Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Do You Prove You’re an Indian?

AMERICA’S first blood quantum law was passed in Virginia in 1705 in order to determine who had a high enough degree of Indian blood to be classified an Indian — and whose rights could be restricted as a result. You’d think, after all these years, we’d finally manage to kick the concept. But recently, casino-rich Indian tribes in California have been using it themselves to cast out members whose tribal bloodlines, they say, are not pure enough to share in the profits.

What is surprising is not that more than 2,500 tribal members have been disenfranchised for apparently base reasons. (It’s human — and American — nature to want to concentrate wealth in as few hands as possible.) What is surprising is the extent to which Indian communities have continued using a system of blood membership that was imposed upon us in a violation of our sovereignty

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Native American Haplogroup X

By Roberta Estes, copyright 2011

People are just thrilled to get their DNA results back when they discovered they have mitochondrial DNA haplogroup X. They e-mail me right away and tell me they are Native American. 
But then, I have to ask the difficult question. I become that relative that no one wants to claim, the one who always is bursting the bubbles with ugly old reality.

So I ask, "What is your subgroup?"

And they reply, "Huh?"

So then I explain that haplogroup X isn't just Native American. In fact, it's found in Asia, all of Europe and in the New World Native Americans. 
Most of the time, these exchanges are by e-mail, so I can't see their faces. It's probably just as well, all things considered.

At this point, people are firmly divided into two camps. Those are the "I want to believe" camp and the "I want to know" camp. The "I want to believe" camp is afraid to do further testing because they are concerned that deeper testing will reveal that they are NOT Native. So they never test and continue to claim Native descent. The "I want to know camp" is just the opposite, seeking the truth, and they order the full sequence test.

You can see the various subgroups on the haplogroup X project page at: 

Haplogroup X is the "mother haplogroup." X2 is found throughout Eurasia and North America. Native American subgroups of haplogroup X2 are X2a, X2a1, X2a1a, X2a1b and X2a2 and they are determined by the following mutations in the various mitochondrial DNA regions.

Haplogroup HVR1 Region HVR2 Region Full Sequence
X2a 16213A 200G 8913G, 12397G, 14502C
X2a1 16093G 143A 3552C


X2a2 16254C 225C

This means that if you take the HVR1 region test and you are noted as being haplogroup X, if you don't have the 16213A mutation, then you're likely NOT Native American. Ouch, you say. How can we be sure? 
I encourage everyone to take the HVR2 and the full sequence level testing, especially if you think you MIGHT be Native. Why? Because we're still learning and I'd hate for anyone to determine they are NOT Native based on the 16213A mutation alone. There are such things as back mutations, and if you do have the HVR2 and full sequence mutations, then you may have experienced a back mutation or are maybe a haplogroup previously not found. 
So, your determination as haplogroup X is really just the appetizer and an invitation to the entree and dessert....HVR2 and full sequence testing!!!

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