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And just so no one starts cluck-clucking me, my understanding is that "Indians" is an accepted and acceptable term for native South Americans. "Native Americans" has become the preferred term for aboriginal peoples only in the United States. Since these were ancient Peruvians (well, ancient Andeans), "Indians" works. The article itself scrupulously avoids using either term.

Here's another story on it at fox news.

Here's an article from the encyclopedia of anthropology about the culture.

Here's something that puzzles me about the Nephite/Lamanite light/dark thing (the unspoken thing that makes this story interesting to Mormons):

I highly doubt there is a major pigmentation difference between Palestinian Judahites/Israelites of the 7th century BC and the indigenous Indians of America.

More and more, I find the only person on the Bloggernacle who makes any sense, or asks any of the relevant questions, is Ronan.

Ronan, did you write that?

May I be so impolitic as to ask who has described the "chachapoyas" as being "light skinned, European in appearance"?

The chronicler Pedro Cieza de León offers some picturesque notes about the Chachapoyas:

"They are the whitest and most handsome of all the people that I have seen in Indies, and their wives were so beautiful that because of their gentleness, many of them deserved to be the Incas' wives and to also be taken to the Sun Temple (...) The women and their husbands always dressed in woolen clothes and in their heads they wear their llautos, which are a sign they wear to be known everywhere."

Um, thanks. Or maybe you're taking the mick.

I'm just wondering out loud what white>dark means in a BoM context, when "white" is certainly not "white" as we imagine, and "dark" (going by today's Indians) is not a million miles away from Nephite "white."

Ronan, if I was forced to give an answer, I'd say that in 19th-century America there were inhabitants of Eurporean, Native American, and African origin with easily observed pigmentation differentiation. I think many 19th-century readers projected that racial mix back into their reading of the Bible and, for Mormons, of the Book of Mormon, assuming that different peoples in the text must have presented dramatically different appearances. [That, plus the text of the Book of Mormon expressly states there were observable differences, although Nibley attributed that to cultural differences, not physical ones, between Nephites and Lamanites.] But I'm sure someone who has read All Abraham's Children could add a few things.

Well, that sucks.

After seeing the title in my RSS reader, I was fully expecting to see some photos of mummies in Calcutta or something.

Why do blogernacle elites assume that ancient Jews were darker than modern mediterranean peoples? Why would ancient Jews be significantly darker than modern Spanish, Italians, etc which were very white vs. American Indians? If you have a beef with BofM historicity, don't pull a Southerton and make up nonsense to support your position.

BTW, native American isn't descriptive. I'm mostly Irish descent, and I'm most definitely a native American. The few Indian friends I have prefer the term American Indian.

I assume you're referring to me, Steve. I don't even think there's a huge pigmentation difference between American Indians and modern Mediterranean types. And my comment had nothing to do with BoM historicity. Mostly, I'm just wondering what "white" vs. "dark" means.

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