When I hear someone complain about having to press ‘1’ for English, I can’t help but wonder how the Cherokee and Choctaw feel about having to do it. The irony is that those who fear immigrants taking over are descended from the only immigrants who did come here and seize control of the land and culture. This made it possible for their descendants to become the majority, albeit one that is still subject to indignities like button-pushing.
To deal with the issue of other peoples having gotten here first, some on the far right have embraced concocted tales that Native Americans were preceded by a still earlier band of pale faces. There have been tales of lost tribes and civilizations for a very long time, with Atlantis, Mu, and Thule among the better known. Likewise, there have been genuine lost peoples, such as the Roanoke colonists and Mayans. But our focus here is on only peoples that are both mythical and embraced by the far right to further their agenda.
Getting a jump start on this mindset by nearly two centuries was President Andrew Jackson. In an article on the Southern Poverty Law Center website, Alexander Zaitchik wrote that Jackson defended the relocation and massacre of Native Americans in part because he was convinced the Indians had previously massacred whites. He called the latter “a once-powerful race” that had been done in by “savage tribes.” Jackson likely got this notion from an idea popular at the time, that majestic Caucasian architects had built the large mounds and earthen structures that then dotted North America.
Around the same time, the Book of Mormon likewise promoted the idea that the light-skinned had gotten here first and were responsible for the major technological advances. These ideas mostly center on inhabitants of early North America since that’s the territory the far right is seeking to claim as theirs by ancient birthright. However, there are a few exceptions, such as online writer Patrick Chouinard, who claims that the elongated skulls of Peru belonged to Nordic supermen with massive brains.
Some of the more religiously oriented among the far right assert that the Nephilim giants in Genesis were an early Aryan race, possibly the offspring of demigods and human women. Another favorite tale is that Nazi scientists, being brilliant and all, concocted a type of flying saucer and escaped Europe to take residence in subterranean Antarctica. The fact that our history books are silent on mound builders, Lamanites, and fascists cavorting with penguins is proof of a cover-up, usually perpetrated by or for Jews.
The most prominent proponent of these alternative archaeologies and histories were the Nazis. While they didn’t invent the concept of an exalted, pure Aryan race which deserved restoration to glory, they promoted it more than any other group before or since. The Third Reich version was tweaked so that Pan-Germanism became a more relevant factor than skin color and Heinrich Himmler founded the Ahnenerbe, whose goal was to document Aryans’ archeological and cultural histories. The Nazis’ most blatant attempt to take what they thought was theirs was when they thieved the swastika from ancient eastern religions. They claimed they were only reclaiming it because the symbol had been brought to those cultures by a conquering Aryan people.
While their motivations are worse than pseudo-archeologists of the ancient alien and creationist persuasions, proponents of an ancient white North American people use the same tactics.
They interpret paintings and pottery as historical documentation rather than something created in the mind of an artist. They consider similar imagery in more than one place as evidence that one influenced the other. Perhaps most important, they pre-determine what evidence will mean, then finagle found artifacts and discovered sites to support that “conclusion.” And authors ship those findings to a sympathetic website in search of glowing reviews rather than to a scientific journal looking for review. And the reason given for not submitting for peer review is that that the establishment is against them and the findings would be repressed.
Even if the far right is correct about North America’s anthropological history, who’s to say there wasn’t an ever earlier group of people with large doses of melanin which preceded the Nordic super race? Besides, if Nordics were here first, that means we should be pressing ‘1’ for Old Saxon.