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William Layer: Just who are those indigenous Americans?

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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Americans constantly hear from the media about “indigenous people” or “the Native Americans” (in Canada it’s “First Nations”) as if anyone from non-aboriginal stock is an auslander. The militant Latino lobby claims that white (and presumably black) Americans are the real illegal aliens who have no right to stop illegal immigration and should be removed from the continent. The alien lobbies second this absurdity.

In current cant, “Native Americans” are the descendants of the aboriginal population that came over the Bering Strait during the Ice Age. It is a designation for the American Indian which only came into being in 1990 aimed at robbing native-born American citizens of their claim to be “native”, i.e., born of American parents as described in the Constitution. Not only should American citizens not buy into this absurdity, they should heed what Russell Means, founder of the American Indian Movement had to say.

While being interviewed on a radio program, the host referred to Means as a “native American.” Means quickly corrected him, saying a native American was anyone born of citizen parents, then adding, “I’m an Indian.” The chagrined soy-boy host must have slumped down in his chair after that. Means was right. Certainly, if anyone was entitled to birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment it was the American Indian, but he didn’t get it nor did the writers of the amendment mean to confer citizenship on who happened to be born within the United States. Its intent was to give the protections of citizenship to the newly freed slaves. Not until the Coolidge Administration was the American Indian granted citizenship, before that he was considered a citizen of a sovereign nation, i.e., his tribe.

But weren’t the Indians here first? Not so fast. The September 23, 2021 Wall Street Journal reported ‘’… newly found footprints show that humans lived in the American Southwest in an era when massive ice sheets blocked the way for migrants from Asia to the New World…” (“Ancient Footprints Yield Surprising New Clues About the First Americans.”)

Stone knives found in Clovis, New Mexico have been discovered in only one other location – southwest France. The bones of Kennewick Man found on the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington are about nine thousand years old. When the face was fleshed out, Kennewick Man looked like the actor Patrick Stewart. After much legal wrangling and the objections of scholars, the skeleton was turned over to local tribes for burial forever preventing further study. The Interior Department’s rationale was based on the age of the bones and that they were found within the continental United States; the Indian argument was a logical fallacy — argument by assertion, “it’s pre-Columbian, it must be “Native American.”  There was no evidence linking Kennewick Man to existing tribes.

In a further insult to scholarship and a victory for ignorance, the Clinton administration had the Army Corps of Engineers cover the discovery site under tons of dirt, destroying it forever. Evidence had to be erased. That Europeans just might have been here first didn’t go over well with the progressives, or with an administration seeking to appease Indians, but truth is its own defense – preponderance of the evidence is that the truly indigenous people of America were European.

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