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BBC 5 part documentary: The Story of the Polynesians

BBC 5 part documentary:  The Story of the Polynesians


This is the most comprehensive and scientific TV series that I have found on Polynesia.  It is an excellent replacement for the network TV trolling.   The program lasts for about five hours, so it will entertain you for several days.

When I was on the fellowship in Mexico,  Mexican anthropologists, without hesitation, taught me that Baja California was occupied by Polynesians.  Gringo archaeologists then poo-pooed them, but low and behold in the last few years, they have discovered that the “Indians” of southern California and the Channel Islands  (such as Santa Catalina) were Polynesians, not American Indians from Siberia.  During the past two decades,  Mexican anthropologists have become convinced that Proto-Polynesians were the first people in Mexico, arriving around 30,000-22,000 years ago at the peak of the last Ice Age, perhaps earlier.  They became the ancestors of the Zoque, who were the elite of the Olmec Civilization, but were also were partial ancestors of the Totonacs, Huastacs and Itzas of Mesoamerica and the Panoan Peoples of South America.  Most of the indigenous ethnic groups, they believe, came much later from Siberia.  

Several branches of the Creek Confederacy originated in the region when the Olmec Civilization rose.  Indeed,  even today,  Muskogee Creek shares several basic words with the Maori Polynesians.  So, if your DNA test showed up with some Polynesian or Southeast Asian DNA (mined did) it was no fluke.

Hope you enjoy the program!


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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Thanks Richard, I will watch this with interest.

    • They are testing the people on the island today. There was something like a 95% drop in population. One would have to dig up burials from at least 600 years ago and extract DNA. Polynesian DNA is found in Peru, Mexico and among NW Pacific Indians and Muskogeans. I carry some Polynesian DNA.


        Richard, Thank you for your reply. It seems to be very difficult to get older DNA samples. Maybe the Rapanui people don’t want to disturb the restingplace of their forefathers or the Chilean government and western linked (read smithsonian) researchers are unwilling to cooperate in doing more dna research and perhaps prevent some findings to come to light.

        The Polynesian DNA fonud in Peru, Mexico, NW Pacific Idnians and Muskogeans is very interesting. There is something called the Polynesian motif comes from the haplogroup B and is called B4a1a1a to be more accurate. The subclade B4b also labled B2 is the DNA found in over 20% of indigenous native Americans.

        Here are links to maps which show the percentage of DNA linked to haplogroup B.

        In the second link you see a world map which shows where haplogroup B is found. When you take a good look you will notice that B is found in Egypt, Soutern Sweden and Northwestern Russia (Murmansk – Kola Peninsula).

        The fact that haplogroup B is linked to Polynesians / Austronesian seafarers makes it almost incredible to believe they have reached Egypt, Southern Sweden and Northwestern Russia; yet again; the Polynesian / Austronesian seafarers are one of if not the most succesful maritime people in the world.

        Here is a link to a map of the present day sami language speakers. Note that the Sami language is also spoken in Northwestern Russia.

        I’m not saying the Sami people are in fact Polynesian / Austronesians; yet maybe they had trade connections, exchanged ideas, maritime technology and culture and some of them seemingly intermingled with eachother leaving a DNA (haplogroup B) mark in some of the present day Sami population. Could this be the case?

        The DNA B signal in Egypt is a very important one too. Were the legendary almost mythical sea people of ancient mediterranean sea descendants of the Polynesian/Austronesian seafarers?

        Hopefully there are (professional) researchers (and POOF readers) out there who are willing to do intensive research in these subjects.


    Hey Richard T., Recently I came across an article about the dispersal of the sweet potato into the pacific islands. It states that ‘quote’: “The sweet potato made its way to Polynesia without human assistance”

    My own opinion is that while some species of sweet potato may have made it to some islands in the pacific without human assistance it doesn’t explain the similar names ‘kumara’, ‘uala’, ‘kumar’ etc. for sweet potato on mainland South America and the Pacific Islands. There must have been human interaction for those words or names for sweet potato to spread throughout polynesia. Keep in mind the Maori have legends / stories about bringing the kumara (sweet potato) to Aotearoa (New Zealand) which means the Maori already used the word kumara for sweet potato before the european colonists arrived in Polynesia.
    I wonder if the recent research article is aimed to confuse the people and to alter history.

    I will include articles for youand other poof members/readers to read. Can you give your thoughts and opinion on the dispersal of the sweet potato to the pacific islands?


    Recent research article on the dispersal of the sweet potato; from 2018:

    Sweet potatoes came to Polynesia before humans did, study suggests – April 13, 2018 – by Brooks Hays

    Reconciling Conflicting Phylogenies in the Origin of Sweet Potato and Dispersal to Polynesia (by Pablo Muñoz-Rodríguez, Tom Carruthers, John R.I. Wood etc.)

    Earlier research article on the dispersal of the sweet potato from 2013:

    Historical collections reveal patterns of diffusion of sweet potato in Oceania obscured by modern plant movements and recombination – February 5, 2013 – by Caroline Roullier, Laure Benoit, Doyle B. McKey and Vincent Lebot

    Map dispersal of the sweet potato:

    • I was taught in Mexico that the indigenous people of Baja California were Polynesians and that it was strongly suspected that the aboriginal people of Central and Southern Mexico were Polynesians. Like many Creeks, I carry some Polynesian DNA. Now archaeologists are discovering that the indigenous people from Los Angeles southward to the border with Mexico were Polynesians. YET . . . you have other academicians refusing to admit that the Polynesians made extensive contacts with the Pacific coasts of the Americas.


        Richard T., Thank you for your reply. Personally I also think Polynesians; and even Melanesians (mainly mixed and unmixed Papuans who spoke an Austronesian language); inhabited parts of California and Mexico. In fairly recent research articles it is also proven that certain tribes have traces of Australo-Melanesian and Polynesian DNA.
        Do you think ‘your’ Polynesian DNA reached southeastern north America via Mexico perhaps via the Zoque?

        I’m starting to wonder if some academicians truly believe it’s impossible for Polynesians to have reached and inhabited parts of mainland America or if they’re forced to keep quiet about the true history of the peopling of the Americas.

        • It sure seems that way. Have you read my most recent POOF article, where I describe the ordeal that a Creek family from Alabama experiences, when they wanted to visit Track Rock Gap?


            I haven’t read that particuler POOF article yet; have some catching up to do.

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