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Like a lot of other North American’s I have Native American DNA. Whats It mean?
More than anything it means that just 7 generations back you had well over 100 ancestors and nobody knows who all of them are. It also means that yes, a great deal of white Americans have some Native DNA.
Its only generations of “Moving on up” in apparent whiteness that fostered this idea the Native American genocide was all that complete. While the Native Americans were surely dealt a shit hand by history where lot really were outright killed and many more suffered horribly, theres more of their DNA left than people realized. Til now. Personally I’m fairly sure my low percentage of unidentifiable DNA is probably native american too, but who knows? I can say in 2 years on 23&me its the one racial category that has only kept going up, harvesting out of my “Unidentifiable” DNA( a category that keeps going down).
For the ones among us like myself finding out now through science there’s no cultural component. For the most part we got here the same way. We are descended from willing participants in forgetting the Native American Heritage. Even in the 1970s the ‘Defeated Noble Savage’ thing was still out there and people just were happy NOT to verbally pass that information on to their kids. The truth was they had become US. We’re still here and depending on how you crunch it; maybe there’s more of us than ever.
Now, like David Cone’s perfect game or Aaron Boone’s home run it seems there’s more people claiming ‘I was there’ than any stadium could ever hold. In the case of the Native DNA its the opposite of a baseball milestone. We didn’t realize we were at this event. We ARE this event. We’re Aaron Boone’s Home run! For perspective on this huge number think about this; most every latino is part Native American right off the bat.
Marketing by the DNA Companies
The DNA Research Corporations showed they trusted in math when they started using Native American Ancestry as a pitch.
Basically a day came when they had a sample size so large it was scientific. Then, there was one somewhat astonishing find – that a lot of Native American DNA is diffused through the population of North America.
These DNA companies saw the evidence of the prevalence of Native DNA in small amounts marbled through American demographics. Then they checked their math and when everything added up they somewhat cynically exploited Native American heritage. This Disney-fication of Native American history is a problem and a future blog post of it’s own. Whatever, it really went down that way. It’s probably sort of morally a bit wrong.
That same math tells the DNA Research Corporations that there’s enough people running around with minimal amounts of Native DNA to have serious cover on any criticism. In other words- It was going to be them too! Looking in the mirror they realized surely as many as 1/3 of them, the DNA researchers, and their employees had Native American DNA as well and therefore could turn around and say “Fuck you, I got my Indian Card” to anyone else.
Having some Native DNA is marketed as an exotic, semi magical thing that makes you the right kind of different in a good way. The truth is the DNA collection companies are merely cynical truth tellers making money off a til now little known fact. Forgetting for the moment that some good came of it and it’s not like they were just lying; 23&me and Ancestry.com proceeded in this direction knowing, for a fact, before anyone else that so many people had some Native American DNA that they could use it for a mass multi-media marketing campaign in the US.
The real story of course is one of genocide. So while there’s reason to celebrate your Native American DNA; the first thing it should tell you is that somewhere in your genealogical past, probably over 150 years ago, you had a white rapist in your family tree. So it should be an eye opener about just how poorly behaved the pure Europeans were when they showed up in North America. You probably should read “Custer Died for Your Sins” and if movies are your thing see amazing documentary “Reel Injun”
How did this happen? Well for one thing outright breeding people out of existence is nothing new. It’s been practiced by victors at least as far back as Rome and beyond into the deepest reaches of antiquity. How did it work out? Well, you don’t see a lot of people saying they’re part Samnite, do you? This despite the fact that the Samnite’s DNA was extremely successful to the point it’s forever intertwined into all Italian’s DNA. But then, of course, History was written by the victors.
Who Are We?
Very simply the raising of awareness and building of a database that substantiates the fact- while there’s always been a lot of partly Native American’s walking around never have so many been aware of it til now.
Of course we can continue to opt out and just be americans who have native ancestors. That’s worked so far.
If we want to emulate our native ancestors I guess we should look to the existing populations for guidance. I’m not sure what they may think of us, and I can’t speak for anyone but myself.
Here’s one personal aspect; I know before I send more money back to Ireland I would more likely give to a Native American Charity. Certainly hanging a dream catcher from the rearview and boring your friends with the story is the least productive thing you can do. At least respect the remaining communities and start pushing for greater respect by the government toward native americans.
Without lying I can say I think there’s a really good shot that Native American is the country’s fastest growing ethnicity. As little as 100 years ago massacring “Indians” was still a thing, it really takes WWI for modern racial sensibilities that we can identify with or understand to start to slowly emerge.
We’re all equally Americans. The sooner you get together with that in your mind the better. White, black, whatever. No one’s an “other”. Avoid thinking in terms of “Them-ism”. By the way it’s probably a good idea to just apply that to everyone, not just the partially native out there.
The truth is the genocide against the Native Americans only seemed to be extremely effective. The truth was that the Native Americans were lurking just below the skin of all these apparent White People.
Some estimates claim as much as 1/3 of all Americans have SOME native DNA. One day we’ll probably have a real reliable number on this and not have to estimate. And by “one day’ I mean within about 5 years.
And that’s as much as it means.
Seven generations back you have 128 direct ancestors. So 7 generations back you are getting like what? 1/128th their DNA over the time between like 1700 til now was passed to you and that’s it.
At some point between the time seventh generation was giving way to the 64 members of the 6th generation back from you there were 100 direct ancestors and that’s where you can start to say “In 1750, before America, ‘what was going on?’ on the East Coast of the US and in the Caribbean?” The answer? “Lots and lots of interracial sex by both the willing and unwilling. And of course, as the white people stab west they proliferate with the natives just as soon as they can manage it.
Another quick way to sum it up would be “On a mass scale and by any measure, White People used to act even worse than they do now.”
And that’s a lot to think about. And that’s why there’s this whole separate post from a ways back about when I tested my own DNA and discovered I had Native American DNA.