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Adopted long ago, Ancestry.com DNA reveals in 23 percent Native American. I have ?

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  • Adopted long ago, Ancestry.com DNA reveals in 23 percent Native American. I have ?

    I have a few questions and am looking for help. I am 54 and was adopted in 1961 as a baby. Due to my wife's pushing this along, my daughter did a DNA test on Ancentry.com. This pushed me to do the same. According to them I am 23 percent Native American. While my wife starts the procedure of checking potential matches to distant cousins via Ancestry.com to learn where I came from, I have some other questions.

    Is there a way to determine what type of Native American I am based upon my DNA test?

    I know that based upon certain possible matches on my acestry.com that I may be able to make contacts that may or may not give me clues. But since I am adopted, some of these contacts may refuse or be hesitant to return our messages or help me.


    Any suggestions are appreciated.

    RUMBLON

  • #2
    I can understand that sealed adoption records break your branch off the family tree and leave you feeling less than anchored. I hope you find someone to call kin. Seems like you've got a good start with your wife and daughter tho'.

    A lot of what you can learn is going to depend on the type of test done and the size of the database used to correlate the results. I could see where DNA fingerprinting (looking at VNTR's) might link you to siblings or cousins, provided they're in the database used by the company that did your test. But, often the heritage tests are looking at different sequences and this type of testing is a pricey add on.

    Ever since PBS began running Dr Gates' two series Faces Of America and Finding Your Roots people have been come to believe the surprising discovers of his celebrity guests are due to the DNA testing. But in fact, the interesting stuff comes from good old fashioned hitting the birth and death certificates, census data, tax records, ship manifests, etc. Further, the results from the DNA testing are simplified for TV and presented in such a format that the fractions seem very hard and fast, when in fact there are huge footnotes and error bars to such results.


    Some links --


    Basic Background and Ethical Issues with DNA Testing in Native Communities:

    NCAI - Tribal Enrollment and Genetic Testing

    Council for Responsible Genetics

    Genetic Testing and Tribal Identity

    Katarzyna Bryc, et Al, Am. J. Human Genetics, 96, 2015, 37–53

    DNA isn't all there is:

    Gebbes, There is no DNA test to prove you’re Native American New Scientist, 2014

    Tallbear, Kim, Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science, Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2013

    Enrollment 101:

    A Guide to Tracing American Indian & Alaska Native Ancestry, Office of Public Affairs-Indian Affairs
    Last edited by OLChemist; 05-31-2016, 12:05 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ancestry.com has a very small database at this point. I did my DNA as well and got some strange results that did not match what I knew about my ancestry (way too much Brit, not enough German, and some really weird findings that give me Greek, Italian, Russian and Finnish which are a really out of the world results for me). So, take DNA ancestry findings as advisory but possibly wrong - go looking for the real records if you can.

      I understand that in some databases, the Native American DNA is restricted to certain tribes (that is, the database may be heavy on Navajo DNA but totally devoid of Eastern tribal DNA). Check with Ancestry.com to see what they have in their database and how much and that might point you in a good direction.

      Good luck. I hope you find your people, whoever they are.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by GreatBlueHeron View Post
        ... got some strange results that did not match what I knew about my ancestry (way too much Brit, not enough German, and some really weird findings that give me Greek, Italian, Russian and Finnish which are a really out of the world results for me)....
        Why do people assume their ancestors were pure (insert nation of your choice)? Humans travel great distances to get the latest tchotchke. They make religious pilgrimages. They covet their neighbor's property (and wives). They explore. They fall in love. They fall in lust. They go forth the spread the good news. One of my colleagues in the bio dept called it the "missionary position." Without sexual intermingling of populations we'd be in pretty poor genetic shape, and probably look and act like Cletus the Slack-jawed Yokel.

        Over the centuries, my native ancestors adopted or married a couple of Pawnee, Arikara, and Crow captives, and married a couple more Cheyenne allies. And my non-Native ancestors set forth to Hawaii on Nantucket whalers only to shire great-great grandchildren who are vehement advocates of Hawaiian sovereignty. Or set forth to educate the "savages" only be educated, civilized and wedded by "the savages." Why should Europeans be any different?


        Originally posted by GreatBlueHeron View Post
        I understand that in some databases, the Native American DNA is restricted to certain tribes (that is, the database may be heavy on Navajo DNA but totally devoid of Eastern tribal DNA).

        There are reasons for this based both in history and in indigenous ethics. The historical reasons are easy to understand. A sampling of examples below:

        (These are links to abstracts for scholarly articles or articles on Native populations and biological experimentation/research.)

        Smallpox and the Native American

        Involuntary Sterilization of Native Women

        Lessons from Havasupai Tribe v. Arizona State University Board of Regents

        BSG TB Vaccine Experiment on SE Alaska Natives


        The ethical reasons are more complex. Some have to do with aims of a study. For example migration studies: One of the things you hear over and over as a Native person is "We all came from somewhere else. You guys came over the land bridge." This is usually delivered as a counter argument to claims to Native treaty rights. We become just another huddled mass. Or inbreeding studies: I know of no Native group that doesn't and didn't practice strict kinship rules to prevent inbreeding. (Our leaders weren't marrying their cousins to keep the royal bloodlines pure, LOL.) To suggest otherwise is offensive and accuse our ancestors of grievous offenses.

        Others have to do with spiritual concerns about biological materials and human remains. The questions of what intangibles are being taken has not been answered in many Native communities. Further, these concerns are frequently dismissed by an academic community that claims to be the purveyor of the only -- profoundly Euro-American -- truth. We have valid concerns about whether or not it benefits us to advance this "truth."

        There are also intellectual property concerns. Some of these studies lead to patenting of genes sequences. It wasn't until 2013 that the US Supreme Court ruled to disallow the patenting of naturally occurring gene sequences. However, other countries do allow it. And samples have a way of traveling far from their original study.

        All of this explains the paucity of Native DNA in these databases.

        Comment


        • #5
          I never claimed to assume any of my ancestors were "pure." Only that the DNA results did not make much sense when compared with what I KNOW about my ancestors from documented sources going back from 150-500 years.

          Of course NOBODY is pure anything except human.

          Comment


          • #6
            There is of course the other reason that this happens. This entire enterprise depends of statistical analysis of large data sets on contemporaneous and historic samples. Particular single nucleotide polymorphisms occur with high frequencies in certain populations. This is not to say that that same variation doesn't occur at much lower frequencies in another group or appear within a geographically distance population. Many SNP's need to be examined and compared to good, large inclusive databases.

            What you're buying with this test is an statistical analysis that, in essence says: Our database shows the analyzed SNP's correlate to data from relatively isolated, geographically stable populations in these areas.

            My purity comment was not intended to have the loaded implications you seems to have assigned to it. What I was purposing is that you consider that in the lengthy course of human history scenarios like this might have happened: Your ancestors may have been born raised and enculturated in the British Isles. But the ancient British Isles are more genetically cosmopolitan. Perhaps your ancestors lived in an area adjacent to a area of Roman occupation -- a nice pool of DNA from the Italy and Greece. Genetic exchange occurred in the community. And then over the centuries the community unknowningly shared the legacy of that exchange among their geographically stable population. Until the day one of their wandering ancestors takes a DNA test and puzzles over the SNP's left behind by those ancient armies.

            As a Native person and scientist I am left wondering what are the implications of this kind of thing. The dominant culture assigns great import to laboratory results. Should this science then invalidate a lifetime of cultural experience as a member of a group on the basis of a few SNP's that effect the expression of a few proteins? As a Native person I have to look at the implications of a test like this. Should we disenrole on the basis of a nucleotides vs involvement in and acceptance by community? Are a shared set of SNP's between New and Old World populations going to be used to displace us from our geographic and religious heritage?
            Last edited by OLChemist; 06-04-2016, 07:13 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              [QUOTE=RUMBLON;1627072
              I know that based upon certain possible matches on my acestry.com that I may be able to make contacts that may or may not give me clues. But since I am adopted, some of these contacts may refuse or be hesitant to return our messages or help me.


              Please keep reaching out to your matches. Someone will respond hopefully. I was just contacted by a lady living in Australia who was born in England during WWII and given up for adoption. She is trying to learn about her American Indian DNA and her fathers side of the family. We are working together to find out the name of her father and how we are related. I wish you luck with your search.

              Oh and go and check and see if you match me on Ancestry.com. :)

              Comment


              • #8
                Co mingling of DNA occurred when the first Cro-Magnon spotted a Neanderthal honey and ever since.
                I have read a lot of articles on DNA testing, and the DNA testing offered by these companies
                Sigh always we want the shortcuts
                Research is hard and yes even harder for Adoptees
                But research will lead to actual paperwork and physical connections
                DNA testing is the snake oil salesmen of the previous century
                May not harm you but is sure don't taste good LoL
                ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
                Till I Die!

                Comment


                • #9
                  As a taker of 4 different DNA tests, I can tell you that ancestry is not hogwash. When you take 4 tests from 4 dif companies and they all give you the same results, I am inclined to believe that the naysayers are full o crap and just pouting because they didn't see the results they wanted. Ancestry wasn't bunk. Theirs was right in line with the other 3, and the only qualm I have with it is that it doesn't give you a specific tribe, though they did suggest regions for me which, along with other information I had, dropped me into Lakota Sioux territory.

                  You, sir, unfortunately have a lot going against you due to being adopted... Back in the day, the government used to take native babies and put them in white families, and legitimately attempt to cut off all contact between the two... They wanted to erase the indian blood out of those family lines, and in a lot of cases, they did a very good job of it. If you keep digging, you may find out a possible region, and perhaps be able to pick your tribe from there based on area records... But don't expect it to be cheap... How badly do you want it? Finding my family records cost me hundreds of dollars, and I still don't have enough to register with my tribe... That is going to cost even more, but worth it to me. I had to go county to county, scouring each place for records until I found some that made sense, and it still isn't even chicken scratch compared to what many people have.

                  You have nearly twice as much ndn blood as I do and will probably be able to register with your tribe, provided it is all within the same tribe and you are able to prove your lineage somehow. If biological parents have passed on, that may be difficult to do without some deep digging.

                  Comment

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