Expanded Chapter from Yates’ Old Souls in a New World

Expanded Chapter from Yates’ Old Souls in a New World

“The Hopis’ Elder White Brother” (chapter from Old Souls in a New World, by Donald N. Yates, Panther’s Lodge Publishers, 2013)
Ever since publication of The Book of the Hopi in the 1960s the legends of the Hopi Indians of Arizona have been central to any discussion of diffusionism and the origins of North American Indians. In this, the first chapter of a new book about Greek, Egyptian and other Mediterranean cultural traits in the Cherokee Indians, it is suggested that the nucleus of the tribe we now know as the Hopi can be traced to Egypt, that the Hopi worldview contains elements of Hellenistic science and philosophy and that many of the religious terms used in their ceremonies are based on the ancient Egyptian language. The Hopis and the Cherokee, in other words, are related and share roots in the Old World of classical antiquity.


Expanded Chapter from Yates’ Old Souls in a New World

© Donald N. Yates 2005-2015


History is nothing but the soul’s old wardrobe.

Heinrich Heine

“All the lights in the House of the High Priests of American Anthropology are out; all the doors and windows are shut and securely fastened (they do not sleep with their windows open for fear that a new idea might fly in); we have rung the bell of Reason, we have banged on the door with Logic, we have thrown the gravel of Evidence against their windows; but the only sign of life in the house is an occasional snore of Dogma. We are very much afraid that no one is going to come down and let us into the warm, musty halls where the venerable old ideas are nailed to the walls.”

These biting words were penned by Harold Sterling Gladwin in Men out of Asia, the famous archeologist’s most popular non-technical work. Published in 1947, Gladwin’s book presented a maverick view of the peopling of the Americas, identifying five migrations of diverse races including Negrittoes and Austronesians to the New World. Heretically, he placed the first migration as early as 25,000 years ago and argued that the earliest colonists were Australoid.

The reaction of his colleagues in the anthropological establishment was stony silence, tinged with harumphs and pshaws of injured pride. Gladwin illustrated Men out of Asia with droll cartoons by Campbell Grant making fun of the sacred keepers of knowledge at the Peabody Museum at Harvard, Carnegie Foundation and Smithsonian Institution. In one, the dean of Southwest and Maya archeology Alfred V. Kidder is depicted as Dr. Phuddy Duddy sitting in academic robes atop a factory whistle sounding the alarm of illogical chronology. In another, a bespectacled Gladwin and his tweedy friend Professor Earnest Hooton of Harvard are shown in the academic doghouse “by request.”

The Establishment is still uncomfortable about Gladwin, who died in 1983 after a distinguished career of more than sixty years. Although willing to praise his meticulous fieldwork on the Hohokam at Snaketown and exacting methodologies developed at the research center he founded at Gila Pueblo outside Globe, Arizona, they do not know quite what to say about his conclusions and hypotheses, which grew more adamant toward the end of his life. The destroying angel of unorthodox theories, Stephen Williams of the Peabody Museum, can only think that Gladwin succumbed to his “whimsies” and grew soft-headed in his old age. “I have always regarded Men Out of Asia,” Williams loftily declares in Fantastic Archeology, “as a sort of spoof.”

Thomas Mills lived for many years on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona, where he and his mother opened and operated the Cultural Center at Second Mesa. A close friend was White Bear, the traditionalist who helped Frank Waters compile The Book of the Hopi in 1963. Mills was on familiar terms with other elders, kiva chiefs and artisans. In 2001, he wrote a little book of his own called The Truth. It was an attempt to reconcile some of the conflicting answers he had received from his sources.

How did a desert-dwelling, isolated people know of the earth’s spherical shape and rotation in space? What was the long journey in boats from across the sea they spoke of? And who were the Ant People they took refuge with after the destruction of the first, second and third worlds? Eventually, Mills felt he had some answers from Egyptian religion. He came to believe that the Hopi were Egyptians, old souls in Native America, charged with the task of praying for the safety of the world. The delicate balance of affairs in human destiny depended on a Hopi prayer feather or paho.

Paho seems to be an Egyptian word (pw). Embedded in Hopi customs and rituals are apparently many traces of ancient Old World civilizations. I thought of a time several years ago when Hopi elders David Mowa and Ronald Wadsworth came to give a talk at the university where I was teaching. I noticed David preferred to sleep on the floor in our guest room instead of the pullout bed. That was quite Indian, of course, but his act of leaving a crust of bread on the piano bench when he departed was not. This practice is rooted in the ancient Greek religious gesture of offering bread and milk to the household gods in a strange home.

Author Hamilton Tyler noted several Greek customs among the Pueblo Indians. The plinth-like figure of Masaw evokes the armless guardian statues or herms used by the Greeks as boundary markers. Hermes is both god of roads and boundaries and conductor of the dead to the underworld. “A number of students of Pueblo religion,” Tyler admitted, “have remarked that it was something like Greek religion.” Yet after uncovering astonishing analogies between the two religions, he concluded that “there is no actual connection between these two gods who lived centuries apart and on different sides of the globe.”

Other parallels Tyler dismissed which seem compelling to me are:  1) the Zunis’ harlequin-like Mudheads or Koyemshi, who arrive across bridges to taunt and harass people at the ceremony, just as did the clowns released on the Sacred Way between Athens and Eleusis at comic festivals (the word Koyemshi seems indeed to be a corruption of the Greek for “comedians,” Latin comici), 2) Hermes’ and Masaw’s playing of tricks on other gods, 3) their gift of song, 4) a body of tales about them as thieves, 5) their status as the inventors of firemaking and as fire gods, 6) their common role of leading the host to war and 7) their respective positions as fertility gods.

In addition to these correspondences, I propose there is an echo of a Greek religious rite in the Zunis’ Shalako, the ghostly ancestral figure who initiates reentry of the katsinas into the village at the winter solstice. Shalakos are costumed as luminous white armless figures ten feet high, similar in appearance to the Hopi depiction of Masaw. The Zuni Shalako seems to me to evoke the Egyptian god Osiris, a symbol of regeneration often portrayed as a linen-wrapped mummy. During the Shalako ceremony, the Koyemshi act up and poke fun at the spectators. In the Greek ritual, the maenads and bacchae roam around the crowd and feign tearing to pieces beasts and even humans who come in their way. Their counterparts at Zuni rend to bits live mice and rabbits and carry the small creatures about in their mouths.

Egyptians have long been suspected of visiting the shores of America and even planting colonies here. Whether reached by east or west, the other hemisphere was regarded by them as the realm of Osiris, god of the underworld. As explained by Gunnar Thompson:

From the vantage point of Egypt, the western Atlantic lies on the opposite side of the globe . . . . [Their] expression “inverted waters” is an accurate description of the western Atlantic, and it confirms Egyptian knowledge of the Earth’s spherical shape. Likewise, the realm of Osiris was known as “The Underworld” because it was located beneath Egypt on the spherical Earth . . . Between both worlds flowed the “Two-Ways ocean river . . . . Egyptian mariners traveled west to the realm of Osiris and returned to the Mediterranean via a “two-ways” ocean river [flowing both directions]—the North Atlantic current.

Could the Egyptians have traveled to the realm of Osiris also by crossing the Pacific from Asia?

Excited by the thought that there might be a real connection between the Hopi and Egyptians, I compiled a list of Hopi words that seem to have the same sound and meaning in Egyptian. Nearly all prove to be archaic terms relating to tribal ceremonies and religious history. The Hopi’s main language is classified as Uto-Aztecan, a Native American linguistic phylum, but the formation of plurals with –n and –m points to Semitic or Afro-Asiatic affinities. Specialized religious terms in Hopi are relics or intrusions comparable evidently to fossilized words in the “old language” of the Cherokee. Such vocabulary evokes hieratic or priestly languages like Sanskrit in India or Latin in Western Europe.

With this daring key, events recounted in The Book of the Hopi became crystal-clear. Of the various former world ages or epochs recalled by the Hopi, one of them, Kuskurza, is specifically said to be “an ancient name for which there is no modern meaning.” Reading the names of these epochs in Ancient Egyptian gives them true significance. They are: 1) World Destroyed by Fire (Tokpela), 2) Time Long Ago (Tokpa), 3) Age of Abandon (Kuzkurza), and 4) Age of the Strangers from Afar, the Fourth World or Present (Tuwaqachi). Thus, the creator Taiowa (Uto-Aztecan or Tanoan for “man, human, people,” as in today’s Tewa, Tiwa and Towa) has his nephew Sotuknang and Spider Woman give life to the innocent First People in an Eden called Tokpela. They are led astray by the Talker and Katoya the handsome one (Satan the deceiver). The animals draw apart in fear and they begin to fight one another, in neglect of the Creator’s plan. Sotuknang decides to annihilate the world by opening up the volcanoes and raining fire upon it, but not before saving some of the faithful by leading them to a big mound where the Ant People live. The Egyptian word for this refuge the Hopi will use to survive two further holocausts translates literally as “subsistence in the pyramid of the ants.” Pyramid, in fact, means “anthill.”

After the end of Tokpela, World Destroyed by Fire, the people emerge to the Second World, called Dark Midnight, but they begin to become preoccupied with materialistic concerns as before. They ignore once again the commandments of the Creator. Sotuknang and Spider Woman seal a select few in the underground world of the Ant People and direct the celestial Twins to leave their posts at the north and south poles. The earth spins around off its axis, rolls over twice and freezes into solid ice. After it warms and the earth and seas are revived, Sotuknang brings the remnants of mankind out of the Ant kiva to emerge into the third world, Kuskurza.

True to its name, Kuskurza is full of big cities, jewels, copper, tobacco and speeding vessels called patuwvota. The Bow Clan behind these marvels corrupts everybody with wickedness until finally Sotuknang and Spider Woman intervene and put an end to the Age of Abandon with a devastating flood. This time the faithful are loaded onto reed boats. Spider Woman guides them to the Fourth World (Age of the Strangers from Afar). They dwell in stages on a succession of islands and continue to travel toward the northeast until they reach the new Place of Emergence. Hopi elders believe this to have been the coast of California, but it may have been at the mouth of the Colorado River on the Sea of Cortez, for the Hopi enact a coming-of-age ritual each year by sending youths on a footrace to collect salt here from a site associated with their ancestors. In former times, there were several large inland seas and the river system of the region was different.

Looking to the west and the south, the people could see sticking out the water the islands upon which they had rested.

“They are the footprints of your journey,” continued Sotuknang, “the tops of the high mountains of the Third World, which I destroyed. Now watch.”

As the people watched them, the closest one sank under the water, then the next, until all were gone, and they could see only water.

“See,” said Sotuknang, “I have washed away even the footprints of your Emergence, the stepping-stones which I left for you. Down on the bottom of the seas lie all the proud cities, the flying pátuwvotas, and the worldly treasures corrupted with evil, and those people who found no time to sing praises to the Creator from the tops of their hills.”

Once the people make landfall in their new home, the old gods Sotuknang and Spider Woman depart and leave the emergent Hopi to their own devices. This is a clue to the origin of this cosmic tale, which must have arisen in Sundaland, or Island Indonesia, among what the Cherokee called the “wise ones of Seg.” Indeed, throughout the entire Southwest Pacific Ocean, cosmologies focus on the figures of the Father Sky (Sotuknang) and Earth Mother (Spider Woman), the former usually portrayed as warlike and destructive, the latter as the creator of all the arts of civilization that sustain and nourish the people, as, for instance, weaving, basket-making and agriculture.

The central role of the Spider as the helper of mankind is preserved in two Cherokee tales. In one, Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun, it is the tiny water spider who swims across the water to an island where the fire burns in order to bring warmth and comfort to her freezing people. In another, the same water spider dives deep under the waves to bring up dirt and form the new country inhabited by the people.

We may therefore best understand The Book of the Hopi as codifying a sweeping vision of world history created by a founder civilization that came from Eden in the East (to use Stephen Oppenheimer’s term). In the mythic underpinnings of this society, there had been an age of man destroyed by volcanic eruptions (Tokpela) followed by global darkness, undoubtedly the fallout of such a cataclysm (Tokpa, the Second World). This age, too, is destroyed, this time by ice, with the Celestial Twins forsaking their axes:  Scientists today acknowledge the effect of the poles in causing Ice Ages. Kurskurza, the Third World of Abandon, ensues after the melting of the ice, but it quickly ends in floods. Its trademark is the boat (patuwvota). The old worlds having been destroyed by fire, by icy darkness and by rising waters, the survivors make their way to the Fourth, and Present, World, where they are called, in Egyptian, the People from Foreign Lands. Hohokam, the name of the Southwest’s “mother civilization,” means People from the Sea in Ancient Egyptian. From this, we may surmise that Egyptian boats made of reed conveyed the Islanders to their new home.

There the people meet Masaw, who becomes their guardian and protector. He is described as black and ugly, scratching out a humble existence in Oraibi (“Cliff Town” in ancient Greek) on Second Mesa. He declines to be their leader but gives them permission to stay. First, however, they must start their migrations to the ends of the earth (paso, another Egyptian word).

The name Masaw is the same as Ancient Egyptian msw “Libyan.” The Hopi say Oraibi was his original home, which they translate as Rock on High, but which is formed apparently from a Greek word meaning “boundary, landmark, covenant stone.” Inasmuch as “fire” has the sense of “a group of Indian people,” their discovery of Masaw sitting with his back to them around a fire implies not just one black man or Libyan but a nation of them. Another Second Mesa town, Shungnopavi, is translated as Place of the Black Man, although in Egyptian it means “fertile land, field of reeds,” this being the main metaphor in their religion for the afterlife, or paradise. That these Libyans were of the same stock as ancient soldiers and mariners from the Old World is supported by the fact that a later character in The Book of the Hopi, Horny Toad Woman, tells Masaw, “I too have a metal helmet,” in other words, armor.

The various names of the Hopi are also informative. These are Hoki, the secret original ethnonym, which seems to come from the Egyptian word for “magicians”; Hopi, the Peaceful Ones, Egyptian for “people of the law”; and Moqui, erroneously glossed as neighboring tribes’ derogatory reference to them as “despicable people.” In actuality Moqui is probably derived from Magi.

Aside from Oraibi, another trace of the Greek language comes to us from Acoma. A legend there tells of the arrival of its first inhabitants. The story goes that there once lived a boy all by himself on Enchanted Mesa. One day he heard the shouts of a strange people. A town was founded in the spot where the echo was heard. The word Acoma is garbled Spanish, but in the Acoma language Haku’uw is very close to the Greek word echo, related to English “acoustic.”

If Acoma has a hint of Greek, Zuni is pure Libyan. Its very form Ashiwi refers to the Oasis of Siwa in the land the ancients called Ammonia after its patron god of the sun, Ammon. Barry Fell sees the Zuni language as having “a large Libyo-Egyptian element similar to Coptic, to which have been added Ptolemaic roots brought to the Egyptian and Libyan lands by Greek settlers in the wake of the Spartan colonization of Libya in the eight century b.c. and the conquest of Egypt by . . . the Ptolemies, during the last four centuries b.c.” There are also roots of Nilotic origin, he adds, introduced by Nubian slaves—perhaps a reason why the Zunis traditionally divide themselves into a red and black half in their village. Zuni religion owes much to the worship of Ammon as practiced in the land of Ammonia with its capital of Siwa.

An early observer of the Zuni, Herman Ten Kate, found the tribe to “have been familiar with the art of silversmithing for some time” and highly skilled at polishing shells and turquoise to make necklaces. Moreover, they “surpass all other North American tribes in making of pottery,” especially large ollas for holding water. Their painting was black on while and their decorations ran to meanders, spirals and wavy lines, he said.

Other signs of Zuni’s Old World origins are found in the name of its priesthood, Shi’wanikwe (“people of Siwa”) and the place-name of an outlying village where apparently the Canaanite element among them settled, Kia’anaän. The Zunis’ tribal name is Children of the Sun. Ten Kate notes, “In addition to their everyday spoken language, the Zunis have a more ancient language, known only to the highest priests, in which the prayers of their order are recited.” He also reports that in Zuni traditions their ancestors came from the West in boats:

That they were aware of the sea during their earlier wanderings seems to be the case not only because they worship it but because they are at the same time familiar with the octopus or one of the other cephalopods . . . . Through tradition they are also familiar with earthquakes. They are labeled with the name of “the sound from the shell of the gods” . . . the tradition in this respect refers to how “the ocean was whipped to a fury” by “the sound of the shell of the gods.” Moreover, in former times they undertook pilgrimages to the coast of the Pacific Ocean for the purpose of collecting sacred shells . . . just as the Moquis [Hopis] did.

In Greek mythology, Poseidon, the god of oceans, creates earthquakes. Triton, a fish-tailed demigod worshiped in particular in Cyrene, blows the conch trumpet that controls the waves and sounds the approach of an earthquake. It is hard to imagine a better set of clues.

Libyan settlement in North America is apparent from North African writing systems, building styles and languages. The evidence for it ranges from a famous tholos-shaped subterranean stone chamber in Upton, Massachusetts to pre-alphabetic writing in a stick-script called ogam scattered across the American West. Inscriptions in ogam, Greek, Kufic Arabic, Phoenician, Tifanag (a Berber alphabet), Celto-Iberian and Egyptian all point to the Libyans. Many of the remains of the mixed Berber/Semitic/Greek/Egyptian peoples in the rock record have been identified and deciphered but many more have been overlooked or explained away. The monumental New England beehive chambers Fell believed to be in the style of Berber kivas were dismissed as colonial root cellars!

In 1994, Gloria Farley, an epigrapher, published the results of nearly fifty years of exploration in and around her native state of Oklahoma. The massive book was titled In Plain Sight; a second volume was anticipated at the time of her death in 2006. In Plain Sight provides a good look at these Native Americans who were not who they were supposed to be, who used metal when they ought to have been still in the Stone Age, and who had writing despite the denial of it to them by modern-day anthropology. Chapter titles tell it all:  They Came in Ships. . . They Signed Their Names . . . They Claimed the Land . . . The Trail of the Egyptians . . . They Knew the Sky . . . They Mourned Their Dead.

When my wife and I first moved to New Mexico, we immediately paid a visit to Bandelier National Archeological Monument twelve miles southeast of Los Alamos. The general impression it gives is a Greek, Roman or Tunisian site. How did the people who lived here hew all those blocks of sandstone, slate, and even granite and basalt? Tens of thousands of squared-off stones were required to build Bandelier, and hundreds, if not thousands, of metal tools. “Obsidian,” the ranger told us. But obsidian shatters on stone. Nor can stone be used to chop stone:  An archeological experiment attempting to do this produced an eighty percent degradation of tools within a few hours. And as though this were not enough, after being pointed out the path to what the ranger called Quetzalcoatl’s Cave, we stood face to face with a deeply incised example of ogam. Peeking into a cliff-dwelling down the way, we saw Tifanag writing in a painted plaster ceiling.

Ogam has been recognized in Celtic lands for several centuries, but it was Barry Fell who first studied its remote origins. A seminal document is the short Ogam Tract added to the end of a medieval Irish manuscript kept today in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. This treatise in the great Book of Ballymote contains specimens of ogam arranged geographically with Gaelic and Latin translations beside them. Its rediscovery proved to be the Rosetta Stone for ancient North African writing. Fell was able through this link to decipher different versions in Libyan, Egyptian, Punic, Ibero-Celtic and a welter of other languages. For instance, a script called African by the Ballymote scribe is an Iberian variety used by Semitic speakers in southern Spain during the first millennium b.c.e. Fell published a chart comparing the oldest styles with the fully developed and more familiar Irish style of the Middle Ages.

Predictably, his discoveries were ridiculed. Archeology students today are still cautioned by their professors not to cite anything that appears to be prehistoric writing in America. Ever since Major Powell directed the Smithsonian’s Bureau of Ethnology, there has been an academic ban on such reckless speculation.

I was not surprised to discover upon my return to Santa Fe that among the hundreds of books, surveys and dissertations written about Bandelier, not one mention was made of the marks on the rock-face outside Quetzalcoatl’s Cave. One of my friends suggested it was a place where the Bandelierian Indians sharpened their arrows.

The Bandelier inscription is a textbook case of Old Ogam and unquestionably was produced with the aid of metal tools. From right to left in the fashion of Hebrew, it reads:  Q-H-T-Z-H-L C-TL-H-TL-H. The marks are in a style similar to a specimen discovered on Manana Island, near Monhegan Island on the coast of Maine. Sometimes called Hinged Ogam, this is a variety of Bronze Age ogam quite common in America, corresponding roughly to no. 16 in the Irish Ogam Tract. The Manana stone states:  “Ships from Phoenicia, Cargo platform.”

There are images of Quetzalcoatl in the rock art record of the American Southwest, quite a few actually, although only a small number have been adequately elucidated. Crosses are signs of his cult, just as the face or mask represents him in his aspect of god of life and death. Interestingly, this Feathered Serpent’s final resting place (if that is what it is) forms a rock cavity or catacomb similar to those carved by ancient Phoenicians and Libyan peoples. The cult of the dead, especially of entombed kings and saints, still exists among the modern Berbers in the practices of Maraboutism.

Like the god Pan in ancient Greece, Quetzalcoatl is unique for having both a birth and death. He first appears as a culture-bearer in a ship arriving from the East, bearded, clad all in white and wearing a distinctive conical hat. Later, he is identified with the son of the Toltec emperor Mixcoatl. Beginning in the seventh century the Toltecs were ruled for nine generations by priest-kings with the name Quetzalcoatl. The first of these was honored for having overturned the practice of human sacrifice (a religious rite of the Phoenicians) but later he was assassinated by enemies opposed to his reforms. In another myth, Quetzalcoatl sails off toward the rising sun, promising one day to return. In Yucatan he is called Kukulcan. Moctezuma, the Aztec emperor of Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest, was well versed in the prophecies about Quetzalcoatl and thought the foreigners to be the returning white gods of legend.

The so-called Jornada Style of rock art and pottery decoration in the Southwest includes numerous representations of Quetzalcoatl, as well as another important Mesoamerican figure, Tlaloc (pronounced Choc), the goggle-eyed rain god. Tlaloc is thought to be the chief deity represented in Hopi and Pueblo katsinas, the rain-bringer who once demanded human sacrifice (those Phoenicians again). Quetzalcoatl is affiliated with fish, travel, trade, agriculture and fertility.

Quetzalcoatl becomes the Horned or Plumed Water Serpent of the Pueblo Indians, patron of rivers, springs and irrigation. He is recognizable in the Hopi Sky God, who wears a single horn or high cone when masked and hat shaped like a star when unmasked. The mask is another emblem associated with these foreign gods. In their katsina rain-bringing rituals, Hopi and other Pueblo Indians incorporate both masks and crosses.

Through these correspondences, a historical overlay of Mexican religion on the Hopis’ original Egyptian and Greek culture begins to crystallize. Quetzalcoatl replaces Osiris and fulfills the same purpose of resurrection and bringing of the rains and floods for crops. In Hopi spirituality, Osiris transforms into Masaw. Both are gods of the underworld and judges of the dead. One of the most familiar scenes in Egyptian religion, shown repeatedly in copies of the Book of the Dead, was Osiris’ weighing of the deceased person’s heart. The heart is ideally balanced by his prayers in the shape of a feather—the origin of our expression “light-hearted.” Entry into the afterlife is guarded by Osiris in the form of a mummy—one with the uncanny likeness of Masaw. The deceased’s soul (ka) embarks on the reed ship of the Sun to the underworld much as the Hopis travel also in reed boats to reach the other side of the world. Like a resurrected Egyptian in the Elysian Fields, the devout Hopi is rewarded by ample rains, fertile, fruitful fields and an eternity of plenitude. Hopi cloud terraces are the same as the Egyptian staircase to heaven. The water birds (benu in Egyptian, “phoenix”) and other symbols of the Nile in its aspect of constant renewal are reflected in Hopi pottery designs, as are multitudinous other elements of Egyptian religion.

What, then, is to be made of Kokopelli, the hump-backed flute-player so pervasive in Southwestern Indian art?

Chaco Canyon is a complex of ruins on the other side of the Jemez Mountains from Bandelier. Like Bandelier, it is seen as a part of Ancestral Pueblo history and assigned to between about 1000 and 1250 c.e. Lying at a latitude of 36º N, longitude 108º W, with an elevation exactly one mile high, its bone-dry red rock canyon falls in the center of the San Juan River drainage area. Chaco Wash is a deeply etched arroyo that flows only after heavy rains. When these occur, water jets down the walls of the mesa into the village. The growing season is short, always less than 150 days and often less than 100 days—not a productive place for corn. Wood resources are scarce, and the surrounding desert exhibits only the rare clump of pygmy juniper or rabbitbush. According to archeologists, climate in the centuries when Chaco Culture flourished was not much different.

So what is it doing here?

Following the circuit road one first comes to the Great House or outlying apartment building of Hungo Pavi (Reed Spring). The name is thought to be the same as Shungopavi, one of the mother villages of the Hopi on Second Mesa, a name we can now derive from Ancient Egyptian hni “rush” and pw “it is.” Next on the visitors route is the elevated Great Kiva of Chetro Ketl (a Navajo corruption of Quetzalcoatl?). After that comes Pueblo Bonita, a ruin of 700 rooms within D-shaped perimeter walls up to three stories high. Sighting down a long ceremonial avenue leading back to Hungo Pavi one cannot but be struck by the distant silouette of a giant figure formed by the shadows in the cliff. One hundred feet tall, it appears to be Kokopelli, complete with hunch, flute, and triangular hat or horn.

Chaco may have been built where it was, and how it was, because of the striking shadows on its canyon walls. Certainly, the choice of location owes much to the Libyans with their cliff-dwelling habits and knowledge of irrigation. Kokopelli like Quetzalcoatl is a rain-bringer, culture bearer and peddler or merchant. The gates, walls and sight lines of Pueblo Bonita emphasize view of the city’s patron saint.

Cosmopolitan Chaco lasted perhaps little over six decades in the eleventh century, with successor sites at Aztec Ruins to the north and Casas Grandes in the south ending a bit later. After the Pueblo Indians had shaken off its autocratic rulers, they retained memories of Chaco as a dark place, ruled by “a people who had enormous amounts of power:  spiritual power and power over people.” The shadows of Chaco Canyon were responsible for a determined democracy in tribal affairs ever afterwards. The reason Kokopelli is often shown in a recumbent position in petroglyphs is not because he is in bed, but because he is dead.

Impelled by years of drought, civil and political turmoil and invasions by Athabaskan and Aztec hordes from the north, the Hopi returned to Oraibi and the three mesas where they are now located in the fourteenth century. The earliest date for Old Oraibi as established by tree ring chronology performed on its wooden timbers is 1150 c.e. Elders quoted in The Book of the Hopi speak of the 1200s and 1300s as a time when other groups such as the Badger Clan were gathered in after petitioning for admittance. They say that the Navajos and Apaches did not arrive in Hopi territory until one generation before the Spanish (1580).

Enter now the Elder White Brother.

According to tradition, Masaw gave the Hopi four tablets to safeguard as their original instructions. The Sun Clan tablet applies primarily to the members of that clan. The Hopi are mostly silent about the symbols on it but they insist that a now-lost Elder White Brother was given a corner and charged with returning after being sent to the East.

I believe the headless person they interpret as a wicked chief beheaded as a warning not to disobey their covenant is not that at all. In ancient Libya, rulers were buried without their heads; it was a sign of royalty and even divine status. Surely, this is a depiction of a Libyan expedition’s leader or governor. Note that the figure is within a cartouche, the shape reserved for a pharaoh’s name. The inscriptions on the tablet could probably be read as Numidian by an expert in that script (which I am not).

In ancient times, a bargain or promise was sealed by breaking a tablet, stick or other object so that a later match between the two parts would identify the rightful partners when the contract was fulfilled. Elder Brother was sent with instructions to look for the missing members of the original migration, those whom history would know as the Cherokee. We lose track of them somewhere about Oklahoma.

Among the unusual finds Gloria Farley describes in her book In Plain Sight is a stone pulled out of the family’s farmland by curious eleven-year-old Brent Gorman of Warner, Oklahoma, in 1971. It was identified by Barry Fell as a Libyan boundary stone in the Numidian alphabet. His translation of its script, which resembles that of the Sun Clan tablet, was:  Land Belonging to Rata. A discussion of the Warner Stone was published in Fell’s book America B.C. and its Numidian writing system and the interpretation of the latter were confirmed by visits from surprised scholars at the Universities of Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya. The stone is now in the permanent collection of the Kerr Museum in Poteau, Oklahoma.

John RedHat Duke (1930-2002) was a Cherokee elder enrolled both with the United Keetoowah Band and Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. A member also of the Keetoowah Society, he converted to Judaism as a teen-ager and became a Levite priest, making his aliyah and achieving Israeli citizenship under the “Law of Return.”

Both full-blood grandmothers spoke the old Southern Keetoowah dialect. He was a strong believer in the Lost Tribes of Israel theory of American Indian origins.

RedHat came to the attention of Hopi Elders at Oraibi in the 1960s because he apparently fulfilled Hopi prophecy, which stated that one day the True White Brother would arrive from the largest Indian nation bringing a new religion from the east and wearing a red hat or cloak. The Cherokee are the most populous Indian nation, and they are located east of the Hopi. The last kykmongwe, or high chief, Mike Lansa, declared the prophecy fulfilled except for one detail. The Bahana was to return the missing corner of the Sun Clan tablet, which John Duke failed to do.

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Ogham writing at Inscription Rock, New Mexico.


Eschelokees’ probably route around the world.


Sun clan tablet

Old World Roots of the Cherokee

Ancient Greeks in Native America


This descriptive list of evidence has been assembled from various modern reference works, with the ancient textual source or find-site indicated.

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I have here compiled a list of Hopi words that seem to have the same sound and meaning in Egyptian .As with Cherokee, nearly all prove to be archaic terms relating to tribal ceremonies and religious history. The Hopi’s main language is Uto-Aztecan. These are relics or intrusions comparable to the fossilized Greek words in the Iroquoian tongue of the Cherokee. They serve as hieratic or priestly languages like Sanskrit in India or Latin in Western Europe.


Egyptian Words in Hopi

Sources: Book of the Hopi; Beinlich Word-List .

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*Ptolemaic Greek




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