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What Are the Origins of the American Indian Peoples (Genesis 10:2)?

Many have wondered about the origin of the American Indian. By comparing the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 with secular histories and genealogies, we can broadly trace the descendants of the sons of Noah. From his offspring stem all the nations and peoples on earth today.

We know, for example, that the children of Ham very early settled in portions of Africa, the Middle East, and in India. Likewise, the sons of Shem established themselves in the Middle East and in western Europe. Finally, we can identify the descendants of the sons of Japheth with major nations and peoples in Eurasia—except for his seventh son, Tiras. There is little historical mention—and no biblical mention apart from Genesis 10 and I Chronicles 1:5—of Tiras. His descendants are the only people whose identity is not clearly verifiable in Middle Eastern history.

At the same time, the American Indian has long been a puzzle to many historians and genealogists. We should therefore ask ourselves, could there be a link between the American Indian and the biblical Tiras, son of Japheth?

Shortly after the Flood, as the families of mankind spread out over the known world, most of Tiras' descendants apparently moved completely beyond the customary boundaries of early civilization. That would explain why the literature of antiquity makes no clear reference to Tiras and his people.

Ethnologists have established that the American Indian is closely related to groups of Asiatic peoples in eastern Asia, who descended from Japheth. It should also not be surprising that we find the name "Tiras" or derivations of it preserved among various New World Indian tribes: Tauri, Taras, Turas, Dures, Dorasques, and Atures (The American Race by Daniel G. Brinton). Yet another revealing link is that of language. Certain American Indian tribes are closely related linguistically to peoples of northeastern Asia. Thus, concluding that the American Indian is descended from Tiras is biblically reasonable.

The people of Tiras had been separated from the sphere of most of civilization for so long that when the European explorers first came upon the American Indian they reported that they had discovered a "new man." But they may have simply come across the most isolated branch of Noah's grandsons—Tiras.


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