Native American Genetic Testing

DNA does not follow modern day political borders. For example, someone living in the modern day United States may have a genetic makeup that includes a wide array of ancestry markers including European and Native American. While it’s not currently possible to identify “United States DNA”, Ancestry By DNA ™ can differentiate between major geographic regions such as Native American (which includes North and South America) and European (which includes the Middle East, Northern Europe and parts of Pakistan/India). Of course, someone living today in the U.S. is likely to have an MLE percentage in both groups.

For centuries, people the world over have not been able to document their families’ links to tribal heritage. Many families pass down rumors to the effect that their mother or paternal grandmother was a “full blood” Native American from one tribe or another. So how do you sort out fact from fiction? Native American genetic testing can be an excellent way to verify your blood line. A Native American DNA test in some instances can turn the tide for descendants to reclaim their heritage and in certain cases, be eligible for tribal benefits.
Due to gross mistreatment of Native Americans herded onto reservations, hereditary record keeping was, at best, extremely haphazard.  Through an unfortunate set of tragic circumstances, many Native Americans have no records of their heritage at all, or what records existed in the latter parts of the 19th and 20th centuries were destroyed.

Additionally, during those backward times, it was not uncommon for being of Native American descent to be looked down upon. To make life for themselves and their families easier, if a Native American descendant was able to pass as Caucasian, many chose to do so, abandoning their heritage in order to live more comfortably in current society.

Several websites offer quite a bit of information about DNA Native American genetic testing. Here are just a few:

High quality DNA diagnostics testing centers take pride in having high accuracy track records, employing expert scientists and researchers, and taking great care to help clients confirm heritage as finitely as possible.

Some types of DNA tests have been tailored to provide the necessary criteria determined by your tribe’s unique needs. With regard to Native American genetic testing, it can provide the missing puzzle piece that snaps into place, providing crucial information about biological connections. Overall purposes of Native American genetic testing include:
•    Establishment of paternity
•    Reuniting adopted children with their biological relatives
•    Providing evidentiary substantiation with regard to tribal enrollment or disenrollment
•    Assistance in claiming child support and various other benefits

Here’s more detail/definition about each of these categories:
•    Testing for Parentage (showing whether a tribal member is the child’s biological parent)
•    Familial Relationship: This test establishes probability of relatedness  to relatives (like grandparents and siblings)
•    Y Chromosome & Mitochondrial DNA Tests can determine relatedness via either the paternal or maternal line

As far as the testing itself goes, various tests can help discover your blood quantum as well as suggest tribal affiliation. An extremely typical one is the basic cheek swab, performed by a trained professional. Another popular test is the  DNA fingerprint test. It’s particularly helpful if your family history (pertaining to Native American ancestry) is totally unknown. Fingerprint DNA testing is one of the most sensitive formats; it can help track down even the most minuscule traces of Native blood.
Whatever you discover, it’s also good to bear in mind that our upbringing, customs, traditions and belief systems all contribute to who we are & who we identify with – not solely biological ties.