When Europeans first glimpsed Native Americans more than 400 years ago, many were convinced they had discovered the Lost Tribes of Israel. At closer look, the connections are astounding. This hidden association has taken on greater importance recently as the two nations face similar threats, and perhaps even a common Messianic vision quest.
Unmistakable traces of Jewish prayer echo in the voice of Joseph Riverwind, the Amahura (war chief) of the Northern Arawak Nation, the indigenous peoples of South America and Caribbean, as he sings, “Shema, shema, nayena, popaska hoya yah”. He translated this ancient Native American song for Breaking Israel News:
“Listen, listen, people, as you gather together, we will dance before the creator.” This is strongly reminiscent of the Jewish prayer, Shema, which literally means ‘hear’.
These two worlds are embodied in Chief Riverwind, a descendant of both Native Americans and Bnei Anousim (Jews who hid their identity as a result of the Spanish Inquisition). For him, the connection between Native Americans and Judaism is clear.
“Among my people, our ancient name for God is Yah Yah ‘The Supreme Spirit of Spirits’, very similar to Yahweh,” Chief Riverwind explained. “Among my wife’s ancestors, the AniKituwahYah (Cherokee), they called God YoHeWaH. And the similarities don’t stop there. They carried an ark into battle, celebrate seven feasts, kept a seventh day of rest, had cities of refuge, and don’t eat pork.”
Though the eerie etymological similarities may be coincidental, archetypal themes also connect the spirituality of Native Americans to the Bible. Chief Riverwind told a Choctaw story about how the Creator came to a man called Nuah and told him the world would be covered with water. The man was told to make a great raft to save mankind. The stories come from oral traditions which date to pre-Columbian times.
“Another Native American story tells of a time when the world was all one land mass, and we were all one tribe,” explained Chief Riverwind. “We tried to build a sky tower to the creator. These are pre-missionary oral traditions. They are passed down through specially trained storytellers who are forbidden from changing a single word.”
This transoceanic cultural connection goes against most scientific theories about the origins of the Native Americans. Most anthropologists theorize that the Native Americans are descended from Siberian Mongolians who migrated to North America via the Bering Strait, a 50-mile-wide gap that separates Alaska from Russia. Chief Riverwind told Breaking Israel News that the Native Americans tell a very different story.
“Some Anishnabi (Chippewa) believe they are from the Tribe of Ephraim,” Chief Riverwind explained. “Anishnabi” is amazing similar to the Hebrew words, “Anshe Navi” (people of the Prophet). “They lived on the coast, but their legends say that before that, they came from across the great waters. We have cave-drawings of these ships that are very similar to drawings of Phoenician ships in history books.”
This theory is astounding, but archaeological artifacts connecting North America to ancient Israel are not uncommon. The Decalogue Stone found in New Mexico is an 80-ton boulder on which an abridged version of the Ten Commandments is inscribed in ancient paleo-Hebrew. A letter group resembling the tetragrammaton YHWH, or “Yahweh,” makes three appearances. The stone is controversial and has never been tested in a laboratory or dated by scientific means. If authentic, it would prove a pre-Columbian connection between North America and Israel.
The Newark Holy Stones are artifacts discovered in 1860 within a cluster of ancient Indian burial mounds near Newark, Ohio. The mounds are one of the largest collections from an ancient American Indian culture known as the Hopewell that existed from approximately 100 BCE to 500 CE. Similar to the Decalogue stone, the Newark Stones are inscribed with Bible verses in Hebrew.
Many of these artifacts are discounted as hoaxes based on circumstantial evidence, the improbability of their existence and what it implies, despite strong corroborating empirical proof of their validity. Chief Riverwind attributes this simply to ethnocentric tendencies.
“European historians have always underestimated so much of what was going on here before Columbus,” he stated. “They simply can’t imagine men sailing from Israel to North America, even when they are holding the proof in their hands.”
Roni Segal, the academic adviser for eTeacher, an online language academy, was fascinated by the possible connection. “Paleo-Hebrew dates back to the tenth century BCE. The language itself is a key to many ancient mysteries,” she told Breaking Israel News. “Though these discoveries are surprising, when studying the language that was used by God to communicate with Man, these types of connections are not entirely unexpected.” Chief Riverwind feels this connection is especially important today.
“These are things we didn’t share in public before. Now, I really feel there is something stirring in the air. It isn’t by chance that the Native Americans are facing a huge propaganda campaign at the same time as the Jews in Israel are being told they aren’t indigenous,” he stated. “The Native Americans suffered ethnic cleansing and that is what they want to do to the Jews. We have that in common, and it is happening now.”
Many would be surprised to learn that the Native Americans also have a messianic vision. Despite being expressed in different terms, it is similar indeed to what Jews believe.
“First Nations have many prophecies that have been passed down for generations. We know that in the long ago time, the Creator destroyed the earth with water, and today, we are living in the generations when the fires will come to purify the Earth,” Chief Riverwind related.
“Your people’s ancient stories can be found among my peoples ancient stories and we share the same destiny. Many of us have called upon the same Elohim since ancient times, and in the End, all the tribes that have been scattered will be gathered together once again.”