MEXICO In a particular year One Reed-1519 by the Gregorian calendar-a band of strangers beached their ships after an arduous voyage across the wide ocean. Their leader had fair skin, exuberantly long hair, and (most remarkably to the bare-chinned populace) a flowing black beard. Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, later known as Montezuma II, king of the mightiest empire on two continents, reverently opened the doors of his palace to the conquistador Hernando CortÚs. How blessed, he thought, to welcome Feathered Serpent home again at last.

ARIZONA The Hia-Ced O'odham carried sand, shells and cactus fruit from the Mexican seashore to trade in Yuma and California. Dozens of abandoned Hia-Ced villages, burial grounds and sacred sites have been identified within the range.

CYBERIA The city's oldest graveyards and tombstones are the focus of nearly 100 people from around the country who have gathered here to wash, scrub and study them. It's all part of the Association for Gravestone Studies' four-day regional conference being held at Reed College. The Park Service was "lily white." It needed someone who spoke Navajo. Cook, whose maternal heritage is Cherokee, spoke Navajo and spent the next eight years in parks around the Navajo Nation. Even after 20 years as an archaeologist, Rick Knecht still marvels at the prehistoric artifacts he finds in the Aleutians. People figured Rushmore was enough, why do we need Crazy Horse? Critics contend that Mount Rushmore is a product of years of national disinterest in American Indian issues. While it has long been known that a sizable number of African-Americans also have Native American ties, it is a history that has been hidden, misunderstood, and nearly impossible to track down. Because Indian tribes took in huge numbers of escaped African slaves, protecting some from bounty hunters, "almost every African-American family has an Indian branch in its family tree," wrote William L. Katz, the author of "Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage." In the heart of the Midwest in that year-A.D. 1000-the first city in what is now the United States was on the verge of becoming an Indian metropolis. Archaeologists know it as Cahokia. Cahokia's rise very likely began with a breakthrough, the introduction around A.D. 800 of a variety of corn suited as much for the Midwest as for Mexico, the land where corn began. About 200 mounds in the shapes of animals such as birds and bears rise from the Mississippi River bluffs near Marquette. They were the basis for founding Effigy Mounds National Monument in 1949. An American Indian spear point dating between 6000 B.C. and 7000 B.C. was unearthed last week along with several artifacts depicting the seizure of the fort during the French and Indian War.