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Ancient Emigrations To America





Summary of Article by Karl Hoenke & Myron Paine



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       The Viking Waterway allowed material to be transported from the Red River Valley to the Mississippi River Valley.  Three important water communication networks meet in Minnesota.  Drainage to the north via the Red River reaches Hudson Bay and the North Atlantic.  To the east are the Great lakes, which continue to serve as a major trade route through the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic.  The the south is the extensive Mississippi River system that, with the Ohio and Missouri Rivers, drains and connects most of the central part of North America.  The riverine network of Minnesota connects all three and has been exploited by civilizations for many centuries.


       There are four principal histories that converge in Minnesota:  (1) The ancient copper trade, which enabled the Bronze Age in Europe and the Mediterranean.  (2) Viking explorers before 1000 AD and Lenape settlers from 1,000 to 2000 AD.  (3) The Lenape migrations from Greenland to the Atlantic coast of North America from 1354 AD to 1362 AD, which are documented in the Maalan Aarum.  (4) The Scandinavian rescue mission led by Paul Knudson from 1354 to 1362 AD.


Ancient Copper Trade


       The Minoans reached England to acquire tin, and the Baltic Sea to obtain amber.  But it has never been considered that Minoans and other explorers of the Old World reached North America in Pre-Columbian times.  Thus 1,300 years of copper movement to the Mediterranean remains unacknowledged.  From about 2500 BCE to 1200 BCE great quantities of pure copper were taken from the area around Lake Superior, down the Mississippi River  to Poverty Point, Louisiana.  There it was prepared for shipment and freighted from the Gulf of Mexico to Europe and North Africa, with the aid of the Gulf Stream for propulsion.  The massive earth modifications that are still visible along this route were probably the work of the builders of the waterway during the 2500-1200 BCE periods.


Catastrophic Event on Earth


                The earth sustained a serious catastrophic event sometime around 1200 BC, which devastated civilizations in the Mediterranean and Asian areas.  Copper mining in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan ceased and changes are observed throughout the archeological record of central North America.  The end of the Bronze Age in Europe coincided with the end of the major copper mining and trade in America.  There remain about 10,000 mining pits around Lake Superior of the ancient miners.  There are also ancient harbors, Mooring Stones and other artifacts along the entire waterway.  A very large number of workers would have been required to construct so many large earthen modifications that are associated with the copper trade.  However, burials and the remains of ships have not been found, albeit wooden vessels disentegrate over time and cremation leaves scant evidence.  Nevertheless, publication in scientific journals for this theory is lacking.


The Viking Waterway


       From 1940 to 1956 Reider T. Sherwin published a series of books named "The Viking and The Red Man.," in which there were over 2,500 comparisons between the Algonquin (Lenape) and Old Norse.  Viking explorers discovered the American Mid-continental Waterway and used it to transport copper.  Viking began to range out from Scandinavia in the 8th Century to terrorize and finally merge among the occupants of England, Ireland, France, Russia, Sicily, to mention just a few.  By the late 10th Century they colonized Iceland, Greenland and North America.  Around 1000 AD the Vikings in Greenland and America became Christians.  They called themselves "Lenape," which means "Abide With The Pure."  The Atlantic was no barrier to them, and they explored Ungava, Labrador, Hudson Bay, James Bay, the Red River Valley in Minnesota and the whole Mississippi river basin.  They left behind swords, axes, fire steels, spear points, whetstones, Mooring Stones, the Kinsington Rune Stone and other stones and countless place names.  Icelandic sagas and the Lenape History (the Maalan Aarum) document Viking voyages to Labrador, Newfoundland and to "Wyn "Vin" land of the West."  The creators of the Maalan Aarum spoke Old Norse.  Their influence on modern America persists to the present.  They named Canada (Kanal Dal) and three Canadian Provinces:  Labrador "Broad Fjord," Quebec "Blocked Stream" and Saskatchewan "Rushing Water."  There are nineteen American states that are derived from Old Norse:  Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Nebraska.  Also the Norse "Wyn" (pronounced "vin") actually means "Fine or Open) and not "Vine."  Therefore, Wynland refers to the abundant grassland.


       In the Maalan Aarum record the Lenape left Greenland around 1350 AD when the climate became too cold for survival.  They walked across the frozen sea to the mouth of Hudson Strait, across the Ungava Peninsula, down to Hudson Bay and on to the forested land south.  Those people were kinfolk or descendants of earlier Viking settlers who had mixed with native people.  The American Vikings vanished from history but emerged as the Lenape on the East Coast when European colonists arrived.  European settlers on the east coast from North Carolina to New York and up to the source of the Hudson River encountered the Lenape from Greenland.  Kinfok of the Greenland Lenape settled on the coast from New York to the Canadian Maritimes.  These people had sailed directly from Greenland to America.  The Beothuk (a Newfoundland tribe) means "Sail direct."  The Beothuk and other Norse, who sailed directly to America, also called themselves "Lenape."  Besides Norse heritage and the Old Norse language, the Greenland Lenape may have passed their religion to their descendants for centuries.  In 1820 the last of the Lenape storytellers transferred the Lenape history to Moravian priests doing missionary work in America.  This history was embodied in a collection of 184 "sticks" upon which drawings were etched and served as prompts to the storyteller who studied each drawing before reciting the verse that were memorized long ago.  They are recorded in the Maalan Aarum, which means "Engraved Years."  The Maalan Aarum relates that in James Bay the population increased by hunting whales and wild geese, and mentions the first meeting of the leaders on North American soil.  Also included is an account of the rejection of the Norwegian rescue fleet, of the death of Norwegian Paul Knudson, of the Lenape retreat to James Bay and of the division of the Lenape in an attempt to move south to warmer weather.  Their journey took them south, up the Red River between Minnesota and the Dakotas to Sisseton, South Dakota.  As the Little Ice Age intensified (See: Climate ) they migrated south along the Big Sioux River to Minnehaha County, South Dakota.  Then drought dorve them east across southern Minnesota.  Opportunities for survival led them down the west bank of the Mississippi until they reached Missouri; then up the Ohio River Valley.  Around 1470 the population divided with the Lenape tribe going east to the Atlantic Coast and the Southern Lenape going south.  Shawnee means "south," and the Lenape later were called "Shawnee."  Both Lenape and Shawnee were believed to be Christians by Paine (2007 & 2008).


       A map was produced by a French voyageur around 1703, which labels the land between the Nelson, Lake Winnipeg, Red River and James Bay as "Les Christinaux."  The area of present day Illinois, Indiana and Ohio was labeled "Illini."  The Illini resided on the River of the Divine, now known as the Illinois River.  "Illini" means "Pure."


       A section from Hjalmar Holland's 1958 book relates how King Magnus sent a rescue mission to America, which was a century before the Columbus "Discovery."  The rescue began in Bergen, Norway in 1354 AD (Holland 1958).  The  Maalan Aarum. Lenape historians after 1370 AD noted that the rescue mission was rejected because Paul Knudson, while returning to Greenland perished at sea.   The rest of the rescue group remained in Minnesota.


       Hoenke & Paine believe that the early copper seekers and later Vikings constructed some of the earthen structures and harbors that are found along the Waterway.  During the initial discovery of a mooring stone Dr. Paine also noted a straight shore and rectangular corners in the immediate area that pointed to human activity.  Subsequent discoveries of Mooring Stones were also associated with modified earth and constructed harbors.  Since then such obvious man made structures were found to be more evident from satellite photos.  Later when the Lenape Vikings used the Waterway, they maintained some of the earthen structures that were in need of repair.  In Egypt there are also some very interesting pictorial references to the ancient Norsemen and their vessels that delivered copper to the Egyptians.


       Considerable discussion is given to the way the ancient Norsemen transported copper down to the Gulf of Mexico where it was processed for shipment (See:  Copper Transport).  However, burials and the remains of ships with their metal parts have not been found, albeit wooden vessels disentegrate over time and cremation leaves scant evidence.  Nevertheless, archeological evidence and publication in scientific journals for this theory is lacking.


       The authors continue to describe in great detail how much copper could have been taken from the Lake Superior region, the routes that were navigated, the animals used for food,  the numbers of people assigned to each vessel and the many thousands of people that groomed the waterway. 


Greenland Vikings (Lenape) Arrival


      When the Greenland Vikings, or Lenape, arrived they did not seek copper, but were searching for suitable places to settle.  They utilized the ancient waterway as well as other riverine systems to move about eastern North America.  During four centuries of residence in America, the Lenape Vikings changed the structure of their vessels to what is known as Montreal canoes.  Many were smaller and could be easily portaged by a few men.  Some details are mentioned on the Kensington Rune Stone.  Some of the more obvious mooring sites used by the Lenape and their redirection of rivers are discussed in detail.