AP Photo/Roberto Chavez Arce via Science
Divers use lights to illuminate Hoyo Negro, an underwater cave in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula where the remains of “Naia,” a teenage girl who lived 12,000 to 13,000 years earlier, were found.

New Discovery Confirms Native American Views on Their Ancestry

Alex Ewen

The discovery and scientific examination of one of the oldest human remains found in the Americas confirms what Native people have known all along, that they are the original inhabitants of this hemisphere.

For the past 15 years the question of whether modern American Indians were descended from the ancient people who lived in North and South America more than 10,000 years ago has been the subject of a contentious and bruising scientific debate. This debate has had profound legal implications, since under the current laws in the United States, the custody and control of human remains is dependent on whether or not there is a relationship to a modern Indian tribe.

The new discovery of “Naia,” as the human skeleton found off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has been named, as well as the recent examination of the Anzick child, may have now put this debate to rest.

RELATED: DNA Politics: Anzick Child Casts Doubt on Bering Strait Theory

Naia, Greek for “water nymph,” was discovered by divers in 2007, in an underwater sinkhole called Hoyo Negro (Black Hole), about 20 miles north of the ancient Mayan city of Tolum. Part of the Sac Actun underwater cave system, the largest underwater cave system in the world, Hoyo Negro also contained a trove of extinct prehistoric animal skeletons such as saber-toothed cats, gomphotheres (elephant-like animals related to mastodons) and giant sloths.

Naia, believed to have been a young girl of 15 or 16, apparently fell to her death in the sinkhole sometime between 12,000 and 13,000 years ago. About 10,000 years ago, as the Ice Ages came to an end and melting glaciers raised sea levels around the world, the cave system was flooded. Her remains, now 130 feet below sea level, were preserved. Under Mexican law her skeleton could not be disturbed, even for scientific study, but the cave systems are a popular tourist dive location and divers had been found digging around her, prompting the government and scientists to recover her.


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Pediowoman's picture
Submitted by Pediowoman on
I am so glad that somebody finally called Chatters out. All of the other media reporting on this have conveniently glossed over his not only arrogant but also illegal actions when the Kennewick man remains were found. Chatters may have started the “Kennewick Man was not an Indian” ball rolling but Owsley and Stanford ran with it and left Chatters setting in the dust. Owsley, Stanford and Bagley have sold books and spoken at gatherings promoting their spin, knowing all the while that it was false. These people are educated and at one time respected men in their fields but now are nothing more than a sad joke. Even with the Anzik Child, Naia and soon The Kennewick Man himself all proving the relationship between paleo-INDIANS and modern Indians, these egocentric men will not publically admit they were stringing the public along for profit and ego. I do not just blame them; the Smithsonian is guilty of promoting and funding these racist ideas as well.

choctawgirl's picture
Submitted by choctawgirl on
Of course they give her a Greek name. Again, destroying our history one piece at a time.

sweetgrass777's picture
Submitted by sweetgrass777 on
Ok...now let's set the record straight here. Something that everyone is overlooking. They said she or her skull "looks different or somewhat different from modern day Native Americans". This is interesting because if you read the article more carefully it says and I quote: "For decades, anthropologists have fleshed out the idea that modern-day Native Americans are the descendants of ancient peoples who made their way from Siberia to the Americas over Beringia, that now-submerged land bridge. But scientists have also puzzled over curious skeletal remains that look as if they came from Africa or the South Pacific rather than Siberia or the Americas." So... She Looked "Negroid"!!!! or had features similar to that of Africans. People have long argued that some Native Americans where black or resembled Africans but nobody wanted to hear this. It's funny how things always come to light. Not to mentioned she shared a common DNA with Natives. Wow!!! So that makes me rethink the whole Slavery thing. So if you look "Negroid or black but have Native American DNA folks I would think about petitioning the BIA for a Card of some sort, Forget blood quantum we have opened a whole new can of worms here. LOL Some of you may be a descendant who kept your African phenotype but are Indigenous to America. I truly believe that whoever wrote that book "They came Before Columbus" may have been on the right track about Africans and accounts of "Negroid looking Indians being here already and getting absorbed into the slave or African slave trade may have some merit. After all it where them who where the Ancestors of all humans. So if we accept this then look like black folks may be more apart of us than we want to admit. Looks like European or "Whites" didn't exit either until recently. Lol This is all according to their Scientist themselves folks": "An ancient European hunter-gatherer man had dark skin and blue eyes, a new genetic analysis has revealed. The analysis of the man, who lived in modern-day Spain only about 7,000 years ago, shows light-skin genes in Europeans evolved much more recently than previously thought." "The findings, which were detailed today (Jan. 26) in the journal Nature, also hint that light skin evolved not to adjust to the lower-light conditions in Europe compared with Africa, but instead to the new diet that emerged after the agricultural revolution, said study co-author Carles Lalueza-Fox, a paleogenomics researcher at Pompeu Fabra University in Spain." It is interesting because now things are coming to light with Modern technology. That would shut the ugliest racist down When they now know who's their Daddy! The creator works in funny ways it seems. We are all more related than we realize. We can hate black people or try to distance ourselves but it seems they are more apart of us than we realize. Kudos to the Creator!!!

logosmundi's picture
Submitted by logosmundi on
Humanity takes a long time to understand that we are all one, one people, one creation and that does not mean that culture with its many variations is not important. We have all been conditioned for so long that to be united we must all be the same and this takes time to die. This problem existed all over the world, not only in North America. I am African born, white skinned and green-eyed and of mostly Celtic genes but nothing African at all. However I am deeply influenced by Africa - although I have lived in Europe for half my life. Times and the world are changing. Western man has long considered that technology is culture - a mistaken idea - but that very technology is slowly bringing him to the same conclusion that old cultures and peoples all know and knew - we are only just human-beings. That is all. A little lower than the angels and we are responsible for and to the creative life that surrounds us. We will get there. Just feel proud of what you are, where you are and how you are and foolish racism will die. Those who close themselves in stupid racism, lose and those who open themselves in understanding, gain the universe. To close my comment, I add a poem that I included in my book "White Witness" How Long Will It Be How long will it be Before Man understands That Which makes him separate But one With all other men? How long will it be Before We understand That God is not glory but Divine? That man In not difference divine But Divine and Different? How long will it be Before We see That unity Is not a law But a state of Being Where all things flow Because they are And that Harmony Is whole As Logos IS But one thing And all Creation? “La chaim – to Life” But what is that But God? And darkness hung on the human world And God hid His face in the Deep For understanding could not prevail While humans sacrificed to Gods That are not real. We use Death To pay for Life What madness or What Logic this? How long will it be Before Man sees That He is God And stands Free In the human race and Minds not The transcendence Of difference Between himself And another man How long will it be! Marianne Winter

Valerie Goodness
Valerie Goodness
Submitted by Valerie Goodness on
I'm Glad Sweetgrass 777 brought up Van Sertima's work. Although we need to be very carefull about assumptions on how original peoples "look" compared to contemporary Native Americans, or any other narrow Euro-centric frameworks used to "categorize" our people. Which leads me to thank Pediowoman, I am so glad you spoke up. The silencing of our oral histories in the name of claiming ownership of our history by the dominant society needs to end. There have been many discoveries that show our peoples in the Americas for well over 250,000 years but is silenced due to Anthropologist claims of ownership of our history. Logosmundi, NO we are not all of one peoples. DNA proves this. The Biblical notion that we all came from Adam and Eve does not apply here. DNA proves that there are differences and no connections from Euro late human evolution for many cultures. There are well over 500 tribal nations in America many have different creation stories and different language constructs, some similar to western Africa as Van Sertima suggest that coincide with their oral histories. The Olmec resembled Asian African peoples. Mexican Indians are connected to many Native American through DNA but not Europe DNA. This coincides with many southern tribal creation stories. The reason why people like the Kennewick Anthropologists and Logosmundi are so insistent that only their version of history matters is because they refuse to actually speak to the tribes in a collaborative effort to do the right thing, which is to include the Indigenous voice in America's history. Settler colonialists cannot continue to take, if our history proves everything in the America's does not belong to them, even our DNA