Indigenous Hunters in Yukon at Least 24,000 Years Ago Carbon Date Confirms
Euroamericans have repeatedly imposed fictional, shallow images of Indigenous Americans on this land. Early Colonials painted Indigenous people as recent arrivals, a trope used as a lever to rebuke our rights to the land. Fictional early dates for arrival of Indigenous people in this hemipshere persist and correction of that myth continues to meet resistance from a mostly non-Indigenous body of archaeologists.
The ready possibility of coastal migration and settlement through ice-free passges of the North Pacific archipelagos has been ignored or talked-down for decades. Increasingly, evidence supports coastal migration earlier than the Bering land bridge as archaeology. Very early dates in South America, Mexico, and British Columbia have long stood predating 12,000 years.
Undersea archaeology is a nascent discipline that promises to unlock the potentially many pre-Beringia Indigenous places of early habitation, now submerged under seas that have risen continually since the last glaciation.
One case that shatters the early habitation date records for North America is Bluefish Caves in the Yukon. These are atypical caves in that they are more like grottoes. Here, Quebecois archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars found extinct wooly mammoth and paleo horse bones that showed human butchering marks, along with butchering tools. Radio carbon dates of 24, 000 years ago returned, but the archaeological profession reacted by being personally abusive of Cinq-Mars, publicly bullying him and his research, suppressing funding, and finally choking off their research. Cinq-Mars' career was sacrificed for the sake of a change in dogma, but they persisted in pushing the facts in evidence.
“When Jacques proposed [that Bluefish Caves was] 24,000, it was not accepted,” says William Josie, director of natural resources at the Vuntut Gwitch'in First Nation in Old Crow. Many traditional narratives of Indigenous nations suggest that our presence is much older, or that we came into being right here.
But this is not the only case of finds predating accepted early dates for Indigenous America. Meadowcroft Cave in Pennsylania places Indigneous people thousands of miles from the Bering Sea 2,000 years before we supposedly arrived. Monte Verde similarly places Indigenous people deep into Chile thousands of years before most sources continue to say we arrived. This sort of resistance to evidence, instead of flowing with the evidence in a positive way and correcting as needed, manifests the basic racism ingrained in Euroamerican archaeology, where a continual credit in doubt is afforded - lavished really - upon origins European and Middle Eastern cultures, while doubt is always deducted pre-emptively against Indigenous cultural evidence.
Get the peer-reviewed professional facts about this amazing Bluefish Caves legacy at PlosOne here:
Smithsonian article about the ugly history of an amazing discovery and oppression of its story: