Some people in Central China's Hunan Province may be the ancestors of American Indians, according to the dean of Hunan University Law School.
Du Gangjian said that Shaohao culture, named after the son of Huangdi, a legendary ancestor for Chinese people, is one source of American-Indian culture.
The discovery was made during his trip to study Indian tribes in the US, the dean said at a recent cultural seminar, Hunan-based news portal rednet.cn reported Tuesday.
According to Du, American Indians have many rituals, habits and working tools that are very similar to the ones that exist among Hunan people.
The finding also coincides with historical accounts in the traditional book Shanhaijing, which said that descendants of Shaohao travelled across the ocean before settling in America.
"The history textbooks in the world should be rewritten," he said.
According to most of the history textbooks, Columbus was the first person to discover the American continent.
But Du pointed out that before Columbus, famous ancient Chinese navigator Zheng He and the fleet he led had already been there and traveled around the globe.
The claim is also backed by Gavin Menzies, a British writer who wrote the book 1421: The Year China Discovered America also provides abundant archaeological facts and details to show Chinese were the first to settle in America.