"The Powell Doctrine - The Great Smithsonian Cover Up"
Some time the actions of one man can cause a significant change in the history of a nation. This change can result in either good or evil. John Wesley Powell (1834 – 1902) was just such a man. He became famous for being the first man to float the full length of the Grand Canyon. Although this may not be actually correct he did become famous.
John was a well educated man for his time, of that there is little doubt. He was quite successful as an explorer during the mid eighteen hundreds. His talents led him to be appointed as the first director of the Bureau of Ethnology in the United States in 1879. In this position he was responsible for the Smithsonian Institution. This agency was established by Congress to pursue the mission of organizing all the anthropological research in the nation.
It is in this position that John came to write the first Annual Reports of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, dated July 1880. It is in this report that John wrote the words that became what we call now “The Powell Doctrine”. Others call it, The Great Smithsonian Cover Up.
In short this doctrine states, you can not study or analysis native artifacts in any fashion that will relate them to other “Peoples” of the world. Below I will give you the actual copy of the text. But first why would the antiquities director tie the hands of the antiquities community in such a fashion just when so many of the ancient mound people artifacts were being discovered by farmers in their fields.
Just remember hear a few dates:
John Wesley Powell was born in 1834 in Palmyra Illinois. His father was a Methodist minister there. When he left there at about the age of three he moved to Mount Morris, New York where Joseph Smith lived and started the Mormon Church.
By 1880 John Wesley Powell had heard all he wanted to hear about the clay tablets being found in the burial mounds all over Michigan, Ohio and Illinois. The Mormons were suggesting these people might be the lost tribes of Israel.
In 1876, only 4 years earlier, the native people he knew well killed General Custer and all his men at “Custer’s last Stand”. He had analyzed humanity and had already classified man into three classes. Savage, Barbaric and Civilized. Hear we need to hear in his own words what he was telling his people. This is a direct quote from his July 1880 report.
The bold and underlining is mine for emphasis.
ARCHÆOLOGY – Page 73
“Investigations in this department are of great interest, and have attracted to the field a host of workers; but a general review of the mass of published matter exhibits the fact that the uses to which the material has been put have not always been wise.
In the monuments of antiquity found throughout North America, in camp and village sites, graves, mounds, ruins, and scattered works of art, the origin and development of art in savage and barbaric life may be satisfactorily studied. Incidentally, too, hints of customs may be discovered, but outside of this, the discoveries made have often been illegitimately used, especially for the purpose of connecting the tribes of North America with peoples or so-called races of antiquity in other portions of the world. A brief review of some conclusions that must be accepted in the present status of the science will exhibit the futility of these attempts.
It is now an established fact that man was widely scattered over the earth at least as early as the beginning of the quaternary period, and, perhaps, in Pliocene (sic) time.
If we accept the conclusion that there is but one species of man, as species are now defined by biologists, we may reasonably conclude that the species has been dispersed from some common center, as the ability to successfully carry on the battle of life in all climes belongs only to a highly developed being; but this original home has not yet been ascertained with certainty, and when discovered, lines of migration there from cannot be mapped until the changes in the physical geography of the earth from that early time to the present have been discovered, and these must be settled upon purely geologic and paleontologic (sic) evidence. The migrations of mankind from that original home cannot be intelligently discussed until that home has been discovered, and, further, until the geology of the globe is so thoroughly known that the different phases of its geography can be presented.
The dispersion of man must have been anterior to the development of any but the rudest arts. Since that time the surface of the earth has undergone many and important changes. All known camp and village sites, graves, mounds, and ruins belong to that portion ofgeologic time known as the present epoch, and are entirely subsequent to the period of the original dispersion as shown by geologic evidence.
In the study of these antiquities, there has been much unnecessary speculation in respect to the relation existing between the people to whose existence they attest, and the tribes of Indians inhabiting the country during the historic period.
It may be said that in the Pueblos discovered in the southwestern portion of the United States and farther south through Mexico and perhaps into Central America tribes are known having a culture quite as far advanced as any exhibited in the discovered ruins. In this respect, then, there is no need to search for an extra-limital origin through lost tribes for any art there exhibited.
With regard to the mounds so widely scattered between the two oceans, it may also be said that mound-building tribes were known in the early history of discovery of this continent, and that the vestiges of art discovered do not excel in any respect the arts of the Indian tribes known to history. There is, therefore, no reason for us to search for an extra-limital origin through lost tribes for the arts discovered in the mounds of North America.
The tracing of the origin of these arts to the ancestors of known tribes or stocks of tribes is more legitimate, but it has limitations which are widely disregarded. The tribes which had attained to the highest culture in the southern portion of North America are now well known to belong to several different stocks, and, if, for example, an attempt is made to connect the mound-builders with the Pueblo Indians, no result beyond confusion can be reached until the particular stock of these village peoples is designated.
Again, it is contained in the recorded history of the country that several distinct stocks of the present Indians were mound-builders and the wide extent and vast number of mounds discovered in the United States should lead us to suspect, at least, that the mound-builders of pre-historic times belonged to many and diverse stocks. With the limitations thus indicated the identification of mound-building peoples as distinct tribes or stocks is a legitimate study, but when we consider the further fact now established, that arts extend beyond the boundaries of linguistic stocks, the most fundamental divisions we are yet able to make of the peoples of the globe, we may more properly conclude that this field promises but a meager harvest; but the origin and development of arts and industries is in itself a vast and profoundly interesting theme of study, and when North American archeology is pursued with this end in view, the results will be instructive.
On Limitations to the Use of some Anthropologic Data – page 74
Picture - Writing
The pictographs of North America were made on diverse substances. The bark of trees, tablets of wood, the skins of animals, and the surfaces of rocks were all used for this purpose; but the great body of picture-writing as preserved to us is found on rock surfaces, as these are the most enduring.
From Dighton Rock to the cliffs that overhang the Pacific, these records are found—on boulders fashioned by the waves of the sea, scattered by river floods, or polished by glacial ice; on stones buried in graves and mounds; on faces of rock that appear in ledges by the streams; on canyon walls and towering cliffs; on mountain crags and the ceilings of caves—wherever smooth surfaces of rock are to be found in North America, there we may expect to find pictographs. So widely distributed and so vast in number, it is well to know what purposes they may serve in anthropologic science.
Many of these pictographs are simply pictures, rude etchings, or paintings, delineating natural objects, especially animals, and illustrate simply the beginning of pictorial art; others we know were intended to commemorate events or to represent other ideas entertained by their authors; but to a large extent these were simply mnemonic—not conveying ideas of themselves, but designed more thoroughly to retain in memory certain events or thoughts by persons who were already cognizant of the same through current hearsay or tradition. If once the memory of the thought to be preserved has passed from the minds of men, the record is powerless to restore its own subject-matter to the understanding.
The great body of picture-writings is thus described; yet to some slight extent pictographs are found with characters more or less conventional, and the number of such is quite large in Mexico and Central America. Yet even these conventional characters are used with others less conventional in such a manner that perfect records were never made.
Hence it will be seen that it is illegitimate to use any pictographic matter of a date anterior to the discovery of the continent by Columbus for historic purposes; but it has a legitimate use of profound interest, as these pictographs exhibit the beginning of written language and the beginning of pictorial art, yet undifferentiated; and if the scholars of America will collect and study the vast body of this material scattered everywhere—over the valleys and on the mountain sides—from it can be written one of the most interesting chapters in the early history of mankind.
As can readily be seen hear, John Wesley Powell clearly states none of the 15,000 clay artifacts, most of which have already been uncovered, can be used to interpret “History”. What should be done with all of these artifacts? Simply claim that all are forgeries. If no official can even study them it is the simplest to call them forgeries and put them in a drawer in some back room.
Hundreds of these artifacts are still available. Many people just did not believe they were fakes so they kept them. For many years the Mormon Church held the “Sopper Collection” I understand they are again in the hands of Michigan Universities.
Below are a few pictures of these so called “Michigan Fakes”. For the record I believe most of them are real artifact from around 700Bc to 400AD. But that is just one of the problems of the Powell Doctrine.
The next issue is the one that I take personal
"The Newberry Tablet Cover Up"
Remember our man John Wesley Powell is still the Secretary at the Smithsonian in 1896.
In 1896 the Newspaper in Newberry Michigan is trying to discover what the local boys have found under that blown down tree, 4 miles north of town.
He sends two very good photos, about 6’’x9” to the Smithsonian Institute. He also put’s his name on them, Charles Brebner, and states they were taken near Newberry Michigan.
I went to the Smithsonian to see them. A friend of mine had already rediscovered them. When the curator brought the file with the photos in and handed them to me, the folder was labeled “Michigan fakes”. I was able to study the original photos. I then purchased the right to use them in my book. They are on pages 42 and 43 in the third edition. This was probable in 1998 or 1999, or maybe a little sooner.
But now back to1896, Mr. Powell after10 years of trying to suppress the truth about what was being found in the Michigan Mounds, he certainly did not want to classify this find as anything substantial. The answer was simple, he just said they had no idea what the photos represented and thru them in the file.
In all fairness we are not sure if this was Mr. Powell’s Doctrine or if it came from higher up, but we do know the people from the Smithsonian surely knew by then this was a Syllabary. Today they also know it could not be a fake. I think it is time they come clean and answer the letter to the Newberry Newspaper. It could go like this.
It has been brought to our attention that we have not answered Mr. Brebner’s letter of 1896. At the time it was the policy of this organization not to speculate on maters such as the languages we were finding in Michigan. I now believe we can say the photos in question seem to be written in some form of Syllabary. Syllabaries were used by numerous cultural groups before the advent of the Greek and Roman alphabets.
These dates are around 2000 BC in Ancient Ugarit in what is currently Syria. They were used much later in North America. Several of the Algonquian speakers have used them. Arthur Evans actually helped translate the Bible in the currently used Cree Syllabary. The Cherokee Indians also wrote their language in a syllabary.
The policy called “The Powell Doctrine” has been rescinded. We are currently trying to create an accurate history of the native peoples. The current use of carbon dating and genetic testing has opened up a doorway to the ancient history of North America. We are saddened that so much confusion has been created by this policy which was designed to cover up an inconvenient truth so many years ago.
/s/ Director of the Smithsonian Institution
There is another site that does a much better job of outlining the depth of the problem created than I can. “The Mathisen Corollary” (??.com)
Here is an excerpt:
“In this astonishing denial of the existence of writing systems, Powell explicitly includes even the obvious writing-systems of the Maya and the Inca and other cultures of Central and South America, whose artifacts were by no means unknown to him and to the other employees of the Bureau of Ethnology (in fact, the 1879 report contains long sections dealing with "Central American Picture Writing," and many of the other annual reports discuss the artifacts and culture of the Maya and Inca and other civilizations in detail). Nevertheless, Powell asserts in his letter that:
“To some slight extent pictographs are found with characters more or less conventional, and the number of such is quite large in Mexico and Central America. Yet even these conventional characters are used with others less conventional in such a manner that perfect records were never made.”
Such a statement is extremely paternalistic, and effectively denies the existence of any true systematic writing systems, even among the cultures of Mexico and Central America! Based upon this false assertion, Powell then declares: "Hence it will be seen that it is illegitimate to use any pictographic matter of a date anterior to the discovery of the continent by Columbus for historic purposes." By this declaration, Powell effectively discarded any and all artifacts containing writing from consideration of historic analysis, and in doing so protected his earlier declaration that any contact with peoples from "other portions of the world" is plainly "illegitimate."
Thus, none of the numerous inscriptions and artifacts which clearly attest to the possibility of ancient contact -- many of which have been discussed in previous posts on this blog and many more of which have been detailed in numerous published books -- could be considered as evidence which might challenge the isolationist dogma. Some of those artifacts containing evidence of writing which strongly supports the possibility of ancient contact are discussed in the following previous posts:
There is also a book by Richard Dewhurst that deals with the subject.
Richard Dewhurst also believes that the distasteful US policy of "Manifest Destiny" and the efforts of the federal government following the Civil War to seize the territory to the west of the Mississippi and to suppress the Native Americans who lived there played a role in the Smithsonian's (and Powell's) desire to characterize the native peoples of the continent as primitive barbarians, incapable of producing anything more than "the most rudimentary picture making," (Dewhurst, 6).
This site has a very extensive summary of “The Powell Doctrine” and “The Smithsonian Cover Up”. It would be worth your time to check it out.