A Small Migration

I was, at first, planning on writing this about the migration of the forbearers of Native America from Beringia throughout the western hemisphere. There is recently compiled data that says there was no "ice-free corridor"; through Canada into the continent prior to twelve thousand years past.

Well, my inquisitive mind has been considering the assumption of migration through such a corridor and find it outdated. We know that the western hemisphere was populated far into South America before 14,000 BP (Before Present). Archeological finds at Mesa Verda in Chile date to fifteen thousand years past. Those finds show a people who were hunter-gatherers with the earliest indications of agriculture.

How did these people get here before there was an ice-free corridor? By boat maybe? Not likely! We are looking back 15, 16, and 17 thousand years past. Boat technology was not adequate for humans anywhere at that time. I have spent many years pondering how then Native Americans came to this hemisphere. It was at this point that my mind grabbed hold of a stray electron as it sparked across my cortex. We are the same. The migration into the Americas is only a variation of humanities migration out of Africa.

There is recent postulation that our migration from Africa was across and along the coastal margins. This makes sense to me. Coastal plains are some of the friendliest places to abide. A family is on dry land, there are woods and streams, the seashore; one big hunting-gathering smorgasbord.

The circumstances are the same, "our ancients" came from Africa, digging clams, fishing and chasing crabs across the beach. Just as did their children, our cousins did, digging clams, fishing and chasing crabs across the coastal plains of western North America. At this point my mind took another tack. It could have been my last sip of Tennessee coffee (until the next). Or it could be the passion I have for the past. Migration is the history of me and my people. So it is with all of us. Then another view of thought took over. Less esoteric, but still important. How long did it take for the migration from the verdant plains of Beringia to the wet highlands of South America?

In spite of current pop culture attitudes we people are not locusts. We do not wait for a warm day to dry our wings and take flight looking for a new place to feed. The movement of people takes so much longer. It is not a matter of the man starting down the trail and the family following behind. That is a western romantic version. There are children of all ages, old people, probably a pregnant woman or two and babes in arms. That circumstance is counter to the western idea of "got a dream boys...".

The migration of all people out of Africa and around the world took not years, but generations. By one reckoning, five miles per generation. That translates: one thousand miles to two hundred generations. It was at this point that my mind sparked to our general beliefs of and about time. Whole books have been written of time. But, to the ancients, all ancients, time was day to night, one season to the next. People being born, living and dying. This is true still today, in spite of the constraints of clock and calendar.

A thousand generations, is twenty thousand years, is four thousand miles. Where have we come from in sixty thousand years and where will we be in just a few thousand more? The migration of all peoples is no easy contemplation and not small at all.

Michael Sherer