Tag Archives: migration

Nature science journal confirms indigenous Oaxacans descend from Asia

The roads to the Americas: ancient Native american migration patterns

nature: the international weekly journal of science, in its August 16, 2012 issue, published new findings that the Americas was populated in at least three distinct waves from Siberia across the Bering Straits beginning 15,000 years ago.  Genetic testing has confirmed this.

According to the article: 

The settlement of the Americas occurred at least 15,000 years ago by means of the Beringia land bridge that existed between Asia and America during the ice ages. Key questions about how many migrations were involved and subsequent dispersal patterns within the Americas remain unresolved. This new survey of genetic variation in Native American and Siberian populations shows that Native Americans descend from at least three waves of migration from Asia. After the initial peopling of the continent there was a southward expansion along the coast, with sequential population splits and little gene flow after divergence, particularly in South America.

Norma’s note: Indigenous peoples of Oaxaca, like the Zapotecs, Mixes and Mixtecs, are also Native Americans.  It’s fascinating to look at ancient stone carvings and paintings at Mexico’s archeological sites and see the resemblance to Asian origins.  The indigenous peoples of Oaxaca were physically isolated and have been able to maintain their native languages and traditions over the centuries, although that is changing in recent years as more people migrate away from their communities in search of jobs and more economic security.  For more about the peopling of the Americas, you can order a full nature article.  Recommended reading: 1491 by Charles Mann.

And, there are 2 spaces left in our 2012 Oaxaca Day of the Dead Photo Expedition.  We will visit the Zapotec archeological site of Monte Alban where you can see the stone carvings for yourself!

Working From Home Has New Meaning: From Oaxaca to North Carolina and Back Again

This blog post is about work, working from home, retirement, immigration reform, and travel on the secluded Oaxaca coast.  A hodgepodge.

You haven’t heard from me much in the past few weeks and I admit I have been remiss in writing and blog posting.  I left Oaxaca at the end of April for the luxury of a 10-day sojourn with my family (son and family, brother and family, sister) in California, then continued on to North Carolina for a long-overdue reunion with my husband Stephen.  I have settled into working from home in NC until I return to Oaxaca on June 21 for our summer Market Towns and Artisan Villages photography workshop that starts June 28.  Working from home has taken on new meaning for me.  Some days I even take this to a higher level: “working from bed.”


At this moment, I am looking out at a lush green perennial garden filled with hot pink echinacea, equally hot phlox, silvery coriander with yellow flowers, yucca stalks sprinkled with white blooms, and hydrangea blossoms bigger than my fist.  The pollen is about killing me!  But, I delight in the contrast between this landscape and my beloved Oaxaca where magnificent mountain ranges ring the expansive high desert plateau punctuated with herds of grazing sheep, maize and agave fields.  Oaxaca is always on my mind and in my heart.  I feel fortunate to be able to go back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico and love living in both places.  My round-trip plane tickets originate and end in Mexico!

Now, for the serious stuff!

Thank you, Damien Cave, The New York Times Mexico City foreign correspondent, for writing about another Mexico — Mexico: Without the Crowds, or Attitude (June 2, 2012) and the tranquil fishing villages of Oaxaca’s Costa Chica — Mazunte, Zipolite and San Agustinillo.  This is where you can still sleep in a hammock or a 3-star hotel and hear the ocean roar, dip your toes into rock protected coves, and visit the sea turtle preservation sanctuary.  This is the real part of Oaxaca, far from the over-developed Huatulco (in the style of Cancun), where you can be lazy, eat and sleep well.


Also, in The New York Times on June 1, 2012, Jorge Casteñeda and Douglas Massey published Do-It-Yourself Immigration.  They discuss immigration reform, the controversy around undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and the natural decline in migration from Mexico to the United States. Jorge G. Castañeda, the foreign minister of Mexico from 2000 to 2003, is a professor of politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University. Douglas S. Massey is a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton.

Working from home now constitutes organizing workshops for the coming year, confirming registrations, making lodging and restaurant reservations, and setting itinerary plans for moving participants from one location to another.  It also means having the time to do market research and planning. So, while you haven’t heard from me, please know that I’ve been busy working!

And, as always, I’d love to hear from you.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I haven’t talked much about what it’s been like after taking retirement from UNC Chapel Hill last December.  I don’t know if that would be interesting to you.  I did worry about whether I would be able to continue to be creative without the structure of a traditional work day and if I could sustain myself financially–all those things that we worry about when making life transitions.  But, it’s working out. For anyone out there who is afraid of taking the plunge, I will give you encouragement.

Sending all my best,  Norma