American Indians and Ancient Hebrews

In the 1770’s, an unsuspecting man named James Adair stumbled across some powerful information in his curiosity for truth. After living with the American Indians for years, he was convinced that they descended from the Hebrews because of multiple cultural similarities. Only 2 are mentioned here. Any connection? It’s up to you.

#1 Tzitzits

beltlooptziModern Jews wear small blue cords on their religious clothing, which symbolize God’s law. They do this in obedience to the commandment: “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of Yehovah, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God.” (Numbers 15:37-40 NASB). The ancient Hebrews seems to have worn much bigger cords on their clothing, as illustrated by the ancient obelisk below. It shows King Shalamaneser III (left) and King Jehu (right) with other Hebrews:



#2 Yehovah

Another similarity is that both the ancient Hebrews and the American Indians used God’s name in singing and dancing, and in daily life (Deuteronomy 6:13, Deuteronomy 10:20, Psalm 68:4).

In James Adair’s History of the American Indians, it is written:

“Contrary to the usage of all the ancient heathen world, the American Indians not only name God by several strong compounded appellatives, expressive of many of His divine attributes, but likewise say YAH at the beginning of their religious dances, with a bowing posture of body; then they sing Yo Yo, HE HE [Hebrew letters for God’s name], and repeat those sacred notes, on every religious occasion, the religious attendants calling to YAH to enable them humbly to supplicate, seems to point to the Hebrew custom of pronouncing Yah, which likewise signifies the divine essence” (p. 47).

“While dancing they never fail to repeat those notes; and frequently the holy train strike up ‘Halelu, Halelu’ then ‘Haleluia, Halelu-Yah’ and ALELUIAH and ALELU-YAH (irradiation to the divine essence) with great earnestness and fervor, till they encircle the altar, while each strikes the ground with right and left feet alternately, very quick, but well-timed” (p. 97).

“It may be objected, that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans worshiped their gods at the dawn of day; and the Persian Magi, with all the other worshipers of fire, paid their religious devoirs to the rising sun. But, as the Indians are plainly not idolaters, or poly-theists, they sing to and invoke YAH and YO HE WAH, the divine essence, as they run along at the dawn of day to purify themselves by ablution [washing]. It seems sufficiently clear, they are not descended from either of the last mentioned states, but that their origin is from the Israelites. This law of purity, bathing in water, was essential to the Jews, and the Indians to this day would exclude the men from religious communion who neglected to observe” (p. 121).

They called God by spelling out His name in Hebrew: Y (yod) H (he) W (waw):
“They always bow in their religious dances, because then they sing what they call divine hymns, chiefly composed of the great, beloved, divine name, and addressed to Yo He Wah” (p. 48).

“Because Man received his breath from the divine inspiration of the benevolent creator YAH, they term the human species ‘Yahwe’ which, though different from the divine essential four-lettered Name in sound, has YAH for its [root]” (pp. 54-55).


“They call the earth Yah-kane, because Yah formed it as His footstool by the power of His word” (p. 66).


“From these different writers, it is plain that where the Indians have not been corrupted by foreigners, their customs and religious worship are nearly alike; and also that every different tribe or nation of Indians uses such-like divine proper name, and awful [fearful] sounds, as Yah-Wah and Hetovah, being trans-positions of the divine essential name [Yo He Wah], as our northern Indians often repeat in their religious dances. As the sound of Yah-Wah jarred in Laudon’s ear, he called it ‘Java’, in resemblance to the Syriac and Greek method of expressing the tetra-grammaton, from which Galatinus imposed it upon us, calling it Jehowah, instead of Yohewah” (p. 208).

Reference: History of the American Indians – James Adair

#3 Comparative culture

James Adair continues in his journal to record similarities between the American Indians and the ancient Hebrews, from an absence of idolatry, to the standard camping formations. Read more from his journal here.


It is crucial for us to learn from the histories of the American Indians and ancient Israel. The American Indians were driven off of the best land and chased into the wilderness; they were on the brink of total annihilation and indeed, some of the tribes ceased to exist. They are not unlike ancient and modern Israel. The people of  Israel were driven from the Promised Land, hunted down, exiled, and executed. Judgement came to ancient Israel because of their rebellion against Yehovah’s law and justice; and when Yehovah’s judgement was finished, humankind picked up and continued horrific atrocities against Yehovah’s chosen race. This shall not happen again unless we find ourselves on the wrong end of the battlefield against Yehovah Himself. But all the non-Israeli people who wish to join in Yehovah’s coming kingdom will have opportunity. This is what Yehovah says will soon take place:

Isaiah 12
1 Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O Yehovah; for although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
2 “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for Yah Yehovah is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.”
3 Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation.
4 And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to Yehovah, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.”
5 Praise Yehovah in song, for He has done excellent things; let this be known throughout the earth.
6 Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Zephaniah 3
11 “In that day you will feel no shame Because of all your deeds by which you have rebelled against Me; For then I will remove from your midst your proud, exulting ones, and you will never again be haughty on My holy mountain.
12 “But I will leave among you a humble and lowly people, and they will take refuge in the name of Yehovah.
13 “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong and tell no lies, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths; for they will feed and lie down with no one to make them tremble.”

Isaiah 56
6 “Also the foreigners who join themselves to Yehovah, to minister to Him, and to love the name of Yehovah, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant;
7 even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
8 The Lord Yehovah, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

About Jonathan Lankford

Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Jonathan has provided education and training services to organizations and individuals in Vietnam since 2007.
This entry was posted in Bible & culture, History and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to American Indians and Ancient Hebrews

  1. Donovan says:

    Thank you for a great article! I know for a fact that Native Americans are Israelite descendants, just by reading the Written Word of God. It states plainly the migration of the Hebrews in Genesis 10:25 through 30. Joktan and his clan went to the farthest east and populated China. Peleg settled in the mid east and became the Israelite people. It is painfully obvious that the brothers Joktan and Peleg are Oriental! Joktan is the Chinese and Peleg is the Mongolian lineages of Heber, the first Hebrews! The Mongolian Israelites were eventually exiled out of the Holy Land because of idolatry and scattered to the four corners of the earth! That explains why Mongolian type people are found in all regions of the earth! God Bless You!


  2. Mark says:

    interesting ….


  3. Prast says:

    There are also a spark the same as you mention above in my country Indonesia.
    This is comparation table for the name of the day in Indonesia :

    English Indonesian Hebrew

    Monday Hari Senin yom sheniy
    Tuesday Hari Selasa yom sh’liyshiy
    Wednesday Hari Rabu yom r’viyiy
    Thursday Hari Kamis yom chamiyshiy
    Friday Hari Jumat yom shishiy
    Saturday Hari Sabtu yom shabat
    Sunday Hari Minggu yom rishon

    I have already search using google translate to find if there are any similarity with the other country around Indonesia based on this. Apparently just Malayan has the similar days name with the Hebrew. A little bleep to observe connection within them.


    • Comparison of the days of the week is possible as many countries use numbers for the days of the week, and they use the same numbers. Saturday is the 7th day. In many languages, the 7th day is a form or derivative of Sabbath. When the week days are names instead of numbers, there is usually not a plausible comparison.


    • Comparison of the days of the week is possible as many countries use numbers for the days of the week, and they use the same numbers. Saturday is the 7th day. In many languages, the 7th day is a form or derivative of Sabbath. When the week days are names instead of numbers, there is usually not a plausible comparison.


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