Contrary to erroneous assertions, no early Spanish accounts describe the Chachapoyas as “blond haired” or “blue eyed”. The oft-quoted Cieza de Leon merely records that they were the “whitest” in coloration he had seen. There is no indication of “racial” connotations in this description - another early Spanish source, Pedro Pizarro, describes all the Indians of Peru as “white”. Hair and eye color are not mentioned. Thus the supposedly “enduring mystery for scholars of the region as to their ultimate origin” is a modern slant based on a misunderstanding of the sources, and seems largely driven by a desire to find a trans-Atlantic origin for the Chachapoyas.
All that seems to be indicated by Cieza de Leon is that the Chachapoyas were among the lightest in skin color, of the Andean natives the Spanish contacted. Inge Schjellerup’s book Incas and Spaniards in the Conquest of the Chachapoyas (1997) refers to anthropological examinations of the physical remains of Chachapoyans. There is no reason from these to conclude that the Chachapoyas had any exotic origins different from other ancient Peruvians. For instance, the teeth show an almost complete absence of Carabelli’s cusp on the upper molars, while shovel-shaped upper incisors are universally present - in both of these the Chachapoyas resemble other Amerindians, and differ from “white” Europeans.