Most Native Americans descended from an ancient peoples known as the Lamanites. A long time ago, the Indians who inhabited the Americas were both white and brown. Just like with Europeans, their was a great variance among their skin color. So I guess you could say there were white Indians as well as the more brown-colored ones we now see.
There was a family of Jews who travelled the Atlantic Ocean long ago and settled in the Americas. They were all white. 2 of them were named Nephi and Laman. The whiter Indians descended from Nephi and were called Nephites. The ones who were more angry with God descended from Laman and are called Lamanites.
The Book of Mormon said a skin of blackness came upon the Lamanites. This is the brown skin we see on Native Americans today.
But the truth is that many Lamanites still had white on their bodies. Much like many mestizos from Latin America, they are a combination of the brown and white skin colors. In fact, many Lamanites had parts of their body white as a Caucasian and parts of their body brown like an Indian (just like mestizos of today).
I have mostly white skin. But the part of my arms that are exposed to the sun, as well as my face, are brown. This is why I know I am a Lamanite. I descended from the Aztec Indians who who branched off from the original Lamanites.
So what happened to all these white Indians called Nephites? The Lamanites killed them all.
But not all Lamanites are wicked. In the Book of Helaman, there is a Lamanite prophet of God named Samuel. He prophesied concerning natural events that were to happen at the time of Jesus’ birth and death. He came about at a time when the Lamanites were more godly than the Nephites. Samuel the Lamanite prophesied that the Nephites would eventually die off because of their wickedness.
There may have been other prophecies concerning the greatness of the Lamanites in their war victories over the Nephites and the greatness of all the races that descended from the Lamanites. Just like the Lamanites during the time of Samuel the Prophet, brown-skinned people today can find God’s favor.
- False Prophecies of Mormonism Loathsome Lamanites (lifeafterministry.com)