I think it’s important to begin by stating up front what I just discovered: that Clifford Mahooty is not exactly what the show portrays him to be. While he is in fact a former Zuni official, he is today best known as an ancient astronaut theorist and has appeared on Ancient Aliens to discuss “star beings,” Pueblo gods he considers space aliens who genetically engineered the Zuni. Needless to say, traditional Native American beliefs do not include the idea that humans were genetically engineered by magic space beings from another dimension.
So let me repeat: The very first Native American America Unearthed ever chose to speak with is an ancient astronaut theorist who believes that the government is covering up the truth about ancient aliens who have a secret base in the hollow earth and frequently abducted the Zuni to take them to other planets.
Worse, even after using the testimony of a man who is punch drunk on fringe science claims (he admits to being a big fan of fringe science books, especially UFO books), they still failed to get him to say what they claim he said. I noticed at the time that the interview had been heavily edited, and I guess we now know why.
In the episode, Mahooty tells Wolter that the Grand Canyon is sacred to the Pueblo peoples as their place of origin, “where our forefathers and ancient ones came out of.” Wolter asks if the Zuni creation myth talks about mysterious caves, particularly the one with Egyptian artifacts. Mahooty responds:
In our spiritual teachings, there are actually rooms inside the Grand Canyon and there’s several passageways, so that parallels with some of the history about the early 1900s and also about some of the treasures that a lot of Indian tribes talks (sic) about.
I’ve heard a lot of different stories from different tribes that talk about these treasures that are supposedly in there. But then I heard about a pyramid that’s supposedly inside the Grand Canyon.
Wolter, however, does not pick up on the secondhand nature of this testimony and paraphrases Mahooty as confirming that “oral stories” confirm the existence of a “city” and “pyramids” in the Grand Canyon. Mahooty does not correct him but instead expresses his own belief in Childress’s myth-making:
I absolutely believe in that because there’s been a lot of different crossing of different cultures in this part of the world. It’s my understanding that there’s a lot of Egyptian-type relics and artifacts that were taken from inside the Grand Canyon.
Mahooty finishes by telling Wolter that he believes many treasures and artifacts of past civilizations remain in the canyon—undoubtedly true since excavations of ancestral Pueblo sites continue to this day.
Note, though, how Wolter purposely twists Mahooty’s words, first to support the idea that Native American oral histories confirm the 1909 article—which Mahooty never said—and then to make a bizarre claim Mahooty never implied on camera:
At the Grand Canyon I heard from a descendant of some of Arizona’s earliest inhabitants about encounters with ancient travelers from the East. It’s a story echoed by the earliest European explorers, who found clues to an Egyptian voyage that I think the government may be covering up.
The original visitors were the actual beings that came from different parts of the universe. The way that they used to come here was that, and I’ve stated this many times, it’s like that “Star Trek.” Remember when they, that beam me up Scotty type thing?
This is yet another example of America Unearthed purposely leaving out important information to misrepresent speakers’ views and manipulate the narrative.