Land Bridge Theory Essay

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The Land Bridge Theory and the Problems of Mythic Symbolism In the Native American, religious community there is skepticism regarding the Land Bridge Theory , which hypothesizes that the native populace migrated into America via a land bridge in the Beringia region. Some of the skepticism, and rejection of the Land Bridge Theory, is a result of a strong claim that science has created a largely fictional scenario for Native Americans in prehistoric America. The Native Americans who reject the Land Bridge Theory have an alternative view of history as seen through the myths of their people. There are several Native American religious traditions whose myths of creation hold that they were born out of the earth in their traditional homeland.…show more content…
Tillich explains that the broken myth is “[a] myth which is understood as a myth, but not removed or replaced” (Tillich 388). Using this definition of a broken myth that Tillich provides, the argument is that the Native American understanding of being born out of the earth in their traditional homeland may be tacitly accepted as a myth however, it has not been substituted or eradicated from awareness. This is because broken myths are the symbolic “language of faith”, and science cannot substitute for faith (Tillich 388). As Tillich explains, when the myth is broken, so too is the feeling of certainty and security that comes with the belief in the myth. Introducing a scientific aspect that refutes the myth creates uncertainty and insecurity for the believer (Tillich 389). For some Native Americans the myth of being born out of the earth is broken, however, this recognition does not preclude the symbolic representation of the myth as pointing beyond itself to something more…show more content…
First, as a religious traditional myth, the Native American belief that they are born out of the earth in their homeland, has not been broken by “fact” in the form of scientific hypothesis. This is because there continues to be much disagreement in the scientific community about the exact period, difference in DNA, and the exact route taken for migration. Although much of this disagreement is really just “fine tuning” of the Land Bridge Theory, the zealous Native American can interpret this disagreement as a refutation thus, fulfilling Tillich’s explanation as a justifiable literal

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