Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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In the council of community there shall be twelve and three priests who are perfect in all that has been revealed of the whole law, true witnesses, practicing truth and righteousness, and justice and loving devotion and walking humbly each with his man, his fellows, in order to maintain faithfulness in the land with a steadfast intent and a broken spirit.


In Alma, Helaman and Third Nephi in the Book of Mormon, a group of people are singled out in a way that may provide the basis for a new search for parallels in ancient traditions of some Indians in American Southwest, and provide a deeper and exciting understanding of Mormon’s intent in describing them.


“Thousands [of the Lamanites] were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time…and as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy and the power of God working miracles in them-yea, …and were converted unto the Lord NEVER DID FALL AWAY.  For they became a righteous people, they did LAY DOWN THE WEAPONS OF THEIR REBELLION, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren.” (Alma 23:5-7) ”Their hearts had been changed and they thereafter enjoyed that peace of spirit which eventually manifests itself in social relations.” (McConkie p. 165) This change, though, may have isolated them from others.

These Lamanite people who were converted included those of seven lands and cities: The Lands of Ishmael, Middoni, Nephi, Shilom, Shemlon, Lemuel and the city of Shimnilom. (Alma 23:8-12) This suggests more than just several thousand, “Which were converted unto the Lord; and these are they that LAID DOWN THEIR WEAPONS of their rebellion, yea, all their weapons of war; and they were all Lamanites.” (Alma 23:12)  This is one of the most complete and absolute show of faith among the Lamanites, if not all the people of the Book of Mormon.  Mormon notes that only one person of the city of the Amalekites was converted. That person was Amulek, companion of Alma. It was 80 BC. It will be very important to keep track of time.

The King of these converts bore an eloquent testimony as to why they had converted and their tremendous understanding of the eternal consequences:  “…if we should stain our swords again they can no more be washed bright through the blood of the son of our great God, which shall be shed for the atonement of our sins. And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish.” (Alma 24:7-14) The King continued: “let us hide them [the weapons] away that they may be kept bright, as a testimony to our God at the last day, or at the day that we shall be brought to stand before him to be judged, that we may not stain our swords in the blood of our brethren since he imparted his word unto us and has made us clean thereby….behold we will hide away our swords, yea, even we will BURY THEM DEEP IN THE EARTH, that they may be kept bright, as a testimony that we have never used them, at the last day; and if our brethren destroy us, behold, we shall go to our God and shall be saved.” (Alma 24: 15-16) Then “all the people were assembled together, they took their swords, and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, and they did BURY THEM up deep in the earth…And it came to pass that they called themselves Anti-Nephi-Lehies (ANL)  and they were called by this name and were no more called Lamanites.” (Alma 23:17) “Ammon …saw the preparations of the Lamanites to destroy their brethren. Now there was not one soul among all the people [the ANL] who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their brethren; nay, they would not even make any preparations for war; yea, and also their king commanded them that they should not.” (Alma 24:5-6) We can think of no more perfect illustration of the ‘mighty change of heart’ spoken of by Alma than that illustrated by these converted Lamanites, who now refuse to take up arms against those who would slay them. (See Alma 5:12-14)

“There is an uncompromising confidence in the promises of God and a love for their brethren (who have now declared themselves their enemies) that exceeds their love for their own mortal lives.” (McConkie p. 167)  “Now…since God hath taken away our stains, and our swords have become bright, then let us stain our swords no more with the blood of our brethren…if we should stain our swords again they can no more be washed bright through the blood of the Son of our great God, which shall be shed for the atonement of our sins.” (Alma 24:12-13)

But there was more to the covenant they made with God: “And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren; they would give up their own lives and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they did labor abundantly with their hands.” (Alma 24:18)

The end result of these covenants cost many of them their lives. The Lamanites declared war and in particular desired to destroy the Anti-Nephi-Lehies out of the land. (Alma 24:20) At the initial attack which was directly on the ANL. “when the people saw that they were coming against them they went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword. And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a thousand and five [who did the body count?].” Alma 24:21-22)  “Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but they would lie down and perish and praise God even in the very act of perishing under the sword…they did forebear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done.” (Alma 24:23-24) There were as many converts to the truth among the slayers as they had killed, but among the slayers were warriors from the Amalekites and Amulonites  after the order of the Nehors, none of these became converted, making their eternal status even worse than before. (Alma 34:27-30) This is the FIRST addition of people to the original group. There will be five such additions; we will try to find out what happened to the first four.

Later Ammon refers to these converted souls: “For behold, they had rather sacrifice their lives than even to take the life of their enemy; and they have BURIED THEIR WEAPONS of war deep in the earth, because of their love towards their brethren. And now behold I say unto you, has there been so great a love in all the land? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, there has not, even among the Nephites.” (Alma 26:32-33)  It is now about 78 BC.  As you can see, there is an unusual emphasis on these Anti-Nephi-Lehies.

The attacking Lamanites fought in vain, they did not destroy those they had gone to war against, so they returned to their outposts in the Land of Nephi where they gathered again to go against the ANL and try to destroy again.  But when they attacked again, the ANL did as they had before, knelt down before the advancing warriors and let them slay them. “Now this people again refused to take their arms, and they suffered themselves to be slain according to the desires of their enemies.” Alma 27:2) This was unacceptable to Ammon and the Nephite King. Ammon sought the will of the Lord on this matter. “And it came to pass that Ammon went and inquired of the Lord, and the Lord said unto him: Get this people out of this land, that they perish not; for Satan has great hold on the hearts of the Amalekites, who do stir up the Lamanites to anger against their brethren to slay them; then get thee out of this land; and blessed are this people in this generation, for I will preserve them.”  (Alma 27: 11-12)  Ammon gathered the people together and took them into the “wilderness which divided the land of Nephi from the land of Zarahemla, and came over near the borders of the Land.” He took the matter up with the Chief Judge of the Land, and he “sent a proclamation throughout the land, desiring the voice of the people concerning their brethren, who were the people of Anti Nephi-Lehies.” (Alma 27:21)

The land of Jershon on the east by the sea was given to the ANL for their inheritance. (Alma 27:22) And the Nephites set up their armies to guard them. This caused great joy among the people of Ammon “And they went down into the land of Jershon and took possession of the land of Jershon; and they were called by the Nephites the people of Ammon, by which they were known ever after.” (Alma 27:24, 26)  They “never could be prevailed upon to take up arms against their brethren and they never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection, therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it. Therefore, they would suffer death in the most aggravating and distressing manner which could be inflected by their brethren, before they would take the sword or cimeter to smite them.” (Alma 27:28-29) The battles were the most severe since Lehi had left Jerusalem with thousands being killed, but the wars did not affect the people of Ammon. (Alma 28)


“Now the people of the Zoramites were angry with the people of Ammon who were in Jershon, and the chief ruler of the Zoramites being a very wicked man, sent over unto the people of Ammon desiring them that they should cast out of their land all those who came over from them into their land. And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them, they did nourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance; and they did administer unto them according to their wants. (Alma 35:8-9) The people of the Anti-Nephi-Lehites, now called the people of Ammon, were for the THIRD time, enlarged in numbers by additions to their group.  But they were not off the hook. By accepting these poor people or the Zoramites, the Lamanites, were angered, and “Began to make preparations for war against the people of Ammon, and also against the Nephites.” (Alma 35:11)  So “the people of Ammon departed out of the land of Jershon and came over into the land of Melek, and gave place in the land of Jershon for the armies of the Nephites, that they might contend with the armies of the Lamanites and the armies of the Zoramites.” (Alma 35:13)  But now Alma and Ammon went amongst the peoples of the Zoramites preaching the gospel, repentance and baptism. They converted many of the Zoramites  “And as many as were brought to repentance were driven out of their land; but they [the converted ones] had lands for their inheritance in the land of Jershon.” (Alm35:14) This was the FOURTH time people were added to the people of Ammon in the land of Jershon that had been set apart for them. It was then about 74 BC.   

Why was Mormon concerned about these particular people? Did he have some hidden agenda in weaving this tapestry about these people? After studying the Book of Mormon for so many years have we missed something here? Alma and Ammon had been successful because of the records they had and the doctrines “which are on these plates…by which Ammon convinced so many thousands of Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers.” (Alma 37:9) The words on the records and various plates of gold and brass brought the peoples they converted “to a knowledge of the Lord their God and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer.” (Alma 37:9)  As wars continued, Alma had revealed to him the strategies of the Lamanites. That according to his promise to preserve this people the Lord caused the armies of the Lamanites to by-pass the people in Jershon. “They durst not come against the Nephites in the borders of Jershon, therefore they departed out of the land of Antionum unto the wilderness.” (Alma 43:22)  The Nephites under the command of Moroni continued to guard the peoples of Ammon and the land Jershon. “Now [Captain] Moroni, leaving a part of his army in the land of Jershon, lest by any means a part of the Lamanites should come into that land and take possession of the city, took the remaining part of his army and marched over into the land of Manti.” (Alma 43-26) Then the armies of the Nephites or of Moroni were successful in defeating the Lamanites.  It was then about 73 BC.

Children born to these covenant peoples soon had children and when oppression and war became a reality again, nine years later, Helaman takes command. When the people of Ammon saw the danger and the many afflictions the Nephites bore for them, they were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defense of their country. (Alma 53:13) “But behold, as they were about to take their weapons of war, they were overpowered by the persuasions of Helaman and his brethren for they were about to break the oath which they had made. And Helaman feared lest by so doing they should lose their souls.” (Alma 53:14-15) But the group now had many sons who had not entered into the covenant. Two thousand young men were able to take up their weapons of war, with Helaman as their commander. (Alma 53:16-19) It was then about 64 BC.

They were exceedingly valiant, courageous and strong, men of truth and soberness reflecting the teachings of their mothers, and entirely trustworthy. (Alma 53:20)  They were direct descendants of Laman who was the eldest son of father Lehi. (Alma 56:3) Helaman wrote an epistle to Moroni telling him of the two thousand sons of those men whom Ammon brought down out of the land of Nephi who were about to abandon their covenants and take up their weapons of war, but Helaman would not let them break the covenant, instead their sons under the command of Helaman had marched forth to engage in the battles of the war, proxy for their fathers. Helaman called them his sons, they called him Father. Helaman told Moroni he had not seen such great courage among all the Nephites than his two thousand stripling warriors. (Alma 56: 3-46)

Employing great military strategy, Helaman led his two thousand warriors into the battle, but he worried that some would fall in the frenzy of war, he said never were men “known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power.” (Alma 56:56) And not one soul of them had fallen to the earth. (Alma 56:56) In the massive battles that followed, the number of his warriors had increased to two thousand and sixty, the fighting was so severe that 200 hundred of them had feinted because of loss of blood, but “there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.”(Alma 57:25)  The whole army was astonished that they had been preserved since so many thousands had been killed on both sides. They ascribed their preservation to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught by their mothers, and that they had been promised they would be preserved if they did not doubt.  Doubt not and you lived. They didn’t doubt; they lived! (Alma 57:26) They were young, and their minds were firm, they did put their trust in God. (Alma 57:27) It was now about 63 BC.

The fighting continued, Helaman, Gid and Teomner take the city of Manti by military strategy. (Alma 58)  Later, in an epistle to Moroni Helaman continued: “And the sons of the people of Ammon, of whom I have so highly spoken, are with me in the city of Manti; and the Lord has supported them, yea, and kept them from falling by the sword, insomuch that even one soul has not been slain. But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God made them free and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day, and they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come.” (Alma 58:40)  The wars continue unabated until 57 BC. The Nephites finally prevail! (Alma 60-62)  The final battles were won! “Helaman returned to the place of his inheritance; and there was once more peace established among the people of Nephi.”(Alma 62:42) It is now about 57 BC.

Nothing is said about the disbandment of the more than two thousand stripling warriors, but no doubt they returned with Helaman to honor and great gratitude for their preservation. Then, nothing more is said about them! Did most of them go someplace? About two years later, the Book of Alma records some strange and most interesting things. Shiblon has taken over the sacred records from his brother Helaman and so then becomes the Prophet. Moroni, who was apparently only a young man, about 44 years old, dies. (Alma 63:1-2l; McConkie p. 328)  Then about 55 BC (Alma 63:4),  “There was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward.”  (Alma 63:4)  There would have been at least 15,000 to 20,000 people in this migration; it does not state they left all at once, or that they were one body or many, or where they left from; it may not have been from the same place. But most of them seem to have left at about the same time. How far north they intended to go is also not stated. The logistics would have been huge for food and water for so many. But, they did go northward. Others as is recounted in Alma Chap 63, found their away, along with some on ships, to the South Pacific and to the north. A most tantalizing chapter!  But, as in all things, it needs to be pondered. What was Mormon trying to tell us?


President Spencer W. Kimball, reading from Alma 63:4, 8-11, states these passages [speaking of the ships] “pertains especially to you, the islanders of the Pacific.” (McConkie p. 329)  Did some of these go overland and reach portions of the southwest North America?  President Kimball went on to say: “That there was a scattering of Israel [Book of Mormon people were all called Israel]. Some of them REMAINED IN AMERICA went from ALASKA TO THE SOUTHERN POINT. Others of you CAME this direction.” He was in Samoa when he said this. (McConkie p. 329)  This gives us s strong hint where to look for ancient traditions retained by peoples who migrated into various areas of the Western United States and elsewhere, and then from ALASKA to the POINT, at about this time period, probably referring to the tip of South America, that would have been later, though nothing is mentioned about going south until southward traditions of migrations show up in the Indian traditions of South America.

Along the far Northwest Coast, there are five main Indian groups of interest. (Gill p. xxv) We can eliminate one of these, the HAIDA because of the DJILAQONS LEGENDS, Djilaqons figures in the stories of the tribe’s migration across the Aleutian Islands; probably form a departure point off of Kamchatka, (Gonzalez p. 6) southern Siberia. ((Yevtushenko  pp. 19, 187; Dewdney p. 27)) Djilaqons comes out of the sea with six canoe loads of people. (Gill p. 70) I have made two trips up the inland waters of Alaska gathering data on these and other groups and there are some good prospects for future study. There are another dozen tribes of smaller extant along the southern portion of the Northwest Coast. There are also nearly 20 tribal areas located along the California Coast, (Gill p. xxii) among those of great interest are the larger tribes the Pomo, Coastanoan, Salinan and Chumash.(Gill p. xxii) The Chumash are of particular interest especially with the discovery of important sweat lodge remains so like those of the Anasazi. (Gamble pp. 132-134) These along with a few other areas along the west coast have possibilities that will be studied to see what might be found. It will not be an exhaustive search, but at least enough to show there may be other confirmations of Book of Mormon events, activities and doctrines present in the Indian traditions of those areas. They came from somewhere!     


What else might we look for in Indian Traditions? In addition to the stories of migrations, some gospel doctrinal parallels might be possessed by indigenous and native peoples, certain peoples are more note worthy than others by obvious tradition such as those who retained a knowledge of those who buried their weapons and became or become known as people of peace. There are other outstanding traditions that Indians of North America and Central America might also retain in some modified or distorted or even clear form that may be looked for.  There are signs that might show up in Indian traditions such as those identified by Samuel the Prophet. Three such signs are mentioned by Samuel 48 years after the migrations took place. He said that in five years: “There shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for they shall know of the rising of the sun also of its setting; there they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night, nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he [Jesus Christ] is born.” (Helaman 14:4) So, this sign of LIGHT given at the birth of Christ reflects his identity as the Light of the world, the light is also known as the Light of Christ.  

Another interesting sign that may show up in traditions is the BIRTH SIGN of JESUS CHRIST: “there shall be a new star arise, such as one as ye never have beheld, and this also shall be a sign unto you. [And then Samuel mentions another sign] And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.” (Helaman 14:2, 4-6)  Was this new star observed by other peoples also? Or was it restricted only to believers? So some saw it and some didn’t? Some recorded it and some didn’t. The “many signs and wonders of heaven”, how distorted by local happenings over the years would they be if such a tradition was retained? Then Samuel went on to prophecy of the DEATH SIGN:  “Another sign, a sign of his death, behold in that day that he [Jesus Christ] shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and their shall be no light on the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, until to the time that he shall rise again from the dead.” (Heleman 14:20)  Here the sign of darkness is associated with the death of Christ, as apposed to the Light, when he was born. So these could be separate signs some Indian tribes could have retained in their traditions. How far a field should we look? Gee finds parallels on an Egyptian Tempest Stele! (Gee pp. 235-244) Samuel gave another sign, he continued to prophecy regarding the tremendous upheavals of the earth that be would experienced in their lands. (Helaman 14:21)  Oddly, most Native Americans have traditions of huge upheavals at a certain time in their histories. Some of the accounts have became modified, distorted and embellished by subsequent, unrelated events, so one has to dig deep to find any connection to ancient occurrences. The Kaibab Paiutes through sickness, lost most of their leaders and elders who knew the ancient traditions and ceremonies. Through such losses sixteen tribes of more than 100,000 members were reduced to less than 1,000. In reconstructing their ceremonies they borrowed their funeral cry from the Mojave, and unrelated tribe, and only recently reconstructed their Pow-Wow ceremony and dance, based on the Ute traditions. They attribute retained memories of upheavals as resulting in the Colorado River gorge. (Palmer pp.  31-32) The details they have retained explain much, much more.

These add up to a lot of interesting things one might look for in the myths, origins stories, migration stories, and stories passed down through traditions. When Columbus landed there was a least 627 active tribes in the Americas. (See Johnson) The census of 1980 listed 525 tribes, no doubt there are fewer tribes today. So where does one begin?     

In Chapter 15 of Helaman, the Lord chastened the Nephites because he loved them, and then mentions some of the converted Lamanites: “Behold, salvation hath come unto them through the preaching of the Nephites; and for this intent hath the Lord prolonged their days, the more part of them are in the path of their duty, and they do walk circumspectly before God, and they do observe to keep his commandments….the more part of them are doing this, and they are striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth, therefore there are many  who do add to their numbers daily.” (Helaman 15:4-6)  Here the Lord is talking about the MORE part of them. [Where had the others gone?] Is this because some of them had departed from the land and might have been involved in those mentioned in Alma 63:4?  Note that this is the FIFTH ADDITION of people to this group who are distinguished from all others by their having BURIED THEIR WEAPONS. The Lord mentions this to show who he precisely means.  “And ye know also that they have BURIED THEIR WEAPONS of war, and they fear to take them up lest by any means they should sin; yea, ye can see that they fear to sin for behold they will suffer themselves that they be trodden down and slain by their enemies, and will not lift their swords against them, and this because of their faith in Christ. …behold the Lord shall bless them and prolong their days, not withstanding their [original] iniquities.” (Helaman 15:9-10)  The Lord talks in the present tense, as if some of these people are still around. This is about 5 BC, some 70 years after the original Anti-Nephi-Lehies are separated as a distinct people, and perhaps more than 50 years since many of them may have gone northward in the land migrations mentioned in Alma 63. The reference also indicates some of them were still around, though this seems to be the last time they were added to.

So now our main interest will be those peoples that may have migrated and settled in some place northward, perhaps even NORTH AMERICA, perhaps even northern Mexico, and retained a tradition, however distorted by time, about their migrations and burying their weapons, and perhaps one or more of the other signs mentioned by Samuel the prophet, or carried an unusual baggage of additional traditions and myths in their ceremonies that only a Mormon would recognize as being meaningful.


The great catastrophes described in Chapters 8, 9, and 10 of 3 Nephi may also be in the retained traditions and memory of some groups. These were summarized by the Lord himself  “I did send down fire and destroy them, that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me form the ground against them. And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.” (3 Nephi 9:11-12) Because all of the towns and cities are those known to those who Christ is speaking to, it seems that the destructions may have been restricted to a relatively small geographic area. Some church archaeologists think, such as John L. Sorensen in his book, Mormon’s Map, that these events were restricted to the lands of Central America where most of the people seem to have been located. There is considerable evidence for this. But, again, Gee shows an interesting parallel in the Egyptian Tempest Stele. (Gee pp. 235-244) Evidence for alternate localities for the events of the Book of Mormon put forth by other writers has not been able to explain all of the data required by the Book of Mormon. But the serious emphasis has been on Central America, where the Church has and is expending resources. Perhaps Indian traditions may help determine just how far and wide this destruction was. The Indian literature is go great that we will only discuss a few.

Samuel the Lamanite prophet recalls an important historical fact about 6 BC: “And ye know also that they have buried their weapons of war, and they fear to take them upon lest by any means they should sin; yea, ye can see that they fear to sin-for behold they will suffer themselves that they be trodden down and slain by their enemies, and will not lift their swords against them, and this because of their faith in Christ. (Helman 15:9) This may not refer to remnants of the first four groups who may have migrated northward, but only to some remnants of the original group, who stayed behind, perhaps being elderly or the young, and most of the Fifth group who were still around.


It is quite evident that Mormon, during his abridgement of the Golden Plates, made an effort to single out those people who buried their weapons by constant references to them in Alma, Helaman and 3 Nephi. Is it possible he was suggesting that they might be among those who departed northward or any other direction by land or by boat, who would possibly be carrying this ancient tradition? Would finding such evidence contribute a little to the verification of the Book of Mormon? Or ultimately they may be identified and be found receptive to the gospel, if they have not already been so? Whether Mormon did this intentionally or not, the stories are there, and the hunt for verification is greatly stimulated. It may be more worth while than one expects.  

The conventional wisdom now being debated is that the large group of people mentioned in Alma 63:4 were composed of a number of different groups with some differences in agendas and objectives, perhaps even dialects, and ceremonial commitments; likely there were among them one or more of the first three or four groups once centered around Jershon, east by the sea, and other groups entirely unrelated. These would be likely split off at some time in the migrations and take up residency in a specific region. As stated above, it is not known from where the group or groups launched their migrations northward, it seems that they likely departed from somewhere equivalent in location to the west coast of Guatemala, southwest of Mexico City, in keeping with the HOPI traditions noted below, by making their way north-northwestward in various sized groups. Perhaps not all left from the same place.

But from wherever they left, it is more than 800 miles northwest from the west coast of Guatemala to what is now COMPOSTELA on the Pacific Coast, where any departures from the south would tend to converge. This city was only 500 miles from Mexico City.  The famed Coronado planned to rendezvous at COMPOSTELA where he could complete his exploration force. (Bolton p. 63) From there the migrations would have followed the coastal route of the two later Spanish routes shown on MAP 2 . Most likely the migrating peoples  followed what was a well known trade route in 1500 AD. (See MAP 5 ) Could they have continued to follow the approximate route six hundred miles northwestward to near what it now ALAMOS, another converging point? After which they may have deviated a little more northwesterly so their route took them another six hundred or more miles to the area near what is now YUMA, Arizona, (MAPS 3 & MAP 5 ) to the junction of the Colorado and Gila Rivers north of the head of the Gulf of California. Did some stay behind in the Sierra Madras and become the YAQUIS? (Trimble pp. 480-481) Or the CINARO, MAYONBO, UPARO or VACAPA, peoples, (Riley pp. 72,) or were these peoples already there?  The route most likely taken, keeping to the coastal area for its vegetation and fruits, and game, could have taken them through the lands now occupied by these groups who were in place at the time Coronado traversed the area. (See (MAPS 3 & MAP 5 )) Near the end of their great journey that took most of 60 years, they would have encountered the nearly three hundred miles of GRAN DESIERTO. The Paiute legend may represent this traverse of great difficulty. Many of these groups were not those who buried their weapons because most were a fierce people, especially the YAQUIMI, (See MAP 4 ) and during the Spanish incursions centuries later, they fought bitterly. (Officer page 462) Any contribution this northward migration made to the cultures of Mexico would have been most likely restricted to the extreme western and coastal areas. Since Coronado’s time and today, there is an established trade route that could very well approximate the actual route traversed by some or most of the migrating peoples. (Riley p. 77, See MAP 5 ) It will be very exciting, but a lot of work, to continue this research.We might ask did the migrating groups know before where they were going.

Was the trade route that may have been followed by the migrations as shown on MAP 3 and MAP 5 , also one followed by very early Paiute groups that entered California and western Nevada before the episodes recorded in Alma 63? Had this earlier group sent back messages that there was a vast land without habitation for the most part which was available. Did those who left about 53 BC really know beforehand the routes and the areas of final destination?  PART 2 of this series will discuss these questions.  


The migrations seemed to have kicked off about 53 BC and based on dates of pertinent ruins in the Yuma area they arrived there about 11 AD.  Their journey to that point could have taken them up to sixty years. The young would have become old, and the old may have been buried along the way. The Paiutes have a legend about a great migration: “Your country is away out there in the red mountains across the wide desert. It is a long trip and you must take food to eat and water to drink. You must take corn…bean seeds to plant in your country so you will always have food to eat. You must go now. Keep-a-going, keep-a-going, keep-a-going. Do not stop until you come to the big red mountain. That land will be your home. ..Their old people died on the long, hard journey. Their weak ones died, too, and those who were unwise and drank their water up to fast. These all perished in the desert. But their strong ones came through, and their wise men, and many of their women came, too, for they were used to hard work and privation.”  (Palmer 1946, pp. 119-120)  This is an apt summary of what might have been. It the reference to DESERT perhaps the GRAN DESIERTO?  (See MAP 5 ) Would there be possible evidence preserved in that desert that might confirm this legend? I would like to look. Note the recommendation that corn and beans be taken on their journey. Melon and squash could also have been taken. These were the main plant products grown by all the Anasazi related peoples. Were these legends of a desert journey about their main journey into the western Americas, or does it reflect the general journey they all took together?

From the HOPI again: “For in the tropical south no one knows where, lay the mysterious Red City of the South, PALATKWAPI [Red House]. Perhaps it was in Mexico, perhaps in Central or South American. Wherever it was it is still in important landmark in the geography of HOPI legend. Clan after Clan included it in their migrations.” (Waters p. 82) HOPI stories of PALATKWAPI, its decline, the HOPI escape and resumption of their migration, is a particularly detailed one. (Waters pp. 82-90) The HOPI had come by boat to the western coast of Mexico or Central America, after a sojourn there, “they gradually worked northward to settle in their present homeland in the Four Corners region.” (Pike p. 13)  It is this NORTHWARD migration we are interested in.   


As the possible migrations continued, did a group of them choose to separate and follow the Gila River into central Arizona where they became the HOHOKAM CULTURE retaining ties to Central America and Mexico, such as ball courts, platforms, parrots, and such things? (Hedrick pp. 90-91)  Did a group split off and follow the Salt River to the highlands and lands along the Little Colorado River, to become the MOGOLLON CULTURE? Could break offs from this group have become the SALADO and SINAGUA CULTURES? (See Pike, Front piece MAP) They all are considered to be ANASAZI, they all have much in common. (Cordell, 1989, pp. 6-15; See MAP 3 )  In light of the interrelationships of the cultures of Northwest Mexico and the American Southwest, some rethinking of the Prehistory of these areas needs to be considered. (Cordell, 1984, p.22) Southwestern archaeologists seldom address northwest Mexico, or points south as critical to understanding the Basketmaker and Anasazi origins..   

The Forerunner of the Anasazi is called the Basketmakers by archaeologists, and are divided into Basketmaker l, 11, and 111. (For Details see Gumerman1984; Erickson Web Site Mar 24, 2003, and especially McGregor pp. 160, 186-187; this outline is quite simplistic, but it is the one the Forest Service required to be used for Kaibab Forest sites.) The reformation of systems as suggested by Cordell and others, (Cordel1989, pp. 6-15), has not caught on in all circles. Such stes near Yuma, Arizona have been dated at about 11 AD by the University of Arizona. Did the migrating people evaluate land for future settlement all along their journey, which for some of them extended into Idaho, western and eastern Nevada where they are referred to by Neil Judd, Julian Steward, L.L. Loud, Mark Harrington, Luther Cressman and others from 1926 to 1940? (Atkins p. 225; Steward p. 4) They are also present in much of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Sites along the Virgin River dating earlier than 500 AD are often designated as Basketmaker. In nearly all areas where the Anasazi had or have a presence, there you will find Basketmaker remains as well. “It was not until the insightful work of A. V. Kidder and Samuel Guernesy in the Tsegi Canyon of Northern Arizona that the existence of the Basketmakers was proven-four years after Richard Wetherill’s murder.” (Atkins p. xvii) Their work confirmed what Wetherill had found in Whiskers Draw and North Fork Cave, 30 miles north of Bluff, Utah, up Cottonwood Wash, in December 1893. (Atkins p. 144) Their discovery was the result of excavations in a cave with a small Pueblo l ruin, three to seven feet under the Pueblo trash, were extensive burials, mostly the massacred remains of 94 individuals. (Atkins pp. 167-191) It was decisive evidence of predecessors in time to the Anasazi or Pueblos. Wetherill further confirmed this when working in Grand Gulch and other canyons. He had given the name Basketmaker to artifacts and graves he found to be older than Pueblo sites and ruins. (Atkins p. 224) 


In Tsegi Canyon, the location of the great cliff dwellings of Inscription House, Betatakin and Kiet Siel, there does not seem to have been a break in occupation from the time of the initial Basketmaker presence to about 1300 AD when what is now called the Hopi were told by three white brothers to leave the Canyons and take up residence on the Mesas at the southern end of Black Mesa, (Cryer p. 368) where they still reside today. (Gumerman 1984 pp. 4, 33,160-165) In that region “most of the villages and towns of the Anasazi and Mogollon [along the Little Colorado River] had been abandoned…the Hopi mesas, in fact, were perhaps a major refuge for the Sinagua and Anasazi…Hopi people claim ancestral ownership of many of the great population centers-Mesa Verde, Betatakin, Keet Siel, and Wapiti… Hopi… clan symbols found in these ruins give validity to the claims.” (Mays p. 23) The discoveries my team have made in the Kaibab Forest have been discussed with the Hopi since they claim ancestral ownership of some of the larger village there.

The HOPI traditionally refer to their move from the Tsegi Canyon area to the Mesas, (Cordell 1989, p.108), and their continued presence there, even though attempts have been to invite them to move elsewhere, as a result of an appearance of three white brothers, sometimes called three white prophets, who told them where to go and where to stay. (Cryer 368) “The Indians were kind but unbelieving, and “could  make no move until the reappearance of the Three Prophets who led their fathers to that land and told them to remain in these rocks until they should come again and tell them what to do.” (McClintock p. 151; Orson Pratt p. 99 and 109, referring to Three White Messengers to the Lamanites; Ballard p. 27, referring to a Blackfoot Indian encounter, all in Beardall) Mormons would immediately invoke the image of the Three Nephites noted in Third Nephi in the Book of Mormon. More on these THREE MEN who directed the HOPI to move and then stay where they moved to is provided below.

We have been through Tsegi Canyon and many of its tributaries, making notes and taking photos on the ground and by air of Anasazi and Baskemaker presence for the Navajo Tribal Museum, so I have personal experience in the Canyons and ruins where Kidder and Guernesy worked. One of the avid Basketmaker archaeologists, who also worked with Kidder, was Earl Morris: the problem he said: “is to determine whether the Pottery Makers [Anasazi] were directly descended from the Basket Makers who preceded them.” (Wheat pp. 42, 55)  They are! At Mesa Verde where I also worked under a scholarship, there are more than 4,000 dwellings, a literal show case of Anasazi culture. “Here lie examples from almost every stage of Anasazi development—from early Basketmaker pithouses to mesa-top , apartment-style pueblos and sprawling cliff cities built in the final desperate days of their civilization.” (Mays p. 81) This is likewise true for another great Canyon and ruin area, Canyon de Chelly, where I have also had repeated experiences. “Human occupation of Canyon de Chelly began shortly after the time of Christ, when Basketmaker Anasazi moved into the Canyon caves.” (Mays p. 91) The canyon was abandoned by 1300, but in the following centuries, only Hopi came to Canyon de Chelly, farming the canyon bottoms in the summer, carrying the harvest back to the Hopi mesas in the fall. Later the Navajo took over the canyons and they are still there.     

After the long journey working their way northward, having taken nearly 60 years just to get to the area of Yuma Arizona, it did not take to much more time to identify Tsegi Canyon and Kayenta area as a home-land for the Hopi where they stayed for nearly 1200 years before they were told to leave and take up residence elsewhere. Tsegi canyon was to be greatly changed by arroyo washing and deep cutting, the canyon became inhospitable in a short time. Their move to the Mesas was most propitious. And they have been there every since. I have spent time and visited some of the HOPI villages as shown on MAP No. 1 , in particular WALPI on FIRST MESA where I experienced the Hopi Snake dance. (Erickson pp.141-150) That experience included the Squaw Dance of the Navajos on Black Mesa, then extensive over-flights doing aerial photography of ruins.


All Pueblo societies have their origin myths. These are the unwritten charters for ceremonial and social behavior. HOPI is “(an abbreviation of HOPITUH SHIMUM. “The Peaceful People”). (Coe p. 213) For centuries they were known as the Moqui, but changed their name around 1800 to HOPI. Brigham Young sent Jacob Hamblin to the mesas in October 28, 1858, [from Hamblin’s mission headquarters near what is St. George, Utah]. At that time he tried to persuade the Hopi people to move across the Colorado River and live near the Mormon settlements [Ivins and St. George areas]. They declined saying “they had a tradition from their fathers that they must not cross the river until the three prophets who took them into the country they now occupy should visit them again…they were to remain in their hilltop villages until three prophets from the east came to bring them great blessings.” (Corbett in Cryer p. 371)  Hamblin tried again in November 1859 and was turned down again for the Hopi were determined “to make no move until the [re]appearance of the three prophets who led their ancestors of the Moquis [Hopi] to that locality, and told them to remain on their rocks until they should come again and tell them what to do.” (Cryer p. 371)  Hamblin on a fourth visit in 1864 invited the Hopi to move for the last time but was told “that they must wait for three prophets who led them into the country and would tell them what to do….Then the HOPI predicted that the Mormon people would yet move into the country south of them and would travel with wagons up the Little Colorado.”  Within fifteen years, (Little in Cryer p. 371) that prediction came true. That move began in 1873. There are now many Mormon settlements south of the Hopi Mesas, including a temple at Snowflake, Arizona.

Before 1949, while doing art work and preparing for a book, Ira Moskowitz interviewed an old Hopi man, getting him to tell how the Hopi lived and something of their origins. The old Hopi said: “They always lived—in preparation and expectation for the coming of the White Brother. When that White Brother truly should come (he had not truly or fully come as yet), then all that was great and old in Hopi life would unite with all that was great and old in the White Brother’s life; and the two lives would move into a future more bright and also everlasting, neither life engulfing the other, but “like the two distinct strands woven into a single Lariat.” (Moskowitz p. 65) Four years earlier I had been in Walpi on Third Mesa experiencing the twenty day long SNAKE DANCE, the dance with snakes in their mouths occurred on the sixteenth day. It was nice to know that in my lifetime the Hopi still retained the tradition of the White Brothers. (See MAP 1 )  

There are those, including myself that would equate these three prophets with the THREE NEPHITES of Mormon Tradition. (Beardall 109-114) Modern Hopi say that they are living their lives “as a destiny we are fulfilling,” a life prophesied by “those priests and chiefs who planned this all out for us.” (Trimble p. 44) There is a great deal of additional supporting data associated with these three figures some of which Cryer outlines in detail in Chapter 18 of his book.

As a result of Hamblin’s influence and the continued thrust of Mormon missionaries, a Mormon settlement was made a Moenkopi in 1875. (James p.100) Anti Mormon sentiments resulted in a proposal for the Hopi Reservation to be established to protect it from the white man’s encroachment. The reservation was established in 1882, which for seven years was administered by a joint Moqui and Navajo Agency. (James pp. 100-101) In 1900, the Moenkopi Ward [of the LDS Church] (of Which Tuba City was Part) numbered 150 Mormons. In 1903, however, the Navajo Reservation was expanded to its present western boundary, and the non-Indian Mormons were forced to vacate the vicinity. They sold their property and improvements to the U.S. Indian Service for $45,000 and today the only evidence of the Mormon community at Moenkopi is the old cemetery at the Hopi Village of Moenkopi. (Linford p. 233) Despite that, the LDS Church has been quite successful with the Hopi and particularly the Navajos. And there are Mormon settlements all along the Little Colorado River, south of HOPI country.   


In the summer of 1876, at Duck Creek, Utah, east of Cedar City, Indians along the Virgin River were summoned to meetings to hear the message of a teacher called “Nephi. “The Indians described him as “having a long white beard,’ and being ‘dressed in white’. The Indians were told that: “he was one of their forefathers and had many things to tell them, as he had lived a long time upon the earth.” (Brough in Cryer pp. 371-372; 3 Nephi 28)

In 1857 George W. Bean, and others, were sent by Brigham Young to explore Nevada for a possible sanctuary when Johnson’s Army of 1857 was approaching. Visiting Indians near Bullwacker Summit thirty miles south of Ely, Nevada, in the Egan Range, Bean had noticed extensive pottery at certain of his stops, the local Paiutes [Shoshone] informed him “that all such, as making pottery, mounds, inscriptions on rocks, and the like, were done by the Tribe of Moquis [Hopi], in ages past…who were the old settlers of this mountain region.” (Stott p. 170)  This was a startling historical statement. This led us to extensive and deliberate exploration in the central and eastern areas of Nevada for pottery and structures that would confirm the present of Anasazi in that region. We were most successful. We have found Anasazi sites, rooms and cists, and pottery around Eureka, Nevada, in the vicinity of Nine Mile Peak in Central Nevada, on the banks of North Creek in Lake Valley where we mapped a village more than nine hundred feet long, parallel to North Creek, northeast of Mt. Grafton; and we found sites south of Ely, Nevada in Murry Canyon. Where Bean had met with the Indians and obtained his information at Bullwacker Summit we found many sites containing black-on-white and gray ware pottery of Pueblo I origins. Thus confirming this Indian source to be correct with valuable information. It would seem that before the Paiutes and Shoshone occupied Nevada regions, the Basketmaker and Pueblo l cultures of the Anasazi were present and active there. We have found and mapped extensive village and storage sites in and around Pony Springs, Nevada, and many villages and sites along the Santa Clara and Virgin Rivers. To the Anasazi regions north of the Colorado River, my team have added some 1717 villages and sites during surveys of the North Kaibab Forest and the Kanab and Saddle Mountain wilderness areas; the surveys continued until 2004, but were never finished, so more is out there than current literature and our reports account for.  We, for one, have used the Book of Mormon and its contents for fruitful archaeological exploration with exceptional results.  There is a lot of country out there to explore.


Did another group migrating northward with but not related to the People of Jershon or the People of Ammon, decide to follow the east side of the Colorado River and stay near the water and become the PAI [Water] peoples), such the HAVASUPAI, THE YAVAPAI, THE WALAPAI, CAMP VERDE YAVAPAI-APACHE, COLORADO RIVER, HUALAPAI and YAVAPAI-PRESCOTT and others, who are all still there? (Reid p. 4) And did another group separate and stay in the vicinity becoming the PIMA? There is a lot of interesting work that could be done with these Indian Groups and analyses of their traditions. Check the Bibliography for this Web Entry it will identify many such sources. Their DNA could be checked against the burial remains recovered from the vanished Anasazi sites north of the Hohokam ancient settlements and west of the present Hopi to contribute to the debate about American Indian origins.  

According to the traditions of the HOPI, who are the Western Anasazi, but known to the Spanish before 1800 as MOQUI, (Hedrick pp. 46-47) they stayed on the west side of the Colorado River until they entered the Shonto Plateau area, (Cordell 1989, p. 106; See MAP3 ) where they moved east of the river. In the beginning they had organized a system of migration, movement, settlements, and progressed northward. They would send out pioneers, advance people, (McGuire p. 205) looking for areas where the sage brush was hip-high, which would mean the soil was knee-deep. That would indicate that the rainfall was on the order of eight to ten inches or more each year.  That was the minimum they needed. They cultivated their main produce of melons, corn, beans and squash by placing all four seeds in a hole nine inches deep; watering it down good, then covering it with a mound of soil nine inches high, and watering  that down also; then they would leave it to the seasonal rains and climate for all further irrigation needs. The mounds were placed not closer than six feet. The Hopi still use this system in their canyon agricultural areas. Many Navajos have also adopted this agriculture practice. The migrating people would then set up a settlement that would include the old and the very young who would stay there for “four years”. The Zuni have a tradition that is like that of the Hopi: “They were scattered all over the place because that’s where our ancestors traveled. They weren’t traveling because there were droughts or there was pestilence. They were traveling because they were looking, searching for the center place. Each one [Tribe], until they found their own center place, moved every four years…and they moved in any direction, any direction, with all kinds of languages.” (Ladd in Judge p. 34)  Just as this ancient tradition states some related groups banded together, “There are hints in the architecture [of various ruins] that it was the work of people from several places and several traditions.” (Cheek p. l50) These tribes, like the HOPI, would recount their journey, the place names of villages and area they settled, at least once each year.

Before reaching the Yuma area, the Basketmaker pioneers or explorers evaluated the regions around Chihuahua, Mexico. (Atkins p. 227) After reaching the Colorado River, they scattered in all directions northwest, north and northeast, seeking for suitable places as far north as Idaho, the southern end of the Wind River Mt., and at Lovelock (Atkins page 225) in western Nevada. They found suitable areas around Moapa where there are Basketmaker and Pueblo I and II, and rare Pueblo III, sites for thirty miles along the Muddy River. So far we have mapped more than 100 sites in the Alamo-Hiko area of Nevada. They settled along the Virgin River and its tributaries, especially near old Harrisburg, and even Pueblo III was found in the east fork of the Virgin River near Zion national Park. We have mapped more than 190 villages and sites along the Santa Clara River, a tributary to the Virgin River which it joins at St. George, Utah. But one group reached the Tsegi Canyon region where they stayed and over time became the Hopi of today. They took up the major area of Tsegi-Kayenta, (Gumerman pp. 175-178) and stayed in that region populating many of the canyons until they were told to leave. Kiet Seal, (meaning “Broken Pottery”) one of their great Cliff Dwellings, (Cheek p. 52) was under construction as early as 980 AD, and at another great cliff Dwelling, Betatakin, (meaning ‘Ledge House”) they cut the last tree used in its construction in 1286 AD, By 1300 AD they were gone from all the canyons. (Cheek pp. 50-51; Plog  pp. 118-122)  Cheek’s book is a fantastic experience and adventure in beautiful photos and information.    


During our volunteer work for the Arizona Strip BLM, we found a well located Basketmaker site overlooking Littlefield, Arizona, with its successor Pueblo l structures, and a nearby elaborate solstice-medicine circle. We went on to map some 85 villages and sites from Welcome Creek, northwest of Littlefield to Lake Meade, and dozens more in the Virgin Mountains east of Mesquite, Nevada. One of these villages had 110 rooms, some were over 50 rooms, but most were 20-40 rooms in size. Most were Pueblo l or 2, none were Pueblo 111. The entire region had been abandoned after 1150 AD. In the Virgin River area, near St. George, the Basketmaker and Anasazi presence was abundant before 200 AD but vacated about 1150 AD. (Gumerman pp. 1988, pp, 195-197) In the Kaibab Plateau north of the Grand Canyon, they were present and maintained their villages from before 200 AD through to 1300, when they united with others at the Hopi Mesas. We found more than 400 Pueblo 111 villages, many in the 100 room size in the Kaibab Forest and wilderness area. Corn pollen studies confirmed they farmed corn up until they left. But it was evident that while there, there was a climatic change, warming gradually over centuries, so the pine and cedar trees migrated towards the highlands leaving Pueblo 111 villages nearly a half to a mile from the timber sources needed to sustain their villages. It was more apparent that they left, however, because of religious reasons and to satisfy religious changes that were occurring. But the most suitable places for the original settlements were found by the migrating groups in the Canyons of the Colorado Plateau as described in Atkins. But the Hopi only stayed in certain of these areas until told to leave, which was about 1300 AD.

In the Kaibab Forest and adjacent areas, there were no instances where security was a problem, no defensive construction was observed in the more than 1700 sites we mapped. No such structures or attempts to provide some kind of defense were observed in any of the sites in Eastern Nevada and Western Utah. Excavations someday will find out what they left behind, if anything.  It was evident they were not driven out, nor were they so afraid they could not put up defensive structures and stay.  


The Anasazi moved northward into the San Juan River area, down the Rio Grande, and many areas in-between and along the long routes that were taken. One group, speaking about the same language, continued on across the plains and then communicated back and forth as traders between the Anasazi world and the cultures on the east side of the Mississippi, they were known as the KIOWA. (Viola pp. 212-213) All of this is in opposition to the presentations and ideas of conventional archaeologists who try to derive the American Indian by an influx from Asia. (Cordell pp. 27-28)  Where the Hopi were concerned, the various aspects of Tsegi Phase Social Organization have been discussed in detail. (Longacre pp. 140-1417)  Most archaeologist, however, have ignored the present day Indian presence almost entirely.  Not once have they ever asked an Indian, where did you come from? How did you get here? Edmund J. Ladd, a Zuni anthropologist, at a recent Anasazi conference, after all was said and done had this to say: “Well, we’ll keep trying to tell you what happened, but I guess you won’t believe us anyway.” (Judge p. 63)  By not asking the Indians what they know one might be putting his intellectual integrity at risk when he tries to account archaeologically about them, especially their origins.  It is also apparent that one group of specialists are describing migrations out of Asia at different times back to 30,000 BC or earlier, and down to 5000 BC, with little or no real evidence that any of these theorized migrations, except for the Eskimo groups, survived into 2500 BC. But defenders of the Book of Mormon are only interested in, and describing, migrations into the Americas of Jaredites about 2100 BC, and about 590 BC for the Nephites; and about 565 for the Mulekites. These are entirely two different things and confuse most people dealing with the Americas and American Indian origins.  


At one time or another, the American Indian, like many cultures elsewhere, occupied their intellectual time coming up with an explanation for everything. And everything needed to be explained in a satisfactory way. In searching for an explanation for happenings of any kind, particularly tragic ones, the ancient mind created stories, myths, or traditions, saw or perceived, or imagined; a need for an explanation was necessary and they developed one. These explanations and stories were transmitted as a living memory, orally, through time until it evolved into a story permanently enshrined in their traditions. Most were certainly modified as years passed, then centuries; memories were capable of only so much retention without being embellished in one form or another, and it is amazing that there are any parallels at all to things deeply buried in the past. So one seeks to try to phantom the original event or thought behind what is now retained of past years of the existence of a given group of people.  Anyone recalling going through a two year olds WHY? and WHAT ‘S THAT?, phase of life, can appreciate the need to explain it.


The HOPI myths or traditions, “On the Contrary, recount that the Hopis crossed the sea [Pacific] during their emergence to this present Fourth World, arriving somewhere on the western coast of Mexico or Central America. They then gradually worked northward to settle in their present homeland in the Four Corners regions. The validity of the myth is attested in many ways: the dramatic reenactment of their migratory journey in numerous ceremonials, the many place names of their identified settlements along the way, and the similarity of their rituals to those of the highly civilized peoples of ancient Mesoamerica.” ( Pike p. 13) It was this reference that stimulated the study of Alma 63:4. Who might those migrating people be; where was the trail they took northward?

“Between the ages 6 to 8 the boys and girls are initiated into the tribe and given a second name. They have now reached the age of accountability.  At this time the boy is given a little bow with some arrow attached. The arrows have been sawed off and are blunt because the HOPI BURIED THEIR WEAPONS of war deep in the earth before the “Great Star” appeared in the sky, and a “true” Hopi must never take up weapons of war to fight again.  However, if any of their people who have taken the oath  never to fight,”  breaks this tradition, they can never go into the presence of the Great Spirit.”  (Brinkerhoff p. 57) This quote alone justified this Web Site entry. Six salient points are identified in this quote all linked to the Book of Mormon quotes at the beginning of this entry. These include: 1. BURIED THEIR WEAPONS, 2. DEEP IN THE GROUND, 3. GREAT STAR, 4. NEVER FIGHT AGAIN, 5. TAKEN THE OATH and 6. FEAR OF BREAKING TRADITION with a grievous penalty. I personally knew Zula Brinkerhoff whose book I have quoted from, she gave me a copy of her book, it is based on years of personal contacts with the Hopi. But hers is not the only source. This data identifies at least one group that “worked northward” to settle where the HOPI ounce resided before moving to the southern end of BLACK MESA!  So, the HOPI are at least one of the groups migrating out of Central America about 53 BC!

“The Boys are given small bows painted white in the center, blue on each side of the white, yellow on each side of the blue, and red on the ends as a “warning” to “never take the blood of human life.” (Cryer p. 325)  The colors are the cardinal colors of the HOPI.

One of the meanings of the name, HOPI, is “the peaceful people.’ (Parker p. 30)


Hugh Nibley has this to say: “Latter-day Saints believe that their temple ordinances are as old as the human race and represent a primordial revealed religion that has passed through alternate phases of apostasy and restoration which have left the world littered with the scattered fragments of the original structure, some more or less recognizable, but all badly damaged and out of proper context. The early fathers of the church gave such an explanation for the disturbingly close resemblances between Christianity and other, notably Egyptian, beliefs and practices, all are the remnants of another age.” (Nibley p. xxvii)  Then, elsewhere in his writings, he told of this experience:

“Offhand one may say that Joseph Smith could have gotten his ideas [for the temple and Book of Mormon] from any or many of a great number of sources, ancient and modern…On Easter Day in 1954, at about noon, I was standing with Brother J. Virgil Bushman (1889-1969) …that doughty missionary to the Hopis, before the house of the celebrated Tewaqueptewa in Old Oraibi, [See MAP 1 ] when a small delegation of leading men from the village came up and informed us that they had just learned from the local Protestant Missionaries how the Mormons got a lot of their stuff. It seems that when the famous chief Tuba (1810-87) became a Mormon, Jacob Hamblin took him to Salt Lake City to marry his wives in the temple there. While the chief was in town, Joseph Smith (1805-1844) –none other-took him aside and interrogated him very closely, prying the tribal secret out of him, from what Chief Tuba told Smith, he proceeded to write the Book of Mormon, establish the Temple ordinances, and found the church. And that, sir, is why Hopi traditions are so much like those of the Mormons.” (Nibley p. xxvii) 

The quote from Nibley illustrates how much the world is uninformed about Mormon history and doctrine, the Book of Mormon was published in 1829, the Church was organized in 1830, Joseph presented the temple ordinances in 1842, and then died in 1844, the temple ordinances were given to thousands of people in the Nauvoo Temple before the end of winter 1846, and the temple in Salt Lake City was not completed until 1893. Any parallels to any church doctrine had to have been part of the baggage the Hopi and other Indians carried with them on a long, long journey. (See the book by Cryer for many related parallels and also the book by Fewkes who was able to access the Hopi a great deal before 1900; Fewkes p. 273-276)


The KLICKITATS were an Indian Tribe straddling the border of Oregon and Washington, one of the Plateau Tribal Territories. (Gill p. xxviii) “By the time of Lewis and Clark’s epic journey through this territory in 1805, the major Penutian tribes were the Cayuse, Klamath, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Klikitat.” (Freed p. 281) Their language family is Shahaptian, part of the Larger Shapwailutan family. (Thomas, David H. p. 466)  The name KLICKITAT means “beyond”. (Johnson pp. 142-146) They were middlemen in trade between coast and inland tribes. (Deloria p. 388) But, in 1970 there were only 21 of this tribe left; they heavily merged with the Paiutes and Chinooks. In 2001, the state of Washington no longer showed any of this tribe present, and Oregon, while still listing a Klickitat presence in two reservations did not list any actual tribal individuals. (Johnson pp. 299, 301) For their legends see Gogol, J.M, Klickitat Indian Legend 1979, and Legends of the Klickitats, Portland, Metropolitan Press, 1933.

Many Indian tribes have traditions that include great upheavals and disasters, flooding waters, the ground thumping, great clouds of black smoke, darkness, flashing lightning, ash, volcanic activity, and so forth. It seems that in time, the ancient accounts began to be used by the Klickitats to explain more recent activity such as floods down the Columbia River, the formation of the Willamette River, and Paiutes explaining the Grand Canyon, but all involved catastrophic evolution of the environment with forests burned away, mountains shaken, and related phenomenon. (Palmer pp. 38-42)

The Klickitats tell that the people had always lived near sea gulls and the gulls always kept up their continual cry of “Klick-tat, Klick-tat!”, so the gulls were called Klickitats and the people became the Klickitats. This possible ancient tradition of living near a sea shore needs some investigation, most recent traditions of the people were they lived inland, with no recent memory of sea gulls. (Palmer p. 44)  

There are many books that described in one way or another and in various details the legends of the Paiutes, [they prefer Pahute spelling] and for that matter most any tribe one selects. The Hopi interfaced with the sixteen tribes of the Southern Paiutes who were essentially in and around the Virgin River areas and southeastern Nevada (Gill pp. xxiii, xxv) But the Shoshone, Paiute, Comanche, Ute, Aztec and Anasazi, were all of the Uto-Aztecan Linguistic family out of Southern Mexico and Central America. (Johnson p. 145) Any attempt to do a DNA analysis of these tribes must take all of this into consideration.  


The Klickitats believed in two great Gods. The supreme God, or the Great Spirit was called SOCLAI-TYEE. He is the Supreme Being. The one basically responsible for everything. The other God was younger, he was called KEYODA. He was half God and half mortal and came and lived with the Klickitats periodically. “It was KOYODA who made the laws for the Klickitats so they could dwell peacefully together. He taught them wisdom, he was their protector, he taught them how to grow and prepare maize and other foods. He often counseled, taught, and sometimes even pleaded with them. They call upon KOYODA when they needed help. He also settled disputes.” (Palmer pp. 41-42)

KOYODA has a lot of similarities of SHINOB of the Paiutes.


The two great PAIUTE GODS were TOBATS and SHINOB.  TOBATS was the God of all creation. He was older then SHINOB, and represented age and wisdom. SHINOB was second GOD in power. He was also the GOD of love, a peace maker and represented eternal youth. Then one day, a being called  THAT ONE  or ‘UN-NU-PIT, the very evil one, or the devil, killed SHINOB.

     “As SHINOB died, a great thick darkness fell upon “Tu-Weap” the earth. It was not just night, but a pitch blackness where one cannot see his hand in front of his face.

     The sudden heavy blackness had come so quickly, that it caught the people unaware. Men, women, and children were scattered in and about…families were not together. when darkness fell chaos and confusion laid hold of them. A great din of howling, milling…crying…could be heard for…miles. Pandemonium reigned…the confusion …and crying lasted for many hours…for they had no light, nor fire. Some tried to make fire for light, but could not…out of the depressing blackness…came a voice…the people recognized the voice …of Tobats, the elder God. Tobats told…[them]…to move about with their arms stretched out…to call to each other…when they encountered another person to join hands…this process was…repeated…until many lines were formed. When these lines met other lines of people, they would…join hands and connect into one line…families were united by calling and moving back and forth along the great lines until husbands found wife and parents their children. When the last Pahute had been linked with his family, the howling and calling did cease…Tobats called out again…he told them to climb to the plateau …where he was…the line…inched its way up…some stumbled and fell, but they did not leave their place in line, for in the darkness…they would be lost again. Once atop…they formed a large circle around Tobats. They…waited for sunrise to come, but it did not get light.” (Palmer p. 21)  Tobats had his bow and arrows. He said he would shoot an arrow into the blackness and pierce the darkness and let in the light. His first arrow was feathered with feathers from the flicker bird. He shot it, all watched it, they saw a quick flash of light then total darkness again. The second time he shot an arrow it was feathered with feathers from the blackbird. He shot it straight up. The arrow burst through the blanket of darkness like water filling a jug, the light poured down covering the earth light and dispensing darkness.  They had experienced three days of darkness. The people were filled with joy and gratitude. The legend details how the Flicker Bird and Blackbird feather colors were changed.  This accounts for their present colors and status. The Flicker Bird because there was the brief flash of light had its feathers colored red as a mark forever of honor. The Magpie is now the name for the Blackbird whose feathers became black and white commemorating the turn from blackness to light; that bird is held sacred and treated reverentially and is never killed nor harmed in anyway. (Palmer p. 22)  

Dr. Palmer told this legend to Dr. Hugh Nibley who was with him on a trip to Indian sites near Parowan, Utah. When he finished Nibley said to him: Is this legend written or recorded?” Dr. Palmer replied, “No, I have never published this one… Hugh Nibley then asked: …make sure this is written down…The Arabs have this same legend, at least it’s very similar concerning arrows and scared birds.” (Palmer p. 20)

These traditions are included here because of the distinct linguistic relationship of the Hopi to the Paiute. (Trimble pp. 49-50) and their interface in Eastern, Nevada and Western Utah. The main linguistic relationship is Uto-Aztecan (Johnson p. 145)

The Numic of the Paiutes was related to all the Uto-Aztecan speakers.


“There was a thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants there of who had not fallen would feel the vapor of darkness; And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all. And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually, yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.” (3 Nephi 8:17-23)  Zenos…[the Prophet] spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of His (Christ’s) death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more specially given unto those who are of the house of Israel…and others with the thunderings and the lightnings of his power, by tempest, by fire, and by smoke, and vapor of darkness, and by the opening of the earth and by mountains which shall be carried up.” (l Nephi 19:10-12)  The words of Zenos make this tradition and sign a very ancient one. His prophecies would have been in the Brass Plates and available to all the Nephites for centuries before the proposed migrations took place. Any number of peoples leaving the main Nephite area could have carried such traditions with them, modifying them over time to fit their circumstance and needs. The above is certainly reflected in some Indian traditions, paralleling the accounts in the Book of Mormon. It is clear that there are details in the Hopi and Paiute Traditions, as well as those of other Indians that need to be taken seriously. PART 2 of this series will continue the study of the ANASAZI and PAIUTE history, with emphasis on the HOPI, for possible traditions that might be linked to the Book of Mormon or Mormon doctrine. Other Indian traditions will also be included.


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