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How DNA Companies turn American Indians to Africans with omitted data and outdated stereotypes

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

DNA Tests Make Native Americans Strangers in Their Own Land

" In fact, when it comes to one DNA testing outfit, 23andMe, all of the countries included in its lists of the geographical origins of those who have contributed to its “Native American” database are in Latin America and the Caribbean. “In North America,” the company blandly explains, “Native American ancestry tends to be five or more generations back, so that little DNA evidence of this heritage remains.” In other words, 23andMe claims DNA as conclusive proof of Native American identity, then uses it to write Native North Americans off the map altogether." " As historian Jean O’Brien has explained, “Insistence on ‘blood purity’ as a central criterion of ‘authentic’ Indianness reflected the scientific racism that prevailed in the 19th century. New England Indians had intermarried, including with African Americans, for many decades, and their failure to comply with non-Indian ideas about Indian phenotype strained the credence for their Indianness in New England minds.” The supposed “disappearance” of such Indians then justified the elimination of any rights that they might have had to land or sovereignty, the elimination of which, in a form of circular reasoning, only confirmed their nonexistence as a people." DNA Article Link DNA testing companies should be clear about what it means to have “Native American DNA”*

23 and Me Tells You the results are NOT Legal for Tribal Identification

What it does not mean
  1. You cannot use these results to seek or confirm membership in a Tribe or Nation. There is simply not enough information provided by these tests to confirm this kind of affiliation. Tribal enrollment processes use genealogical evidence of kinship, not genetic ancestry test results.

  2. It doesn’t mean you should start identifying as Native American based on the results of a genetic ancestry test.

  3. It doesn’t mean you can claim Native identity and then use genetic ancestry testing to “confirm” it.

  4. It doesn’t mean you can go to your Native American friends and say, “Hey guess what? I took a DNA test and it turns out I’m Native American too!”

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