AAF 201: Introduction to Africana Studies
Assignment 1: Critical Essay:
History, Culture, and Evolution of an Ancient Africans in the Americas
October 21, 2015 (Revised)
Background: The earliest people in the Americas were people of the Negritic African race, some of whom entered
the Americas by way of the Bering Strait. However, researchers believe that about 30,000 years ago a worldwide
maritime exploration migrated from the Sahara towards the Indian and Pacific Oceans and from West Africa
across the Atlantic Ocean towards the Americas. But, according to the Gladwin Thesis, “this ancient journey
actually begin about 75,000 years ago and included the Black Pygmies, Black Negritic peoples, and Black
Australoids similar to the Aboriginal Black people of Australia and parts of Asia and India” (Barton, 2001). But,
what happened to these ancient peoples? This assignment will allow you to explore the history, culture, and
evolution of an Ancient African Civilization in the Americas before Columbus and the dawn of European Exploration
of the continent. To complete this assignment, please follow the instructions below:
A. Select one of the ancient American civilization of African descent, from the list below, either individually or
as a group. Note: Not more than 3 to a group.
Ancient American Civilization Individual/Group Selection
1. Washitaw-Muurs: Sara
2. Black Californians of the Mojave Nation: Beatrice, Reggie, Kim
3. Queen Calafia: The Black Amazon Queen: Caroline, Ogochukwu, Kayla
4. Olmecs (Xi) of Mexico: Catherine, Michael, Kiara
5. Afro-Darienite Indians of Panama: Alex
6. Chuarras of Brazil: Mallory, Daniel
7. Gwale of Georgia: Allison, Kyra, Sheba
8. Guanini of the Guyanas; Ahkym
9. Caracoles of the Guyanas/Venezuela: Miguel
10. Jamassee (Yamassee) of Georgia: Oluwaseun, Shannon
11. Choco of Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru: Luckson
12. Garifunas (Tainos, Arawak, Caribs): Kadisha (Tiano)
13. Mississippians (Cahokia, Cherokee, Chickasaw): Deanessa (Cherokee)
14. Polynesians (Hawaiians, Samoans, Māori): Shawn (Samoans); Taylor (Maori); Hannah (Hawaiians)
B. Write a 4-page critical essay that briefly introduces the intent of your essay, and then explores your
Ancient African American civilization, with respect to their:
a. History: Origins of this ancient African American civilization, including an account of the rise and
fall of this civilization, as well as of other challenges that may have affected their growth and
b. Culture: Socially transmitted ways of life (Note: Select ONE cultural tradition: belief, customs,
language, knowledge, experience, values, attitudes, etc.) that characterized this ancient African
c. Cross-Cultural Simulation: Extent to which a particular cultural tradition (Note: Select ONE cultural
tradition: belief, customs, language, knowledge, experience, values, attitudes, etc.) that characterized
your selected ancient civilization is similar to a CURRENT African American cultural tradition.
d. Evolution: Discuss what happened to your selected ancient African American civilization after the
arrival of the Europeans (i.e., diversification, colonization, assimilation, extinction, etc.).
C. Your research on the history, evolution, culture, and cross-cultural simulations of this ancient African
American civilization should be documented in TWO leading academic scientific journal (i.e., National
Geographic, American Archaeology, Archaeology, etc.). Note: If you are in a group of 2/3 and are exploring
the same ancient African civilization, please divide the research responsibilities (i.e., history, evolution,
D. Connect some aspect of the research found in the TWO scientific journal to evidence on ancient African
American civilization revealed in the following books: 1) Introduction to African Civilizations, by Jackson; 2)
Africana Studies, by Azevedo; and 3) They came before Columbus, by Sertima (See PDF File in Sakai
E. Summarize your research findings in a brief statement.
F. Visit available Web sites that may assist in your research, including:
“The Original Black People of Prehistoric America.” (Located at:
“The Original Black People of North America.” (Located at:
“The Original Black Civilization of Mexico: The Olmec.” (Located at:
“5 Million African Native Americans present when Columbus Arrived.” (Found at:
“The Original Civilizations of South America.” (Located at:
“The Original Black Civilizations of China: The Xia & Shang.” (Located at:
“The Original Black People of Hawaii.” (Located at:
“QUEEN CALAFIA THE BLACK AMAZON QUEEN AFTER WHOM CALIFORNIA IS NAMED: BLACK
CALIFORNIAN.” (Located at: http://www.africanamerica.org/topic/queen-calafia-the-black-amazon-queenafter-whom-california-is-named-black-californian).
G. Cite the various sources used to develop your essay. Be sure to use an appropriate format (i.e., APA, MLA,
etc.) for in-text citations, quotes, & reference page.
H. Come to class on November 2, 2015 ready to discuss key aspects of your essay. Bring not more than TWO
power point slides to illustrate key points (i.e., pictures, facts, statistics, etc.) from your research. Post
your essay in the Sakai Drop Box by 10:00pm on November 2, 2015.
Ask Questions: If you have any questions about this assignment, please send me an email.
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