The original Hebrews who fled the wrath of Pharoah in Egypt were divided into 12 tribes that eventually conquered the Holy Land. 2 other tribes, Judah and Benjamin, formed the Kingdom of Judah. Israel was conquered by the Assyrians [Babylonians] and as per the popular scholarly consensus they were assimilated and absorbed into other cultures and vanished from the Historical record. Alternative Historians over the Centuries have postualted that someday the 'lost tribes' would be found.
The Nestorians, a religious sect that rivaled Roman Catholicism at one time claimed to be descendants of the lost tribes. There are theories that the lost tribes relocated to Afghanistan and the Afghan people not of Arab stock are their descendants. Another theory comes from the Ethiopian Falashas. The Falasha people call themselves Beta Israel and are descended from the Queen of Sheba, a wife of King Solomon, some claim they are 'the lost tribes'. Even the furthest reaches of Eurasia, Japan, lays claim to harboring descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel. A 17th century theory postulated that the Japanese were descended from the 10 lost tribes.
And last but certainly not least there are theorists who believe that a goodly portion of the Native American populations are from the lineage of the Lost Tribes of Israel. There is some pretty astounding data collected over the years that draws cultural links between Native American groups and Mediterranean cultures. The bulk of the Native American population is most certainly descended from primitive Asians who migrated across the Siberian and Bering Strait land passages that once existed. There are also a number of other interminglings of genes from assorted races that arrived from alternate routes long before Columbus. See; First Americans, Africans, Romans, Celts , Egyptians , Chinese.
Genetic Similarities Of Hebrews and Cherokees
Aside from some cultural and linguistic similarities that defy explanation, Modern Science has provided more clues that may shed some light on the true lineage of Native Americans.
Native Americans are genetically grouped into five haplotypes, A,B,C,D, and X. A paper published by Donald Yates, Anomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee points out that haplotype X is an anomaly found in Native Americans but Not in Siberain or Mongolian groups whom are conventionally believed to be their ancestors.
In 2008 an extensive DNA testing of the Cherokees living on the Qualla Reservation in North Carolina was conducted. The North Carolina Cherokees were chosen because Oklahoma Cherokees, whom arrived there after being forcefully evicted ['trail of tears'] 180 years ago are so mixed with other ethnic groups rendering any DNA test marker meaningless.
Their findings were astonishing. Cherokee genes, the purest unadulterated Cherokee DNA available in Modern Times are Middle Eastern / North African. A second test study group was selected with the same results. So basically if a geneticist were to blindly test Cherokee DNA, not knowing it was from a Cherokee, he would probably state that it was from a person whose ancestry was Middle Eastern / North African.
The 10 Lost Tribes have been found, perhaps ?
Cultural Similarities Cherokees and Hebrew Legend
The Cherokee had / have a festival very similar to sukkot which was most preserved by one sub group known as the Yuchi. The Yuchi tribe which is closely related to the Cherokee observed a festival nearly identical to Sukkot. This festival takes place during the full moon of their holy harvest month. Going a little further North of the traditional Cherokee range is the Nanticoke Indians whom also had a festival that is comparable to Sukkot.
The Northern Cherokee Nation of Old Louisiana Territory, who self identify as Cherokee but are not recognized as such by the Federal Government or other groups formally recognized as Cherokee claim to be descendants of Jewish refugees from Masada.
Beverly Baker Northup, a leader of the Northern Cherokee Nation of the Old Louisiana published a book in 2001 entitled 'We are not yet Conquered' which contained an explanation of the Cherokee origins. Northup believes that a group of Mediterranean people crossed the Atlantic Ocean and interbred with Native Americans and created the Cherokee Nation. Northup's assertions may in part be influenced by Mormonism.
She speculates / claims that their ancient oral tradition tells of a Cherokee trans Atlantic migration from the area in Israel known as Masada. The people whom escaped are known as the Sicarri, which later evolved into the word Cherokee.
Artifacts Linking Hebrews to Ancient America
In Tennessee, which was part of the original Cherokee range of influence, the Bat Creek Stone was discovered in an Indian burial mound in 1889. The inscriptions were initially described as Cherokee. In 1970 researcher Cyrus H. Gordon theorized that the letters are Paleo Hebrew of the 1st or 2nd century AD rather than Cherokee. Anthropologist, J. Huston McCulloch compared the inscription to both Paleo-Hebrew and Cherokee and concluded that they were a better match to Paleo-Hebrew than Cherokee. [1988 article in Tennessee Anthropologist]
Newark Holy Stones are a set of artifacts produced or discovered in 1860 in a cluster of ancient Indian burial mounds near Newark, Ohio. It consists of a stone bowl, a 'Keystone', and the Decalogue. Unlike other ancient Indian artifacts from the area they are inscribed with Hebrew writing.
Many other artifacts exist, some within the range of the Cherokee. Some are proven fakes, some have not.