American Indian languages            American Indian culture            What's new on our site today!

Setting the Record Straight About Native Peoples: Aliens

Q: Did Native Americans come from outer space?
A: No. But I wish we did, because we could have zapped the colonists with our phasers.

Q: Did aliens build various Native American monuments? If not, then how did Indians build things that relied on advanced astronomical knowledge, why did they build things that made patterns visible from the sky, and why did the natives of Mexico and Guatemala build monuments that were so much more impressive than things in North or South America?
A: No, aliens did not build those monuments. They were built with human tools by the same people who built the humbler structures nearby. (Nobody ever asks whether aliens built the out-house.) Indians built things that were astronomically sophisticated because they knew a lot about astronomy. Ancient peoples watched the sky a lot. Artifacts of ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Celts also make use of astronomy. So do ancient Polynesian maps. Mayan calendars and drawings reveal their knowledge of astronomy, just as their monuments do. As for making patterns visible from the sky, anyone who's ever climbed a hill knows that basic principle, and many Indian tribes believed their gods lived in the sky, so those are more likely to be religious monuments than attempts to communicate with extraterrestrials. And finally, the civilizations of Central America were the most advanced in the region, so they built more monuments. Why are there more ancient monuments in Greece than in Poland? That's where the cities were. The empires of Central America were advanced in more ways than just impressive monuments. Did aliens also teach them the secrets of irrigation, writing, and mathematics? (On second thought, don't answer that.)

Q: Why do people believe these things?
A: Some of them are trying to prove that the world was only created a few thousand years ago, so for their religious purposes, they want everyone to have started out in Israel and fanned out very recently. Others have been championing the idea that the Indians got here only shortly before the European colonists since the 1600's. The subtext there is "they're not really FROM here, so it's ok to take their land." The stuff about aliens mostly persists because people like to believe in the supernatural, as they have since ancient times, and stays linked to Indians and Indian artifacts because people have a harder time believing "savage" Indians could have known what a solstice was than Greeks or Celts. For whatever reason people promote them, they are factually dead wrong, and should not be given any credence.

Previous question: Was there a Blackfoot-Cherokee tribe?
Next question: Did Native Americans invent scalping, or did Europeans?
Back to the Infrequently Asked Questions index
Language of the day: Powhatan

Native American Words * Native American Art * Native American Names

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?

Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2020 * Contacts and FAQ page