September 27, 2008

Ellis Island to include Indians

Ellis Island to tell stories of slaves, American IndiansFor the first time, the stories of the arrival of American Indians and African slaves to U.S. shores will be included in the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation announced Wednesday that it was creating The Peopling of America Center within the museum to tell the history of those who arrived before and after the peak immigration years between 1892 and 1954.

The story of the migration to America "goes back to the beginning of the country and comes up to the present. So there were a good number of people whose stories weren't told at Ellis Island," said Stephen Briganti, the foundation's president and chief executive.

The center, he said, will "cover the entire gamut of the populating of America."

Exhibits will focus on the arrival of Native Americans, who are believed to have migrated to North America more than 10,000 years ago across the Bering Sea from Asia; Europeans who landed on the Eastern seaboard from the 1600s through 1892; Africans brought here forcibly by slave traders; and today's immigrants from all over the globe.
Comment:  Nice of Ellis Island to finally include the people who came to America before 1892. But many Indians say they've always been here, and others believe they may have come over on boats. Will Ellis Island address these alternatives or just present the standard theory?

For more on the subject, see Rediscovering America:  The New World may be 20,000 years older than experts thought.

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