[Marxism] Turks and American Indians

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jun 25 09:11:01 MDT 2008

One of my favorite TV shows is The Turkish Hour, which runs on the local 
cable access channel in New York on Sunday night from 10 to 10:30pm 
(yes, I know it should be called The Turkish Half-Hour). You can watch 
segments from past shows at their website.

Last Sunday night, there were two eye-opening segments on admittedly 
remote connections between Turks and the peoples of North America. Even 
if they are impossible to establish with 100 percent accuracy, they 
certainly are intriguing.

In the first segment, we see a meeting at the Turkish Center in New York 
with American Indians performing music and dance, while scholars from 
both Turkey and North American Indian nations exchange ideas about the 
possibility that the two peoples are related ethnically!

That thought first entered my mind when I discovered that the word for 
boat in Turkish is “kay?k”. (When the ‘i’ is not dotted in Turkish, it 
is pronounced almost like “uh”. With the dot, it is more like the ‘i’ in 
it.) A kayak, of course, is the boat favored by Inuits in Alaska and 
across northern Canada.

It is generally accepted that the Inuits and other indigenous peoples 
came across the Bering land bridge between Asia and North America up 
until about 5000 BC. It is also generally accepted that they originated 
from Eastern Siberia, the homeland of the Turkic and Mongol peoples.

Polat Kaya, a Turkish scholar, wrote a paper titled “Search For a 
Probable Linguistic and Cultural Kinship Between the Turkish People of 
Asia and the Native Peoples of Americas”, a version of which can be read 
here. Kaya’s ideas are highly speculative, but other more mainstream 
scholars have made some of the same points. For example, Rene 
Bonnerjea’s “A Comparison between Eskimo-Aleut and Uralo-Altaic 
Demonstrative Elements, Numerals, and Other Related Semantic Problems” 
that appeared in the Jan. 1978, International Journal of American 

Throwing caution to the wind, I will accept Kaya’s amateurish 
speculations on their own terms, if for no other reason it opens up huge 
avenues of literary and philosophical investigations about mankind’s 
common ancestry.


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