One of my students asked me if it’s true that American Indians don’t believe in the land bridge hypothesis.
The student is enrolled in a critical race theory class, taught by an American Indian scholar, who told the class the Bering Strait thesis is a “very sensitive” topic in Indian Country.
True that many Native creation stories emerge from a place—a place we call home.
And many stories tell how The People were instructed to care for their animal brothers and protect the forests and rivers.
The notion that our ancestors journeyed across Asia to North America can be upsetting.
In fact, my relatives say, “Other way.”
Just look at the Osage people, avid travelers who would scout great distances to learn about foreign villages.
More likely that we populated Asia, they say. “Other way.”
The student asked me how we reconcile scientific evidence with creation stories.
Somehow, scientists–physicists, chemists and mathematicians who practice Christianity (for example)–have found ways to reconcile their religious beliefs with their faith.
If Christians, Jews and Buddhists can hold two contradictory thoughts simultaneously and maintain their sanity, then why can’t Indians?
Seems that often Indians are segregated into their own island of stereotypology.
I think it’s easier to think of a Jewish geologist who embraces the Old Testament and also believes the universe was created over millions of years rather than six days.
We get drop-kicked into a special non-believer category, fueled by our stubbornness.
Why should American Indians be any different from anyone else when it comes to reconciling our faith with our stories?
[Image by Leonardo Da Vinci]