the course of the journey, while the smoke from the fire is a directional guide. Once the four day journey is over, a feast is held, which is led by the chief medicine man. At the feast, it is the chief medicine man’s duty to give away certain belongings of the deceased. Those who were chosen to receive items from the deceased are required to trade in a new piece of clothing, all of which would be turned into a bundle. The bundle of new cloths and a dish is then given to the closest relative. The recipient of the bundle must then find individuals that he or she believes to be worthy, and pass on one of the new pieces of clothing.” ref

4. “Siouan–Catawban languages is a language family of North America that is located primarily in the Great PlainsOhio, and Mississippi valleys and southeastern North America with a few other languages in the east. Authors who call the entire family Siouan distinguish the two branches as Western Siouan and Eastern Siouan or as “Siouan-proper” and “Catawban”. Siouan languages can be grouped into Western Siouan languages and Catawban. The Yuchi isolate may be the closest relative of Sioux–Catawban, based on both sound changes and morphological comparison.” ref

“The Western Siouan languages, are closely related to the Catawban languages, sometimes called Eastern Siouan, and together with them constitute the Siouan (Siouan–Catawban) language family. Linguistic and historical records indicate a possible southern origin of the Siouan people, with migrations over a thousand years ago from North Carolina and Virginia to Ohio. Some continued down the Ohio River, to the Mississippi and up to the Missouri. Others went down the Mississippi, settling in what is now Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Others traveled across Ohio to what is now Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, home of the Dakota. With the main groups: Mandan, Crow, Dakotan (a.k.a. Sioux/Lakota/DakotaAssiniboineStoney).” ref

Siouan–Catawban Religion (Deities and Shamanism/or “medicine people”)

“The Sioux have two major linguistic divisions: the Dakota and Lakota peoples (translation: “friend” or “ally” referring to the alliances between the bands). Collectively, they are the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, or “Seven Council Fires”. The Lakota, also called Teton (Thítȟuŋwaŋ; possibly “dwellers on the prairie”), are the westernmost Sioux, known for their Plains Indians hunting and warrior culture. The Sioux people refer to their whole nation of people (sometimes called the Great Sioux Nation) as the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (pronounced [oˈtʃʰetʰi ʃaˈkowĩ], meaning “Seven Council Fires”).” ref

“Each fire is a symbol of an oyate (people or nation). The traditional social structure of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ strongly relied on kinship ties that extend beyond human interaction and includes the natural and supernatural worlds. Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ (“all are related”) represents a spiritual belief of how human beings should ideally act and relate to other humans, the natural world, the spiritual world, and to the cosmos. The thiyóšpaye represents the political and economic structure of traditional society. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the different Očhéthi Šakówiŋ villages (oyáte, “tribe/nation”) consisted of many thiyóšpaye (“camp circles”), which were large extended families united by kinship (thiwáhe, “immediate family”). Thiyóšpaye varied in size, were led by a leader appointed by an elder council, and were nicknamed after a prominent member or memorable event associated with the band.” ref

“The traditional social system extended beyond human interaction into the supernatural realms. It is believed that Wakȟáŋ Tháŋka (“Great Spirit/Great Mystery”) created the universe and embodies everything in the universe as one. The preeminent symbol of Sioux religion is the Čhaŋgléska Wakȟaŋ (“sacred hoop”), which visually represents the concept that everything in the universe is intertwined. The creation stories of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ describe how the various spirits were formed from Wakȟáŋ Tháŋka.” ref 

Black Elk describes the relationships with Wakȟáŋ Tháŋka as:

We should understand well that all things are the works of the Great Spirit. We should know that He is within all things: the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains, and all the four-legged animals, and the winged peoples; and even more important, we should understand that He is also above all these things and peoples. When we do understand all this deeply in our hearts, then we will fear, and love, and know the Great Spirit, and then we will be and act and live as He intends.” ref

“Prayer is believed to invoke relationships with one’s ancestors or spiritual world. The Lakota word for prayerwočhékiye, means “to call on for aid,” “to pray,” and “to claim relationship with”. Their primary cultural prophet is Ptesáŋwiŋ, White Buffalo Calf Woman, who came as an intermediary between Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka and humankind to teach them how to be good relatives by introducing the Seven Sacred Rites and the čhaŋnúŋpa (sacred pipe). The seven ceremonies are Inípi (purification lodge), Haŋbléčheyapi (crying for vision), Wiwáŋyaŋg Wačhípi (Sun Dance), Huŋkalowaŋpi (making of relatives), Išnáthi Awíčhalowaŋpi (female puberty ceremony), Tȟápa Waŋkáyeyapi (throwing of the ball) and Wanáǧi Yuhápi (soul keeping).” ref

“Each part of the čhaŋnúŋpa (stem, bowl, tobacco, breath, and smoke) is symbolic of the relationships of the natural world, the elements, humans, and the spiritual beings that maintain the cycle of the universe. Dreams can also be a means of establishing relationships with spirits and are important to the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ. One can gain supernatural powers through dreams. Dreaming of the Wakíŋyaŋ (thunder beings) is believed to involuntarily make someone a Heyókȟa, a sacred clown. Black Elk, a famous Heyókȟa said: “Only those who have had visions of the thunder beings of the west can act as heyokas. They have sacred power and they share some of this with all the people, but they do it through funny actions.” ref

5. “Uto-Aztecan languages is a family of indigenous languages of the Americas, consisting of over thirty languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found almost entirely in the Western United States and Mexico. The name of the language family was created to show that it includes both the Ute language of Utah and the Nahuan languages (also known as Aztecan) of Mexico. The Uto-Aztecan language family is one of the largest linguistic families in the Americas in terms of number of speakers, number of languages, and geographic extension. The northernmost Uto-Aztecan language is Shoshoni, which is spoken as far north as Salmon, Idaho, while the southernmost is the Pipil language of El Salvador and Nicaragua. Most scholars view the breakup of Proto-Uto-Aztecan as a case of the gradual disintegration of a dialect continuum.” ref

Uto-Aztecan Religion (Deities and Shamanism/or “medicine people”) 

“There are similarities and differences in the religions and cosmologies of the various Uto-Aztecan societies. The one promotes a comparative discussion of cosmological structural systems, and the other attempts to identify one or more motifs which might prove to be evident in Uto-Aztecan mythologies Based on the religion of the Hopi Indians of Arizona, I suggest that one of the most productive motifs is that of gender For the Hopis it is shown that cosmology and gender seem to converge in social and religious statements about gender that include androgynous and duogynous themes Insights from mythology and ritual are then applied to the social ideals and practices of the Hopis.” ref

“Numic is the northernmost branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family that includes Comanche and Shoshoni. It includes seven languages spoken by Native American peoples traditionally living in the Great BasinColorado River basin, Snake River basin, and southern Great Plains.” ref

“The language spoken by the Comanche peopleComanche (Numu tekwapu), is a Numic language of the Uto-Aztecan language group. It is closely related to the language of the Shoshone, from which the Comanche diverged around 1700. Sometimes a man named his child, but mostly the father asked a medicine man (or another man of distinction) to do so.” ref

“Comanche religious practice was very individualistic, with the emphasis being laid on the male vision quest. The quest gave power to individuals but entailed restrictive practices and taboos. There were no priests and few group ceremonies. The Comanche believed in a creator spirit and its counterpart, an evil spirit, and accepted the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon as deities. The religion was animistic with natural objects and animal spirits (except for dogs and horses) having various powers. Medicine men served as intermediaries and helpers with the spirits and also served practically as curers. The Comanche had few ceremonies, but had developed or practiced the Beaver Ceremony and the Eagle Dance. Unlike most of the other Plains tribes, they never accepted the Sun Dance.” ref

“The Aztec religion is a polytheistic and monistic pantheism in which the Nahua concept of teotl was construed as the supreme god Ometeotl, as well as a diverse pantheon of lesser gods and manifestations of nature. The popular religion tended to embrace the mythological and polytheistic aspects, and the Aztec Empire‘s state religion sponsored both the monism of the upper classes and the popular heterodoxies.” ref

“The Aztec Empire officially recognized the most popular cults such that the deity was represented in the central temple precinct of the capital Tenochtitlan. The imperial cult was specifically that of the distinctive warlike patron god of the Mexica Huitzilopochtli. Subjugated peoples were allowed to retain their own religious traditions in conquered provinces so long as they added the imperial god Huitzilopochtli to their local pantheons, while the Empire would often incorporate practices from its new territories into the mainstream religion.” ref

“In common with many other indigenous Mesoamerican civilizations, the Aztecs put great ritual emphasis on calendrics, and scheduled festivals, government ceremonies, and even war around key transition dates in the Aztec calendar. Public ritual practices could involve food, storytelling, and dance, as well as ceremonial warfare, the Mesoamerican ballgame, and human sacrifice. The cosmology of Aztec religion divides the world into thirteen heavens and nine earthly layers or netherworlds. The first heaven overlaps with the first terrestrial layer, so that heaven and the terrestrial layers meet at the surface of the Earth. Each level is associated with a specific set of deities and astronomical objects. The most important celestial entities in Aztec religion are the Sun, the Moon, and the planet Venus (as both “morning star” and “evening star”).” ref

“Many leading deities of the Aztecs are worshiped in the contemporary or present-day world. These deities are known by names such as TlalocQuetzalcoatl, and Tezcatlipoca, who are venerated by different names in multiple cultures and have been throughout the history of Mesoamerica. For the Aztecs, deities of particular importance are the rain god Tlaloc; Huitzilopochtli, patron of the Mexica tribe; Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent and god of wind and learning; and Tezcatlipoca, the shrewd, elusive god of destiny and fortune. Tezcatlipoca was also connected to war and sorcery. Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli were worshipped in shrines at the top of the largest pyramid (Templo Mayor) in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. A third monument in the plaza in front of Templo Mayor was devoted to the wind god, Ehecatl, who was an aspect or form of Quetzalcoatl.” ref

“Religion was part of all levels of Aztec society. On the state level, religion was controlled by the Tlatoani and the high priests governing the main temples in the ceremonial precinct of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. This level involved the large monthly festivals and a number of specific rituals centered around the ruler dynasty and attempted to stabilize both the political and cosmic systems. These rituals were the ones that involved a sacrifice of humans. One of these rituals was the feast of Huey Tozoztli, when the ruler himself ascended Mount Tlaloc and engaged in autosacrifice in order to petition the rains. Throughout society, each level had their own rituals and deities and played their part in the larger rituals of the community.” ref

“Aztec temples were basically offering mounds: solid pyramidal structures crammed with special soils, sacrifices, treasures, and other offerings. Buildings around the base of the pyramid, and sometimes a small chamber under the pyramid, stored ritual items and provided lodgings and staging for priests, dancers, and temple orchestras. The pyramids were buried under a new surface every several years (especially every 52 years—the Aztec century). Thus the pyramid-temples of important deities constantly grew in size.” ref

“In front of every major temple lay a large plaza. This sometimes held important ritual platforms such as the “eagle stone” where some victims were slain. Plazas were where the bulk of worshippers gathered to watch rites and dances performed, to join in the songs and sacrifices (the audience often bled themselves during the rites), and to partake in any festival foods. Nobility sat on tiered seating under awnings around the plaza periphery, and some conducted part of the ceremonies on the temple.” ref

“The Aztec world consisted of three main parts: the earth world on which humans lived (including Tamoanchan, the mythical origin of human beings), an underworld which belonged to the dead (called Mictlan, “place of death”), and the upper plane in the sky. The earth and the underworld were both open for humans to enter, whereas the upper plane in the sky was impenetrable to humans. Existence was envisioned as straddling the two worlds in a cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. Thus as the sun was believed to dwell in the underworld at night to rise reborn in the morning and maize kernels were interred to later sprout anew, the human and divine existence was also envisioned as being cyclical. The upper and nether worlds were both thought to be layered. Mictlan had nine layers which were inhabited by different deities and mythical beings. The sky had thirteen layers, the highest of which was called Omeyocan (“place of duality”) and served as the residence of the progenitor dual god Ometeotl. The lowest layer of the sky was a verdant spring-like place with abundant water called Tlalocan (“the place of Tlaloc”).” ref

“After death, the soul of the Aztec went to one of three places: the sun, Mictlan, or Tlalocan. Souls of fallen warriors and women that died in childbirth would transform into hummingbirds that followed the sun on its journey through the sky. Souls of people who died from less glorious causes would go to Mictlan. Those who drowned would go to Tlalocan. In Aztec cosmology, as in Mesoamerica in general, geographical features such as caves and mountains held symbolic value as places of crossing between the upper and nether worlds. The cardinal directions were symbolically connected to the religious layout of the world as well; each direction was associated with specific colors and gods.” ref

“To the Aztecs, death was instrumental in the perpetuation of creation, and gods and humans alike had the responsibility of sacrificing themselves in order to allow life to continue. This worldview is best described in the myth of the five suns recorded in the Codex Chimalpopoca, which recounts how Quetzalcoatl stole the bones of the previous generation in the underworld and how later the gods created four successive worlds or “suns” for their subjects to live in, all of which were destroyed. Then, by an act of self-sacrifice, one of the gods, Nanahuatzin (“the pimpled one”), caused a fifth and final sun to rise where the first humans, made out of maize dough, could live thanks to his sacrifice. Humans were responsible for the sun’s continued revival. Blood sacrifice in various forms were conducted. Both humans and animals were sacrificed, depending on the god to be placated and the ceremony being conducted, and priests of some gods were sometimes required to provide their own blood through self-mutilation.” ref

“Sacrificial rituals among the Aztecs, and in Mesoamerica in general, must be seen in the context of religious cosmology: sacrifice and death was necessary for the continued existence of the world. Likewise, each part of life had one or more deities associated with it and these had to be paid their dues in order to achieve success. Gods were paid with sacrificial offerings of food, flowers, effigies, and quail. But the larger the effort required of the god, the greater the sacrifice had to be. Blood fed the gods and kept the sun from falling. For some of the most important rites, a priest would offer his own blood by cutting his ears, arms, tongue, thighs, chest, genitals, or offer a human life or a god’s life. The people who were sacrificed came from many segments of society and might have been a war captive, slave, or a member of Aztec society; the sacrifice might also have been man or woman, adult or child, or noble or commoner.” ref

“Cultural God

  • Tezcatlipoca: meaning “smoking mirror”, a Pan-Mesoamerican shaman god, omnipotent universal power
  • Quetzalcoatl: meaning “feathered serpent”, a Pan-Mesoamerican god of life, the wind, and the morning star
  • Tlaloc: a Pan-Mesoamerican god of lightning, rain, water, and thunder
  • Mixcoatl: meaning “cloud serpent”, the tribal god of many of the Nahuapeople such as the Tlaxcalteca, god of war, sacrifice and hunting
  • Huitzilopochtli: meaning “left-handed hummingbird”, the patron god of the Mexica of Tenochtitlan, the sun

Nature gods

  • Metztli: the moon
  • Tlaltecuhtli: meaning “earth lord”, goddess of the Earth
  • Chalchiuhtlicue: meaning “jade her skirt”, goddess of springs
  • Centzon Huitznahua: meaning “the 400 southerners”, gods of the stars
  • Ehecatl: the wind, often conflated with Quetzalcoatl and called “Quetzalcoatl-Ehecatl”

Gods of creation

“Proto-Uto-Aztecan is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Uto-Aztecan languages. Authorities on the history of the language group have usually placed the Proto-Uto-Aztecan homeland in the border region between the United States and Mexico, namely the upland regions of Arizona and New Mexico and the adjacent areas of the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua, roughly corresponding to the Sonoran Desert and the western part of the Chihuahuan Desert. It would have been spoken by Mesolithic foragers in Aridoamerica, about 5,000 years ago.” ref

“Reconstructions of the botanical vocabulary offer clues to the ecological niche inhabited by the Proto-Uto-Aztecans. Fowler placed the center of Proto-Uto-Aztecan in Central Arizona with northern dialects extending into Nevada and the Mojave desert and southern dialects extending south through the Tepiman corridor into Mexico. The homeland of the Numic languages has been placed in Southern California near Death Valley, and the homeland of the proposed Southern Uto-Aztecan group has been placed on the coast of Sonora.” ref

“A contrary proposal suggests the homeland of Proto-Uto-Aztecan to have been much farther to the south; it was published in 2001 by Jane H. Hill, based on her reconstruction of maize-related vocabulary in Proto-Uto-Aztecan. By her theory, the assumed speakers of Proto-Uto-Aztecan were maize cultivators in Mesoamerica, who gradually moved north, bringing maize cultivation with them, during the period of roughly 4,500 to 3,000 years ago. The geographic diffusion of speakers corresponded to the breakup of linguistic unity. The hypothesis has been criticized on several grounds, and it is not generally accepted by Uto-Aztecanists. Using computational phylogenetic methods, Wheeler & Whiteley (2014) also suggest a southern homeland for Proto-Uto-Aztecan in or near the area occupied by historical Cora and some Nahua. Nahuatl forms the most basal clade in Wheeler & Whiteley’s (2014) Uto-Aztecan phylogram.” ref

“A survey of agriculture-related vocabulary by Merrill (2012) found that the agricultural vocabulary can be reconstructed for only Southern Uto-Aztecan. That supports a conclusion that the Proto-Uto-Aztecan speech community did not practice agriculture but adopted it only after entering Mesoamerica from the north. A more recent proposal from 2014, by David L. Shaul, presents evidence suggesting contact between Proto-Uto-Aztecan and languages of central California, such as Esselen and the Yokutsan languages. That leads Shaul to suggest that Proto-Uto-Aztecan was spoken in California’s Central Valley area, and it formed part of an ancient Californian linguistic area.” ref

“Esselen language was the language of the Esselen (or self-designated Huelel) Nation, which aboriginally occupied the mountainous Central Coast of California, immediately south of Monterey. The Esselen are a Native American people belonging to a linguistic group in the hypothetical Hokan language family, who are indigenous to the Santa Lucia Mountains of a region south of the Big Sur River in California. Archaeological and linguistic evidence indicates that the original people’s territory once extended much farther north, into the San Francisco Bay Area, until they were displaced by the entrance of Ohlone people. Breschini and Haversat place the entry of Ohlone speakers into the Monterey area prior to 200 BCE or around 2,200 years ago based on multiple lines of evidence.” ref

Carbon dating of excavated sites places the Esselen in the Big Sur since circa 2,630 BCE or around 4,630 years ago. Recently, however, researchers have obtained a radiocarbon date from coastal Esselen territory in the Big Sur River drainage dated prior to 6,500 years ago (archeological site CA-MNT-88). The Esselen left hand prints on rock faces in a few locations. About 250 have been found in a single rock shelter located a few miles from Tassajara (designated by archeologists as CA-MNT-44). Smaller numbers of handprints have been found in a few caves or rock shelters in the same area and in the next valley to the west.” ref

“The word “Esselen” means “the people” or “the rock people” in their language. The Esselen had a complex and sophisticated spiritual system, based on their connection to the land and the cosmos. They believed in a supreme creator called Kaknu, who was responsible for everything that existed. They also revered various spirits and ancestors who inhabited the natural features of their environment, such as rocks, trees, mountains, springs, and caves. They performed ceremonies and rituals to honor these beings and to ask for their protection and guidance. They also practiced shamanism, which involved entering altered states of consciousness to communicate with the spirit world.” ref

“Yokuts language: Yokuts, formerly known as Mariposa, is an endangered language spoken in the interior of Northern and Central California in and around the San Joaquin Valley by the Yokuts people. Yokuts is a key member in the proposed Penutian language stock. Some linguists consider most relationships within Penutian to be undemonstrated (cf. Campbell 1997). Others consider a genetic relationship between Yokuts, Utian, Maiduan, Wintuan, and a number of Oregon languages to be definite (cf. DeLancey and Golla 1997). Regardless of higher-order disagreement, Callaghan (1997) provides strong evidence uniting Yokuts and the Utian languages as branches of a Yok-Utian language family.” ref

“Yokuts traditional narratives include mythslegends, tales, and oral histories preserved by the Yokuts people of the San Joaquin Valley and southern Sierra Nevada foothills of central California.” ref

“Yokuts believed that shamans had supernatural powers derived from spirit animals they encountered in dreams or vision quests. Shamans helped conduct ceremonies and treated illnesses, cures for which they charged large fees. The Yokuts are a group of indigenous tribes from the San Joaquin Valley in central California. The word Yokuts means simply people; unlike other California natives, the Yokuts were divided into true tribes — possibly as many as 60 — each with its own name, dialect, and territory.” ref

“The traditional narratives of Native California are the folklore and mythology of the native people of California. For many historic nations of California, there is only a fragmentary record of their traditions. Spanish missions in California from the 18th century Christianized many of these traditions, and the remaining groups were mostly assimilated to US culture by the early 20th century. While there are sparse records from the 18th century, most material was collected during the 19th and the early 20th centuries. Ethnolinguistically, most of the native peoples of California can be categorized into three large groups, PenutianHokan and Uto-Aztecan. Of these traditions, one of the best attested and most notable in US mainstream culture is Hopi mythology, the Hopi being a Pueblo people speaking a language of the Uto-Aztecan family.” ref

“Several general traits are recognizable in California’s traditional narratives. These traits are not universally present, but they characterize most of the narratives:

Fluid genres

Folklorists have commonly attempted to distinguish between myths, legends, tales, and histories.

  • Mythsare sacred accounts that are believed by narrators and listeners to be true. They are set in a period at or before the origins of the world as it is known, and they usually contain strong supernatural elements.
  • Legendsare also believed to be true, and they may also contain fantastic elements. However, they are set later in time, after the world had assumed the form in which it was known to traditional cultures.
  • Talesare entertaining stories that narrators and listeners are not required to believe as true.
  • Historiesare narratives of actually witnessed events that have been transmitted, with greater or less embellishment, to subsequent generations.” ref

“In the oral literature of native California, the lines between these genres are typically not at all carefully observed. It is often impossible to classify a narrative definitively as a myth, a legend, a tale, or a history. Cognate versions of the same narrative as told by different narrators may fall within different genres.” ref

Sharing among neighbors

“Many of the narratives are entirely unique, existing in only a single version. However, many others are known in multiple versions that vary but are clearly cognate with one another. The versions may come from different narrators within a single ethnolinguistic group, from different groups within a region of the Californias, or from groups that are scattered across the North American continent and even beyond. Patterns in the relative similarity of shared narratives are almost entirely dictated by the historic-period propinquity of the groups sharing narratives. Few if any patterns reflect preferential sharing among historically dispersed groups that originally shared a common linguistic descent. This suggests ongoing, creative modification of narratives, rather than rigid conservatism.” ref

Weak narrative unity

“Lengthy traditional narratives tend to have an episodic or picaresque character. Their unity comes mainly from the presence of a continuing central character or from a causal sequence of events, rather than from any overall theme, plot, or narrative purpose.” ref

Fluidity in content

“As a consequence of weak narrative unity, the stories often have a composite character. Motifs are rather freely added, dropped, or transferred from one narrative to another.” ref

Moral ambiguity

“In the traditional narratives of native North America, the Western expectation of essentially “good” or “evil” characters or events is generally not met. The same character is likely to act beneficently in one episode but malevolently in the next, according to the accepted norms of behavior or to criteria of general welfare. Many of the early discussions of this literature by outside observers were marred by attempts to characterize a mythic personage as either a beloved benefactor or an evil trickster, when both of these labels might be equally true, or equally false.” ref

Surrealism in time

“The events of traditional narratives are rarely set within realistic chronological frameworks. Time spans measured in years or decades are rarely specified. Characters often are conceived and grow to maturity within miraculously short periods.” ref

Animal – human ambiguity

“The characters in many narratives are known by the names of animals (or, less commonly, by the names of plants or other natural features). Often it is understood that the character is the forebear or prototype of the animal species. Its conversation, actions, and motives are usually human, while its physical characteristics may be either human or animal, and commonly the two are mixed in a biologically inconsistent manner.” ref

Alfred L. Kroeber distinguished three main cultural regions within California. Each of these was seen as having a distinctive pattern in its traditional narratives that set it apart from neighboring regions.

  • The small Northwestregion was focused on the HupaKarok, and Yurok. A creation myth was lacking in this region. Narratives typically related to a race that had preceded the known human beings in the regions. Long stories about the travels and adventures of a culture hero were characteristic.
  • The Centralregion, encompassing most of California, possessed a creation myth that often employed the Earth Diver motif. Kroeber distinguished North Central and South Central divisions within this region, consisting respectively of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys plus the coastal and mountain areas adjacent to them.
  • The Southernregion included Takic– and Yuman-speaking groups. It had a distinctive creation myth but lacked most of the tales common in the Central region, at least to judge from the surviving records.” ref

Anna H. Gayton reexamined Kroeber’s regional divisions. While finding them generally valid, she stressed the gradational character of the transitions between the regions. She also suggested that variability in their links with regions outside of California was a key to understanding internal differences:

  • Links with the Northwest Coastregion of North America permeated Kroeber’s Northwest region within California. These links extended well beyond the Hupa-Karok-Yurok core, as far south as the Pomo and as far east as the Achomawi.
  • Links with the Plateauregion extended throughout northernmost California, from Kroeber’s Northwest region to the Yana and Achomawi in the east.
  • Links with the Great Basinwere pronounced not only east of the Sierra Nevada but also in the western foothills of that range and in upper Sacramento Valley and the Mojave Desert, from the Shasta to the Serrano.
  • Southern California was strongly tied to the Yuman-speaking area of western Arizona.
  • In central California Gayton discerned a relatively discrete nucleus of groups lacking such strong external influences. These included the MiwokYokutsSalinanOhlone, and Patwin.” ref

“Penutian languages: Penutian is a proposed grouping of language families that includes many Native American languages of western North America, predominantly spoken at one time in British ColumbiaWashingtonOregon, and California. Some of the more recently proposed subgroupings of Penutian have been convincingly demonstrated. The Miwokan and the Costanoan languages have been grouped into an Utian language family by Catherine Callaghan. Callaghan has more recently provided evidence supporting a grouping of Utian and Yokutsan into a Yok-Utian family. There also seems to be convincing evidence for the Plateau Penutian grouping (originally named Shahapwailutan by J. N. B. Hewitt and John Wesley Powell in 1894) which would consist of Klamath–ModocMolala, and the Sahaptian languages (Nez Percé and Sahaptin). Consensus was reached at a 1994 workshop on Comparative Penutian at the University of Oregon that the families within the proposed phylum’s California, Oregon, Plateau, and Chinookan clusters would eventually be shown to be genetically related. Subsequently, Marie-Lucie Tarpent reassessed Tsimshianic, a geographically isolated family in northern British Columbia, and concluded that its affiliation within Penutian is also probable. Earlier groupings, such as California Penutian and Takelma–Kalapuyan (“Takelman”) are no longer accepted as valid nodes by many Penutian researchers. However, Plateau Penutian, Coast Oregon Penutian, and Yok-Utian (comprising the Utian and Yokutsan languages) are increasingly supported.” ref

6. “Salishan languages are a family of languages of the Pacific Northwest in North America (the Canadian province of British Columbia and the American states of WashingtonOregonIdaho and Montana). Edward Sapir suggested that the Salishan languages might be related to the Wakashan and Chimakuan languages in a hypothetical Mosan family. This proposal persists primarily through Sapir’s stature: with little evidence for such a family, no progress has been made in reconstructing it. There are twenty-three languages in the Salishan language family. They occupy the Pacific Northwest, with all but two of them being concentrated together in a single large area. It is clear that these languages are related, but it’s difficult to track the development of each because their histories are so interwoven.” ref

“The variation between the Salishan languages seems to depend on two main factors: the distance between speech communities and the geographic barriers between them. The diversity between the languages corresponds directly to the distance between them. Closer proximity often entails more contact between speakers, and more linguistic similarities are the result. Geographic barriers like mountains impede contact, so two communities that are relatively close together may still vary considerably in their language use if there is a mountain separating them.” ref

“The rate of change between neighboring Salishan languages often depends on their environments. If for some reason two communities diverge, their adaptation to a new environment can separate them linguistically from each other. The need to create names for tools, animals, and plants creates an array of new vocabulary that divides speech communities. However, these new names may come from borrowing from neighboring languages, in which case two languages or dialects can grow more alike rather than apart. Interactions with outside influences through trade and intermarriage often result in language change as well.” ref

Salishan Religion (Deities and Shamanism/or “medicine people”) 

“Traditional Salish religious beliefs focused chiefly on guardian spirits. In the years just prior to puberty, boys undertook isolated nightly vigils, hoping for visions that would reveal their spirit-guide; some girls did likewise. Shamanism was also important, and shamans and medicine men and women could cure, and in some cases cause, disease or social strife. The winter guardian spirit dance, involving dances, feasts, and prayers in propitiation of guardian spirits, was the most important community ritual for the Salish.” ref 

“Each of the many peoples in these groups have their own stories and each storyteller may interpret them in their own ways, but many of the stories of the Salish peoples are similar and share themes and characters, and share their historical origins in the proto-Salishan culture long ago. The earliest descriptions of the oral traditions of the Salishan peoples were the collections of Nuxalk (Bella Coola) mythology by anthropologist Franz Boas. Many Salishan peoples distinguish between two basic genres of narrative, one is traditional stories corresponding roughly to what is called myth in English and which takes place in a Myth Age before the arrival of the modern age, in which plants, animals and weather phenomena are anthropomorphized. The other type of stories includes historical accounts and “news” or informational stories.” ref

“For the Nlaka’pamux of the Fraser CanyonNicola regions in British Columbia, the genre of traditional narrative is called sptékʷɬ whereas the informational narrative is called spíləẋm, in Montana Salish (Flathead) the distinction is between sqʷlú(ṁt) and sṁiʔṁíy, and other Salishan languages have similar pairs. The storyteller also does not “own” the story, although the best storytellers do give the narratives a personal flavor. Rather the stories are considered to be pre-existing and to contain all the knowledge of the world. Demonstrating the significance of the traditional narratives, elder Joe Cullooyah of the Montana Salish stated that “Everything you need to know about life is in the Coyote stories — if you just listen carefully”, and asked what happened to Coyote of the Coyote narratives, Cullooyah answered “You believe that Christ is coming back some day, right? Well, Coyote is coming back some day, too.” ref

“From the mythology of the Kalispel, an Interior Salish people: In some stories from the Flatheadstoryteller Lassaw Redhorn and the Kalispel storyteller Domicie Michell the supreme deity is called Amotken, a kind, elderly man who lives alone in heaven. He created five women from five hairs from his head and asked them what they wanted to be. Each gave him a different answer: wickedness and cruelty, goodness, mother of the Earth, fire, water. Amotken did as they asked and declared that wickedness would rule Earth for a time, but goodness would win in the end.” ref

“Some cultural elements are more resilient to language change, namely, religion and folklore. Salishan language communities that have demonstrated change in technology and environmental vocabulary have often remained more consistent with their religious terminology. Religion and heavily ingrained cultural traditions are often regarded as sacred, and so are less likely to undergo any sort of change. Indeed, cognate lists between various Salishan languages show more similarities in religious terminology than they do in technology and environment vocabulary. Other categories with noticeable similarities include words for body parts, colors, and numbers. There would be little need to change such vocabulary, so it’s more likely to remain the same despite other changes between languages. The Coast Salishan languages are less similar to each other than are the Interior Salishan languages, probably because the Coast communities have more access to outside influences.” ref

“Another example of language change in the Salishan language family is word taboo, which is a cultural expression of the belief in the power of words. Among the Coast languages, a person’s name becomes a taboo word immediately following their death. This taboo is lifted when the name of the deceased is given to a new member of their lineage. In the meantime, the deceased person’s name and words that are phonetically similar to the name are considered taboo and can only be expressed via descriptive phrases. In some cases these taboo words are permanently replaced by their chosen descriptive phrases, resulting in language change.” ref

7. “Muskogean languages are a Native American language family spoken in different areas of the Southeastern United States. The Muskogean family consists of six languages that are still spoken: AlabamaChickasawChoctawMuscogee (previously referred to as Creek), Koasati, and Mikasuki, as well as the now-extinct ApalacheeHouma, and Hitchiti (the last is generally considered a dialect of Mikasuki). “Seminole” is listed as one of the Muskogean languages in Hardy’s list, but it is generally considered a dialect of Muscogee rather than a separate language. The first branches are Western Muskogean with Chickasaw first then Choctaw then Eastern Muskogean: Muscogee (also called Muskogee, Maskoke, Mvskoke, Seminole, and previously referred to as Creek).” ref

“The Chickasaw language is closely related to, though perhaps not entirely mutually intelligible with, Choctaw. Sometime prior to the first European contact, the Chickasaw migrated from western regions and moved east of the Mississippi River, where they settled mostly in present-day northeast Mississippi. Chickasaw towns and villages were structured to be densely populated as a wartime measure but encompassed larger areas when there was no conflict with enemies. A main house and main meeting ground were used to gather groups from the Chickasaw community for ceremonies, celebratory affairs, and to discuss important social, cultural, and political matters.” ref

“Chickasaw traditional territory was in northern Mississippi, northwestern and northern Alabama, western Tennessee and southwestern Kentucky. Chickasaw people have a migration story in which they moved from a land west of the Mississippi River to reach present-day northeast Mississippi, northwest Alabama, and into Lawrence County, Tennessee. The Chickasaw are believed to have migrated into Mississippi from the west, as their oral history attests. They and the Choctaw were once one people and migrated from west of the Mississippi River into present-day Mississippi in prehistoric times; the Chickasaw and Choctaw split along the way.” ref

“The Chickasaws do not have a tradition of a time when they were without belief in a supreme being, Abaꞌ Binniꞌliꞌ (Sitting or Dwelling Above) also called Inki Abu (Father Above) under Christian influence. There were ancient beliefs in a multitude of celestial powers. There were four “Beloved Things” above: the clouds, the sun, the clear sky, and “He that lives in the clear sky.” It was believed that Abaꞌ Binniꞌliꞌ lived above the clouds and on earth with “unpolluted” people. He is the sole creator of warmth, light, and all animal and vegetable life. The Chickasaws worshipped Abaꞌ Binniꞌliꞌ, “in smoke and cloud, believing him to reside above the clouds and in the element of the holy fire.” ref

“Lightning and thunder were called Hiloha (Hiloha-thunder) and its rumbling noise ROWAH. When it rained, thundered, and strong winds blew for a long time; the beloved or holy people were thought to be at war above the clouds. Many Chickasaw used to fire off their guns, pointed at the sky, at such times. This was to show that the warriors were not afraid to die so that they could aid the holy people. Fire was very much respected by our ancestors. Trees were deadened and later used to keep our annual holy fire burning. It was unlawful—and considered the work of evil spirits—to extinguish even the cooking fire with water.” ref 

“In ancient times, our Chickasaw ancestors placed great importance and meaning on those locations defined as important by history and tribal religion. The story of our great migration, describing how the tribe moved from the “place of the setting sun” to the east as determined by Abaꞌ Binniꞌliꞌ (the one who sits above), was central in explaining the importance of our Homeland.  Explanations of natural phenomena and descriptions of one’s place in the universe were common themes as well.” ref

“Of the “Five Civilized Tribes” of the southeastern United States in the early nineteenth century—the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole—the Chickasaw were the smallest.  The number of clans varied between seven and fifteen (though six remained extant in 2002), with each composed of households and usually taking totemic animal names (e.g., panther, bird, deer) derived from a clan ancestor’s visionary dream. Clans were ranked and exercised ceremonial and other prerogatives. Men could marry only outside their birth clan; lineage was traced through females, who arranged or approved all marriages. The clans were grouped into two moieties (groups), the Imosaktca and Intukwalipa. Men could not marry outside their moiety. Moieties had their own rituals and a “prophet” (priest-curer). The tribe separated secular from religious leadership. By the early nineteenth century, it had a hereditary principal chief (high minko), a member of the highest-ranking clan of the Imosaktca, the senior moiety.” ref

“Religion permeated Chickasaw culture. The correct performance of personal and public rituals was believed essential to the tribe’s well-being and survival. Each household, clan, and moiety originally had a priest and shaman (healer), though after 1700 they combined into a caste of holy men. These positions were hereditary and were held by men too old to fight or hunt. They maintained each town’s sacred fire, which provided coals for every dwelling. The holy men also healed, conducted rituals, and interpreted signs, dreams, and events. The supreme being, Ababinili, the creator of life, fire, and light, was “a composite force consisting of the Four Beloved Things Above—Sun, Clouds, Clear Sky, and ‘He that Lives in the Clear Sky.” ref

“Lesser gods and good and evil spirits abounded, with a personal spirit to guide and guard each individual. Witches did evil; good spirits would aid those who observed the rituals. Festivals or rituals involving fasting and purging, feasting, dancing, and games marked the new year (at the first new moon after the spring equinox), the beginning and end of the harvest, and other occasions. The dead were buried inside the home in a sitting position facing west, with the face painted red and with personal possessions. The good would go to heaven in the west, the evil to a wandering existence in the Land of the Witches, or perhaps to a void in the west between heaven and the material world.” ref 

Mesoamerica Aera

 Mesoamerican languages:

“Mesoamerican languages are the languages indigenous to the Mesoamerican cultural area, which covers southern Mexico, all of GuatemalaBelizeEl Salvador, and parts of HondurasNicaragua and Costa Rica. The area is characterized by extensive linguistic diversity containing several hundred different languages and seven major language families. Mesoamerica is also an area of high linguistic diffusion in that long-term interaction among speakers of different languages through several millennia has resulted in the convergence of certain linguistic traits across disparate language families. The Mesoamerican sprachbund is commonly referred to as the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area.” ref

“The languages of Mesoamerica were also among the first to evolve independent traditions of writing. The oldest texts date to approximately 1000 BCE (namely olmec and zapotec), though most texts in the indigenous scripts (such as Maya) date to c. 600–900 CE. Following the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, and continuing up until the 19th century, most Mesoamerican languages were written in Latin script.” ref

“The languages of Mesoamerica belong to 6 major families – MayanOto-MangueMixe–ZoqueTotonacanUto-Aztecan, and Chibchan languages (only on the southern border of the area) – as well as a few smaller families and isolates – PurépechaHuaveTequistlatecXincan and Lencan. Among these Oto-Manguean and Mayan families account for the largest numbers of speakers by far – each having speakers numbering more than a million. Many Mesoamerican languages today are either endangered or already extinct, but others, including the Mayan languagesNahuatlMixtec, and Zapotec, have several hundred thousand speakers and remain viable. Mesoamerica can be divided into smaller linguistic subareas wherein linguistic diffusion has been especially intense, or where certain families have extended to become predominant.” ref

“One such subarea would be the Maya area, roughly covering the Yucatán Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, Chiapas, and Tabasco, where Mayan languages have been highly predominant. The fringes of the area have been home to Xincan (in the southeast) and Mixe-Zoque (along the Pacific coast) speakers, in addition to Nawat (also along the Pacific coast) and the Oto-Manguean Chiapanec language (in the southwest) following postclassic migrations.” ref

“Another linguistic area is Oaxaca, which is dominated by speakers of Oto-Manguean languages, mainly Mixtec and Zapotec, both of which are extremely internally diverse. Non-Oto-Manguean languages include MixeTequistlatecanHuave, and the Nahuan Pochutec language. Huave was the original language of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, but lost territory to Zapotec. Oaxaca is the most linguistically diverse area of Mesoamerica and its 36,820 square miles (95,400 km2) contain at least 100 mutually unintelligible linguistic variants.” ref

“The subarea commonly called Central Mexico, covering valleys and mountainous areas surrounding the Valley of Mexico, originally was mainly host to Oto-Pamean languages; however, beginning in the late classic these languages were largely gradually displaced by Nahuatl, which was henceforth the predominant indigenous language of the area. OtomiMatlatzinca, and Mazahua retained significant presences.” ref

“The Western area was inhabited mostly by speakers of Purépecha in MichoacánHuichol and Cora in Nayarit, and Western Peripheral Nahuatl in Jalisco and Colima. A host of small undocumented languages were spoken in Colima and southern Jalisco, such as Jalisco Otomi and Jalisco Zapotec.” ref

“The Northern Rim area has been inhabited by semi-nomadic Chichimec speakers of Uto-Aztecan languages (probably related to the Tepiman and Corachol groups) as well as Pame (Oto-Mangue), and other undocumented languages that are now extinct, such as Jalisco Otomi.” ref

“The Gulf area is traditionally the home of speakers of Totonacan languages in the northern and central area and Mixe–Zoque languages in the southern area. However, the northern gulf area became home to the speakers of Huastec in the preclassic period, and the southern area began speaking Isthmus Nahuatl in the post-classic period.” ref

“The areas of Central America (excluding the Maya areas) that formed part of Mesoamerica during the preclassic were dominated by Lencan speakers. Based on toponymy, it is possible that Xincan languages were originally spoken in western El Salvador, but were replaced by Nawat after postclassic migrations. The migrations of Subtiaba and Mangue speakers, possibly also during the postclassic period, expanded the realm of Mesoamerican cultural influence to include the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and the Nicoya Peninsula, which were previously part of the Isthmo-Colombian area and probably inhabited by Misumalpan and Chibchan speakers.” ref

“The Guerrero subarea has been home to the Oto-Manguean Tlapanec and the unclassified Cuitlatec, and later Nahuatl, as well as a handful of undocumented languages along the Costa Grande. The first human presence in Mesoamerica is documented around 8000 BCE, during a period referred to as the Paleo-Indian. Linguistic data, however, including language reconstruction derived from the comparative method, do not reach further back than approximately 5000 years (towards the end of the Archaic period).” ref

“Throughout the history of Mesoamerica, an unknown number of languages and language families became extinct and left behind no evidence of their existence. What is known about the pre-Columbian history of the Mesoamerican languages is what can be surmised from linguistic, archeological, and ethnohistorical evidence. Often, hypotheses concerning the linguistic prehistory of Mesoamerica rely on very little evidence.” ref

“Three large language families are thought to have had their most recent common homelands within Mesoamerica. The time frames and locations in which the common ancestors of these families, referred to by linguists as proto-languages, were spoken are reconstructed by methods of historical linguistics. The three earliest known families of Mesoamerica are the Mixe–Zoquean languages, the Oto-Manguean languages, and the Mayan languages.” ref

Proto-Oto-Manguean is thought to have been spoken in the Tehuacán valley between 5000 and 3000 BCE, although it may only have been one center of Oto-manguean culture, another possible Oto-Manguean homeland being Oaxaca. Proto-Mayan was spoken in the Cuchumatanes highlands of Guatemala around 3000 BCE. Proto-Mixe–Zoquean was spoken on the gulf coast and on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and on the Guatemalan Pacific coast around 2000 BCE, in a much larger area than its current extension. Totonacan languages, Purépecha, Huave, and the Tequistlatecan languages can also be assumed to have been present in Mesoamerica at this point although it is unknown.” ref

“The first complex society in Mesoamerica was the Olmec civilization, which emerged around 2000 BCE during the Early Preclassic. It is documented that around this time many Mesoamerican languages adopted loanwords from the Mixe–Zoquean languages, particularly loanwords related to such culturally fundamental concepts as agriculture and religion. This has led some linguists to believe that the carriers of Olmec culture spoke a Mixe–Zoquean language and that words spread from their language into others because of their potential cultural dominance in the Preclassic period, though the relationship between the Olmec and other Preclassic groups is still debated (see Olmec influences on Mesoamerican cultures).” ref

“During this time the Oto-Manguean languages diversified and spread into Oaxaca and central Mexico. In the Valley of Oaxaca, the Oto-Manguean Zapotec culture emerges around c. 1000 BCE. The splitting of Proto-Mayan into the modern Mayan languages slowly began at roughly 2000 BCE when the speakers of Huastec moved north into the Mexican Gulf Coast regionUto-Aztecan languages were still outside of Mesoamerica during the Preclassic, their speakers living as semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers on the northern rim of the region and co-existing with speakers of Coracholan and Oto-Pamean languages.” ref

“During the Classic period, the linguistic situation simultaneously becomes both clearer and more obscure. While the Maya actually left examples of their writing, researchers have been unable to determine the linguistic affiliations of several important Classic civilizations, including TeotihuacanXochicalcoCacaxtla, and El Tajín. During this time it is well established that Mixtec languages were spoken at Tilantongo and Zapotec at Monte Albán (in the Valley of Oaxaca). The linguistic situation of the Maya area is relatively clear – Proto-Yucatec and Proto-Cholan were established in their respective locations in Yucatán and in the Tabasco area. Around 200 CE speakers of the Tzeltalan branch of Proto-Cholan moved south into Chiapas displacing speakers of Zoquean languages. Throughout the southern part of the Maya area and the highlands the elite of the Classic Maya centers spoke a common prestige language based on Cholan, a variant often referred to as Classic Ch’olti’an.” ref

“An important question that remains to be answered is what language or languages were spoken by the people and rulers of the empire of Teotihuacan. During the first part of the Classic period Teotihuacan achieved dominance over central Mexico and far into the Maya area. Possible candidates for the language of Teotihuacan have been Nahuatl, Totonac or Mixe–Zoque. Terrence Kaufman has argued that Nahuatl is an unlikely candidate because Proto-Nahuan did not enter Mesoamerica until around the time of the fall of Teotihuacan (c. 600 CE), and that Totonac or Mixe–Zoque are likely candidates because many Mesoamerican languages have borrowed from these two languages during the Classic period. Others find Mixe–Zoque an unlikely candidate because no current Mixe–Zoque settlements are found in central Mexico. Around 500–600 CE a new language family entered Mesoamerica when speakers of Proto-Nahuan, a southern Uto-Aztecan language, moved south into central Mexico. Their arrival, which coincides with the decline of Teotihuacan and a period of general turmoil and mass migration in Mesoamerica, has led scientists to speculate that they might have been involved somehow in the fall of the Teotihuacan empire.” ref

“What is known is that in the years following Teotihuacan’s fall Nahuan speakers quickly rose to power in central Mexico and expanded into areas earlier occupied by speakers of Oto-Manguean, Totonacan, and Huastec. During this time Oto-Manguean groups of central Mexico such as the ChiapanecChorotega, and Subtiaba migrated south some of them reaching the southern limits of Mesoamerica in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Also some speakers of Nahuan moved south, some settling on the coast of Oaxaca where their speech became the language Pochutec, and others moving all the way to El Salvador, becoming the ancestors of the speakers of modern Pipil.” ref

“In the Postclassic period Nahuan languages diversified and spread, carried by the culture commonly known as Toltec. In the early Postclassic period feuds between royal lineages in the Yucatán Peninsula caused the forefathers of the Itza‘ to move south into the Guatemalan jungle. In northwestern Oaxaca speakers of Mixtec and ChochoPopolocan languages built successful city-states, such as Teotitlan del Camino, which did not fall under Nahuan subjugation. Speakers of Otomian languages (OtomiMazahua, and Matlatzinca) were routinely displaced to the edges of the Nahuan states. The Otomi of Xaltocan, for example, were forcibly relocated to Otumba by the early Aztec empire.” ref

“As Nahuatl, carried by the Toltec and later the Aztec culture, became a lingua franca throughout Mesoamerica even some Mayan states such as the Kʼicheʼ Kingdom of Qʼumarkaj adopted Nahuatl as a prestige language. In Oaxaca Zapotec and Mixtec peoples expanded their territories displacing speakers of the Tequistlatecan languages slightly. During this time the Purépecha (Tarascans) consolidated their state based at Tzintzuntzan. They were resistant to other states of Mesoamerica and had little contact with the rest of Mesoamerica. Probably as a result of their isolationist policy the Purépecha language is the only language of Mesoamerica to not show any of the traits associated with the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area. In Guerrero the Tlapanecs of Yopitzinco speaking the Oto-Manguean Tlapanec language remained independent of the Aztec empire as did some of the Oaxacan cultures such as the Mixtecs of Tututepec and the Zapotec of Zaachila. In the late postclassic around 1400 CE Zapotecs of Zaachila moved into the Isthmus of Tehuantepec creating a wedge of Zapotec-speaking settlements between the former neighbors the Mixe and the Huave who were pushed into their current territories on the edges of the Isthmus.” ref

“Throughout the millennia in which speakers of different Mesoamerican languages were engaged in contact, the languages began to change and show similarities with one another. This has resulted in Mesoamerica evolving into a linguistic area of diffusion, a “Sprachbund“, where most languages, even though they have different origins share some important linguistic traits. The traits defining the Mesoamerican sprachbund are few but well established: the languages use relational nouns to express spatial and other relations, they have a base 20 (Vigesimal) numeral system, their syntax is never verb-final and as a consequence of this they don’t use switch reference, they use a distinct pattern for expressing nominal possession and they share a number of semantic calques.” ref

“Some other traits are less defining for the area, but still prevalent such as: the presence of whistled languagesincorporation of bodypart nouns into verbs, the derivation of locatives from bodypart nouns, grammatical indication of inalienable or intimate possession. Terrence Kaufman has worked with documenting the process of this linguistic convergence and he argues that the most probable donor languages of the borrowings into other Mesoamerican languages are the Mixe–Zoquean and Totonacan languages, this supports a theory of either or both of these cultures having a prominent role as a dominating power in early Mesoamerican history.” ref

“Mesoamerican religion is a complex syncretism of indigenous beliefs: A hierarchy of indigenous supernatural beings (some benign, others not). The territorial unit that has prime importance for most Mesoamerican peoples is the municipio, a unit roughly corresponding to a county in Great Britain or the United States. Each municipio has a municipal center where most civic, religious, and marketing activities take place. In the modern pattern, this center is the largest settlement in the area. An older pattern, still found in a few areas (as among some Maya peoples of the south and among the Huichol of the north), was for the municipio centre to be an empty town, occupied continuously only by civil and religious authorities and perhaps a few merchants. The bulk of the population resided in hamlets or on individual farms most of the year, moving to town residences only for short periods either to transact business or to participate in religious festivals.” ref

“Political and religious institutions are traditionally bound together into a complex of hierarchically arranged yearlong offices through which adult males may attain status and power in the community. All males must serve in the lower-ranked offices at one time or another, but only the most successful attain the highest positions. Progress through the ranks typically involves an alternation between civil and religious offices. Successful passage to the highest ranks results in election to the position of elder. The elders form a more or less informal group of senior men to whom the community looks for experienced guidance in policy matters and in times of crisis.” ref

“Mountain and water spirits are appeased at special altars in sacred places by gift or animal sacrifice. Individuals have companion spirits in the form of animals or natural phenomena, such as lightning or shooting stars. Disease is associated with witchcraft or failure to appease malevolent spirits.” ref

8. “Mayan languages form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica, both in the south of Mexico and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least six million Maya people, primarily in GuatemalaMexicoBelizeEl Salvador, and Honduras. Modern Mayan languages descend from the Proto-Mayan language, thought to have been spoken at least 5,000 years ago; it has been partially reconstructed using the comparative method. The proto-Mayan language diversified into at least six different branches: the HuastecanQuicheanYucatecanQanjobalanMamean, and Chʼolan–Tzeltalan branches.” ref

“Mayan languages form part of the Mesoamerican language area, an area of linguistic convergence developed throughout millennia of interaction between the peoples of Mesoamerica. All Mayan languages display the basic diagnostic traits of this linguistic area. For example, all use relational nouns instead of prepositions to indicate spatial relationships. They also possess grammatical and typological features that set them apart from other languages of Mesoamerica, such as the use of ergativity in the grammatical treatment of verbs and their subjects and objects, specific inflectional categories on verbs, and a special word class of “positionals” which is typical of all Mayan languages. The Proto-Mayan language is believed to have been spoken in the Cuchumatanes highlands of central Guatemala in an area corresponding roughly to where Qʼanjobalan is spoken today.” ref

“In the Archaic period (before 2000 BCE or around 4,000 years ago), a number of loanwords from Mixe–Zoquean languages seem to have entered the proto-Mayan language. This has led to hypotheses that the early Maya were dominated by speakers of Mixe–Zoquean languages, possibly the Olmec. In the case of the Xincan and Lencan languages, on the other hand, Mayan languages are more often the source than the receiver of loanwords. Mayan language specialists such as Campbell believe this suggests a period of intense contact between Maya and the Lencan and Xinca people, possibly during the Classic period (250–900).” ref

“The Olmecs were the earliest known major Mesoamerican civilization. It has been speculated that the Olmecs derived in part from the neighboring Mokaya or Mixe–Zoque cultures. The Olmecs flourished during Mesoamerica’s formative period, dating roughly from as early as 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE. Pre-Olmec cultures had flourished since about 2500 BCE, but by 1600–1500 BCE, early Olmec culture had emerged, centered on the San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán site near the coast in southeast Veracruz. They were the first Mesoamerican civilization and laid many of the foundations for the civilizations that followed.” ref

“Among other “firsts”, the Olmec appeared to practice ritual bloodletting and played the Mesoamerican ballgame, hallmarks of nearly all subsequent Mesoamerican societies. The aspect of the Olmecs most familiar now is their artwork, particularly the colossal heads.  This highly productive environment encouraged a densely concentrated population, which in turn triggered the rise of an elite class. The elite class created the demand for the production of the symbolic and sophisticated luxury artifacts that define Olmec culture. Many of these luxury artifacts were made from materials such as jadeobsidian, and magnetite, which came from distant locations and suggest that early Olmec elites had access to an extensive trading network in Mesoamerica.” ref

“The source of the most valued jade was the Motagua River valley in eastern Guatemala, and Olmec obsidian has been traced to sources in the Guatemala highlands, such as El Chayal and San Martín Jilotepeque, or in Puebla, distances ranging from 200 to 400 km (120–250 miles) away, respectively. La Venta sustained the Olmec cultural traditions with spectacular displays of power and wealth. The Great Pyramid was the largest Mesoamerican structure of its time. Even today, after 2500 years of erosion, it rises 34 m (112 ft) above the naturally flat landscape. Buried deep within La Venta lay opulent, labor-intensive “offerings” – 1000 tons of smooth serpentine blocks, large mosaic pavements, and at least 48 separate votive offerings of polished jade celts, pottery, figurines, and hematite mirrors.” ref

“Curators and scholars refer to “Olmec-style” face masks but, to date, no example has been recovered in an archaeologically controlled Olmec context. They have been recovered from sites of other cultures, including one deliberately deposited in the ceremonial altepetl (precinct) of Tenochtitlan in what is now Mexico City. The mask would presumably have been about 2000 years old when the Aztecs buried it, suggesting such masks were valued and collected as were Roman antiquities in Europe.” ref

“The ‘Olmec-style’ refers to the combination of deep-set eyes, nostrils, and strong, slightly asymmetrical mouth. The “Olmec-style” also very distinctly combines facial features of both humans and jaguars. Olmec arts are strongly tied to the Olmec religion, which prominently featured jaguars. The Olmec people believed that in the distant past a race of werejaguars was made between the union of a jaguar and a woman. One werejaguar quality that can be found is the sharp cleft in the forehead of many supernatural beings in Olmec art. This sharp cleft is associated with the natural indented head of jaguars.” ref

“In addition to their influence with contemporaneous Mesoamerican cultures, as the first civilization in Mesoamerica, the Olmecs are credited, or speculatively credited, with many “firsts”, including the bloodletting and perhaps human sacrifice, writing and epigraphy, and the invention of popcorn, zero and the Mesoamerican calendar, and the Mesoamerican ballgame, as well as perhaps the compass. Some researchers, including artist and art historian Miguel Covarrubias, even postulate that the Olmecs formulated the forerunners of many of the later Mesoamerican deities.” ref

“Mesoamerican ballgame: The Olmec are strong candidates for originating the Mesoamerican ballgame so prevalent among later cultures of the region and used for recreational and religious purposes. A dozen rubber balls dating to 1600 BCE or earlier have been found in El Manatí, a bog 10 km (6 mi) east of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan. These balls predate the earliest ballcourt yet discovered at Paso de la Amada, c. 1400 BCE, although there is no certainty that they were used in the ballgame. Evidence has pushed back the proposed date for Mixe–Zoquean language split of the Mixean and Zoquean languages to a period within the Olmec era. Based on this dating, the architectural and archaeological patterns and the particulars of the vocabulary loaned to other Mesoamerican languages from Mixe–Zoquean, Wichmann now suggests that the Olmecs of San Lorenzo spoke proto-Mixe and the Olmecs of La Venta spoke proto-Zoque.” ref

“Olmec religious activities were performed by a combination of rulers, full-time priests, and shamans. The rulers seem to have been the most important religious figures, with their links to the Olmec deities or supernaturals providing legitimacy for their rule. There is also considerable evidence for shamans in the Olmec archaeological record, particularly in the so-called “transformation figures.” ref

“As Olmec mythology has left no documents comparable to the Popol Vuh from Maya mythology, any exposition of Olmec mythology must be based on interpretations of surviving monumental and portable art (such as the Señor de Las Limas statue at the Xalapa Museum), and comparisons with other Mesoamerican mythologies. Olmec art shows that such deities as Feathered Serpent and a rain supernatural were already in the Mesoamerican pantheon in Olmec times.” ref

Mayan Religion (Deities and Shamanism/or “medicine people”)

“The Maya had a polytheistic religion, which means they worshipped many gods, including Itzam Na (Creator God), Kinich Ahau (Sun God), Ah Puch (one of several death gods), and Buluc Chabtan (War God). They practiced animism, which is the belief that all things, including inanimate objects, had a soul. Since the Maya worshipped so many gods, religious rituals and traditions were frequent and dictated by the calendar the Maya developed. The Maya referred to their practice of feasts and rituals as costumbre. Blood was often part of these Maya rituals, sometimes acquired by human bloodletting and animal or human sacrifice. Maya funerals were ritualistic and involved cremation and burial of the body as well as traditions to free the k’uh. Many Maya rituals involved dancing and elaborate costumes in the hope of getting the attention of a particular god.” ref

“Until the discovery that Maya stelae depicted kings instead of high priests, the Maya priesthood and their preoccupations had been a main scholarly concern. In the course of decades, a concept of royal ʼshamanismʼ, chiefly propounded by Linda Schele and Freidel, came to occupy the forefront instead. Yet, Classic Maya civilization, being highly ritualistic, would have been unthinkable without a developed priesthood. Like other Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican priesthoods, the early Maya priesthood consisted of a hierarchy of professional priests serving as intermediaries between the population and the deities. Their basic skill was the art of reading and writing. The priesthood as a whole was the keeper of knowledge concerning the deities and their cult, including calendrics, astrology, divination, and prophecy. In addition, they were experts in historiography and genealogy. Priests were usually male and could marry.” ref

Priests: In between shamans and kings

“The Maya class of the priests is sometimes thought to have emerged from a pre-existing network of shamans as social complexity grew. The classic Siberian shaman is characterized by his intimate relationship with one or several helper spirits, ‘ecstatic’ voyages into non-human realms, and often operates individually, on behalf of his clients. In 20th-century Maya communities, diviners, and also curers, may show some features of true shamans, particularly vocation through illness or dreamstrance, and communication with a spirit. In reference to these features, they are often loosely called ‘shamans’ by ethnographers. On the other hand, priests are chiefly cultic functionaries operating within a well-defined hierarchy and offering foodsacrifices, and prayers to the deities on behalf of social groups situated on different levels. The Pre-Hispanic religious functionaries described by men like Diego de LandaTomás de Torquemada, and Bartolomé de las Casas were also priests, not shamans.” ref 

“Among the Mayas, priestly functions were often fulfilled by dignitaries who were not professional priests, but this fact cannot be used to argue the nonexistence of a separate priesthood. The Popol Vuh stereotypically describes the first ancestors as “bloodletters and sacrificers” and as the carriers of their deities, a priestly function.  To the Kʼicheʼ kings and highest dignitaries coming after them, the kingship was a sacred institution and the temple service a duty: during certain intervals, they abstained from intercoursefasted, prayed, and burnt offerings, “pleading for the light and the life of their vassals and servants.” Although the text describes the three temples dedicated to the first ancestors’ patron deities and names what appear to be the two high priests of the main deities (the Lords Ah Tohil and Ah Cucumatz), it does not discuss, or even mention, local priests.” ref

“According to some Yucatec sources, too, the rulers and the high nobility carried out priestly tasks. The highest Mayapan nobility, for example, is stated to have served continually in the temples; for the early Choles, no regular priesthood is mentioned, so that one might assume that the chiefs performed the priestly functions themselves. The Yucatec king (or “head chief of a province“), known as the halach uinic (‘true man’), is defined both as a ‘governor‘ and a ‘bishop‘. Without a grounding in esoteric and ritual knowledge, a ruler could apparently not function.” ref

“For the Classic period, the king should probably be considered a sacred, priestly king, perhaps subsuming in his person the priesthood as a whole. The latter idea has been used as an explanation for the seeming lack of references to priests in Classic period texts. The idea of the king representing the priesthood should not be pushed to its limits, however, since due to our lack of knowledge of priestly titles and imperfect understanding of the script, textual references to priests may easily pass unnoticed. The existence of a separate Classic priesthood, at the kingdom‘s court as well as in its towns and villages, is hardly doubtful; its absence would constitute an anomaly among early civilizations.” ref

“Chief among the patron deities of the Classic priests was the upper god, Itzamna, first priest and first writer, still shown officiating in one of the pictures of the Late-Postclassic Madrid Codex. Patron deities of writing and calendrical reckoning were of obvious importance to the priesthood, especially the writers among them, and included a Maya maize god and the Howler Monkey Gods. The Howler Monkey God also personified the day sign, suggesting that he may more specifically have been a patron of diviners.” ref

9. “Chibchan languages make up a language family indigenous to the Isthmo-Colombian Area, which extends from eastern Honduras to northern Colombia and includes populations of these countries as well as NicaraguaCosta Rica, and Panama.” ref

Chibchan Religion (Deities and Shamanism/or “medicine people”)

“The Chibcha religion was of both state and individual concern. Each political division had its own set of priests. Apparently some kind of hierarchy was recognized and the priests were a professional hereditary class. Priests, who were clearly distinguished from shamans, had as their functions the intercession at public ceremonies for the public good, the dispensing of oracles, and consultation with private individuals. Shamans served the individual more than the state and cured illnesses, interpreted dreams, and foretold the future. The Chibchas had an elaborate pantheon of gods headed by Chiminigagua, the supreme god and creator. In addition to the state temples and idols, many natural habitats were considered to be holy places. Ceremonial practices included offerings, public rites, pilgrimages, and human sacrifice.” ref

“Chibcha, South American Indians who at the time of the Spanish conquest occupied the high valleys surrounding the modern cities of Bogotá and Tunja in Colombia. With a population of more than 500,000, they were notable for being more centralized politically than any other South American people outside the Inca empire. Numerous small districts, each with its own chief, had been consolidated through conquest and alliance into two major states and several lesser ones, each headed by a hereditary ruler. Although these states were not very stable, it seems clear that the arrival of the Spanish cut short the development of even larger political units. Their political structure was crushed in the 16th century. In the 18th century their language ceased to be spoken, and the Chibcha became assimilated with the rest of the population.” ref

“Chibcha society was based on an economy featuring intensive agriculture, a variety of crafts, and considerable trade. Weekly markets in the larger villages facilitated the exchange of farm produce, pottery, and cotton cloth; and trade with neighbouring peoples provided the gold that was used extensively for ornaments and offerings. The use of gold was a prerogative of the upper class, who were also carried in litters and shown great deference. Because descent was matrilineal, chiefs and religious leaders were succeeded by their sisters’ sons, although land was inherited patrilineally. Heirs to important offices underwent long periods (6 to 12 years) of fasting and seclusion in preparation for their future duties.” ref

“The religion was dominated by a hereditary but unorganized priesthood that maintained numerous temples and shrines and held elaborate but infrequent public ceremonies. Offerings, especially of gold and cloth, were a prominent part of all religious observances, and on special occasions human sacrifices were made to the Sun.” ref

South America Area

“Although both North and Central America are very diverse areas, South America has a linguistic diversity rivaled by only a few other places in the world with approximately 350 languages still spoken and several hundred more spoken at first contact but now extinct. The situation of language documentation and classification into genetic families is not as advanced as in North America (which is relatively well studied in many areas). As a result, many relationships between languages and language families have not been determined and some of those relationships that have been proposed are on somewhat shaky ground.” ref 

“In many parts of South America, the shaman, a religious specialist who enters into states of ecstasy, holds a prominent place in society. A shaman, it is believed, learns to control the passage of the soul out of and back into the body. According to South American tradition, the shaman not only controls the ecstasy of his or her own soul but also is devoted to the knowledge and care of the souls of others.” ref

“The length of shamanic training varies widely from one South American culture to another. Among the Arecuna and Taulipang, Cariban groups of Venezuela and Brazil, the shamanic novitiate is reported to last from 10 to 20 years. In other traditions, by contrast, knowledge might be transmitted to the novice in relatively brief but intense periods of ecstasy. The knowledge imparted may include the use of different forms of fire (such as ritual fires, sparks struck from special elements, or the light contained in bright crystals), the use of musical instruments, and the mastery of primordial sounds (which are thought to have the power to re-create the bodies of suffering patients or to reorder the seasons to overcome drought or famine), esoteric languages, and sacred songs.” ref

“The education of a shaman usually takes place under the direction of a master. In some traditions the master is an accomplished and practiced human shaman. In other traditions, including those of the Makiritare, the master is a supernatural being. The Makiritare believe that the sacred songs (ademi) were taught to shamans at the beginning of time by sadashe (masters of animals and prototypes of the contemporary animal species), who cut down the tree of life, survived the subsequent flood, cleared the first garden, and celebrated the first new harvest festival. In order to preserve their power, the ademi must be repeated in the exact phonetic pattern in which the sadashe first revealed them.” ref

“The shaman’s rattle is a most sacred instrument in South America, and the Warao (Warrau) of the Orinoco delta in Venezuela believe that the original shaman’s rattle was brought back to earth after the primordial mythic shaman ascended to the heavenly realm to visit the spirit of the south. It is believed that the rattle embodies the sacred forces of the cosmos through its sounds, structural features, contents, and connection to shamanic ecstasy. The rattle’s various parts also symbolize the structures of the world. The handle is the vertical path that rises into the heavenly vault. The heavenly realm is represented by the rattle’s great head-gourd, which contains spirits. Joining the handle to the head represents the joining of male and female elements in the universe, an act of fertilization that gives the sounds of the instrument creative power. Safeguarding the rattle and playing it properly during ritual fulfills the destiny of the human spirit: to sustain the order of existence.” ref

10. “Cariban languages are a family of languages indigenous to north-eastern South America. They are widespread across northernmost South America, from the mouth of the Amazon River to the Colombian Andes, and they are also spoken in small pockets of central Brazil. The languages of the Cariban family are relatively closely related. In the 16th century, Cariban peoples expanded into the Lesser Antilles. There they killed or displaced, and also mixed with the Arawak peoples who already inhabited the islands. The resulting language—Kalhíphona or Island Carib—was Carib in name but largely Arawak in substance. The Carib male conquerors took Arawak women as wives, and the latter passed on their own language on to the children. For a time, Arawak was spoken by women and children and Carib by adult men, but as each generation of Carib-Arawak boys reached adulthood, they acquired less Carib until only basic vocabulary and a few grammatical elements were left.” ref 

Cariban Religion (Deities and Shamanism/or “medicine people”) 

“The length of shamanic training varies widely from one South American culture to another. Among the Arecuna and Taulipang, Cariban groups of Venezuela and Brazil, the shamanic novitiate is reported to last from 10 to 20 years.” ref

“Earlier scholars, such as Hartley B. Alexander (1920), emphasized differences between Island Arawak and Island Carib religions. This tradition continued in the work of scholars such as Fred Olsen (1974) and Charles A. Hoffman (1980), for example, who postulated strong Maya influence on the religious systems of the Greater Antilles. Later, scholars paid greater attention to the similarities in Arawak and Carib belief systems—for example, the many parallels in Arawak and Carib shamanism—than to their differences. Archaeologists have since established a firmer and more comprehensive chronology for the Caribbean region (Rouse and Allaire, 1978). They also have discovered much greater variation in religious artifacts than was previously thought to exist, which in turn hints at a greater variation within the religious traditions of the Island Arawak and the Island Carib than was previously supposed. Arawak and Carib traditions, for example, may have differed from settlement to settlement on the same island.” ref

“Both the Island Arawak and the Island Carib possessed a notion of a high god, though, as the chroniclers’ reports make clear, their high god differed conceptually from the God of Christianity. We know, too, that aboriginal high gods were thought to exert very little direct influence on the workings of the universe. Many of the early chroniclers, including Fray Ramón Pané, Gonzalo F. de Oviedo, and Raymond Breton, refer to Arawak and Carib high gods as kinds of deus otiosus; that is, they are inactive gods far removed from human affairs and concerns. Neither the Island Arawak nor the Island Carib conceived of their high god as the creator of the universe, and it is unclear how powerful the high god was thought to be. Was it that their high god was able to interfere directly in world affairs but chose not to do so, or was he thought to be totally ineffectual? Chroniclers differ somewhat on this. Pané suggests that the high god was a powerful deity who chose to be inactive. Other chroniclers stress the inactivity of the high god and the lack of attention accorded him. The bulk of the evidence, including what we know of other American Indian religions (Hultkrantz, 1979), supports the latter interpretation.” ref

“The identification of Island Arawak deities is often a problem. Their high god was known by two names: Iocauna and Guamaonocon (spellings differ from chronicler to chronicler). Peter Martyr reports that the Arawak supreme being was not self-created but was himself brought forth by a mother who has five names or identities: Attabeira, Mamona, Guacarapita, Iella, and Guimazoa. He also reports other appellations for the high god, including Jocakuvaque, Yocahu, Vaque, Maorocon, and Macrocoti. Pané provides an equally complex list of male and female deities, and it is apparent that most deities in the Arawak pantheon were recognized by a number of appellations. Henri Pettitjean-Roget (1983) has suggested that the various names be interpreted as different incarnations of the same deity, as in the Hindu tradition. Another possible explanation is that different names simply represent local variants.” ref

“A number of interpreters (Joyce, 1916; Alexander, 1920) have posited that the Island Arawak possessed a conception of an earth mother and a sky father similar to that of other American Indian groups. This has been called into question. While there are many similarities between the goddess Attabeira and the earth mother of American Indian mythology, there are also many differences. Attabeira does seem to have been associated with fertility, and as Fred Olsen (1974) suggests, her many Arawakan names describe her various functions: mother of moving waters (the sea, the tides, and the springs), goddess of the moon, and goddess of childbirth Representations of Attabeira frequently show her squatting in the act of parturition, and archaeologists have been greatly impressed with the vividness of these portrayals. Her hands are holding her chin while her legs press into her sides as she struggles in childbirth. In several representations her open mouth and heavy eyebrows ridging over wide-open eyes convey successfully the intensity of her efforts.” ref

“But there are other characteristics of Attabeira that are not at all like those of an earth mother. Sven Lovén (1935) concludes that Attabeira cannot be identified as a goddess of the earth because she seems to have dwelt permanently in the heavens. He concedes that Attabeira may have been an all-mother, but this does not necessarily imply that she was an earth goddess. Lovén (1935) also points out that Iocauna was not an all-father. As noted previously, native conceptions of Iocauna would have precluded procreative activities. It is possible that one of Iocauna’s names, Yocahu, is related to the yuca (cassava) plant (Fewkes, 1907). Yocahu may have been the giver of yuca or the discoverer of yuca, but he was not believed to be the creator of yuca (Olsen, 1974). It is clear from all accounts that after yuca was given to the Island Arawak, it was cultivated through the cooperation of zemi spirits and was not at all dependent on the cooperation of Yocahu.” ref

“Other prominent Island Arawak deities include: Guabancex, goddess of wind and water, who had two subordinates: Guatauva, her messenger, and Coatrischio, the tempest-raiser; Yobanua-Borna, a rain deity; Baidrama (or Vaybruma), a twinned deity associated with strength and healing; Opigielguoviran, a doglike being said to have plunged into the morass with the coming of the Spanish; and Faraguvaol, a tree trunk able to wander at will. One difficulty with the various listings provided by the chroniclers is that they do not distinguish mythical beings and deities. This is unfortunate because the Island Arawak themselves seem to have made such a distinction.” ref

“As Alexander (1920) has pointed out, there is some evidence that nature worship and/or a vegetation cult existed among the Island Arawak. This remains, however, a much neglected aspect of Island Arawak religion. Pané’s elaborate description of the manufacture of wooden religious objects suggests some similarities between the production of these objects and the construction of wooden fetishes in West Africa. While the analogy is not complete, it has been noted that many aspects of Caribbean religions seem to derive from similar attitudes toward material objects (Alexander, 1920).” ref

“One of the most important differences between Arawak and Carib religions is that among the Island Arawak nature worship seems to have been closely associated with ancestor worship. The bones of the Island Arawak dead, especially the bones of their leaders and great men, were thought to have power in and of themselves. This notion also existed among the Island Carib, but their ceremonies and representations were not so elaborate. In addition, most chroniclers mention that the Island Arawak painted their bodies and faces, especially in preparation for war. The chroniclers are in agreement that the painted figures were horrible and hideous, but there is little agreement as to what the figures were supposed to represent. Jesse W. Fewkes (1907) has suggested that body paintings had religious importance; most other sources suggest that markings served to distinguish members of the same clan. The practice may have been a form of ancestor worship.” ref

“Like the Island Arawak, the island Carib recognized a multitude of spirit beings as well as a high god whose name varies according to text. Sieur de La Borde (1704) refers to their high god as Akamboüe. According to Raymond Breton (1665), however, Akamboüe means “carrier of the king,” and the highest deity in the Island Carib pantheon was the moon, Nonu-ma. Breton argues that the moon was central in Island Carib religion because the Carib reckoned time according to lunar cycles. The sun, Huoiou, also occupied an important place in the Island Carib pantheon. Although the sun was said to be more powerful than the moon, Huoiou was also said to be more remote from human affairs and therefore less significant.” ref

“Of the spirits directly involved in human affairs, Icheiri and Mabouia are the most frequently mentioned. Icheiri, whose name comes from the verb ichéem, meaning “what I like” (Breton, 1665, p. 287), has been interpreted as a spirit of good, while Mabouia, from the same root as the word boyé, or “sorcerer,” has been interpreted as a spirit of evil. The Carib informed Breton that it was Mabouia who brought about eclipses of the sun and caused the stars to disappear suddenly.” ref

“The terms icheiri and mabouia have been widely discussed in the secondary literature. I believe that these were not names of spirits, but were general categories within the spirit world, and that spirits were classified primarily according to their relation to the individual. One man’s icheira (helper) could be another man’s mabouia (evil spirit) and vice versa (Glazier, 1980a). The most important consideration, as far as the Carib were concerned, was to get a particular spirit on one’s side.” ref

“Another major category in the Island Carib spirit world was that of the zemiisZemi, too, appears to have been a very general term; the word is of Arawak origin and indicates the strong influence of Island Arawak language and culture on the Island Carib. Among the Carib, to get drunk, chemerocae, literally meant “to see zemiis.” Zemiis were thought to live in a paradise far removed from the world of the living, but every so often, according to La Borde (1704), Coualina, chief of the zemiis, would become angry about the wickedness of some z