9,000 years ago a man died in present-day Washington state. He is a special case unlike other 9,000 year old American dead. The Kennewick Man was not a "paleo-Indian" but a Caucasoid. He does not have any direct link to a present ethnic group but the closet one is the Ainu, the first permanent and surviving settlers of Japan. He was not alone. Up until 8,000 years ago there were other Caucasoids who walked in North America (its been awhile since North American Archaeology class so I cannot remember the names but we found others). The remains of these have been found in the western United States including the states Nevada and Washington. This suggests they hugged the coast either from Alaska down then headed into the continent or they came from over the Pacific.
Then they disappeared. But as one passes 8,000 years ago and approaches the present only the paleo-Indian line is found.
The Kennewick Man has created controversy. Fearful of scientific research some tribes tried to have him buried and not examined. Scientists sued and won the right to examine the Kennewick Man pointing out that he was not related to the present day tribes at all. However, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and senate Democrats have and are trying to change this.
The Caucasoids of paleo-America came and went. But they are not forgotten.
For more information be sure to read the Time Magazine article: Who Were The First Americans?
For the remainder of the unofficial ancient explorers/settlers of America
Thursday: The waves of Paleo-Indians
Friday: The end of an era and beginning of a new with GTWC! discussing Columbus on the true Columbus Day