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rock hunter
06-30-2016, 02:49 AM
Testing Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA will prove once and for all whether she is part Native American, former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown said this week.


After Warren emerged as Donald Trump’s Twitter Adversary in Chief, he revived accusations that she lied about having a Native American — Cherokee or Delaware — ancestor, as her family lore said, and began calling her Pocohontas. When the issue first arose, during Warren’s successful 2012 race against Brown, documents (later called into doubt) suggested a great-great-great grandmother was Cherokee. “She can take a DNA test,” Brown told reporters in a conference call arranged by the Republican National Committee.

The two giant commercial DNA-testing companies, AncestryDNA (which Ancestry.com started in 2012) and 23andMe, both sell tests that tell customers what “percent” they are of more than two dozen geographic and ethnic groups, from “European Jewish” and “Finland/Northwest Russia” to “Benin/Togo” and “Asia East” — and Native American. They comb DNA, from cheek swabs that customers mail in, for hundreds of thousands of genetic variants across the 23 human chromosomes, looking for telltale signatures that are associated with one or more of those groups.


Applying proprietary algorithms to the test results — 23andMe explains its method here and Ancestry’s white paper is here — yields a report telling a customer that she is some percent Sardinian, for instance, some percent Balkan, some percent East African, and so on. “It’s the percent of your DNA that’s associated with that group,” said Jake Byrnes, manager of population genomics at AncestryDNA. “We don’t try to give you the precise number of ancestors.” So “10 percent Korean” doesn’t mean three of your 32 great-great-great grandparents were Korean.
DNA sequence

The reasons for that also explain the limits of DNA for revealing ancestry.
Really?

Both AncestryDNA and 23andMe have improved their ancestor analysis since 2010, when the American Society of Human Genetics pointed out the many ways the results can be wrong. But there are still challenges.

One is practical. To determine which genetic variations go along with which ethnic or geographic groups, both companies (as well as academic researchers) rely on existing databases. AncestryDNA’s leans on one containing about 3,000 individuals from across the world, Byrnes said, complete with their DNA information and their family tree. But only 131 are Native Americans, from both North and South America.
Should biologists stop grouping us by race?

That small number means only a handful are, say, full Cherokees or Navajos or Delaware, which may be too few to fully capture all the DNA variants that a specific tribe, or Native Americans generally, have. If someone has Native American DNA that happens not to have been captured in the database, the testing companies can’t identify it.

As the genetics society warned, “even the [best] databases … reflect a woefully incomplete sampling of human genetic diversity, and this has important consequences for the accuracy of ancestry” testing.

firemonkey
07-03-2016, 06:14 AM
There have been some media “explainers” about how genetics can’t speak to Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage. This is a complicated issue, and not all the assertions in the media pieces I’ve seen are wrong, but a lot of the details are very confused or wrong. In sum, this is very bad journalism from people who don’t know where to start, and had no idea they were relaying confusions or falsehoods. (I’m being generous here in assuming they didn’t know that they were repeating falsehoods)

The point of this post isn’t to get too involved in the political points. Or even to argue that Elizabeth Warren should take a genetic test (I don’t think she should unless she wants to for other reasons besides the political sideshow, but that’s my personal opinion). Rather, I think that genetics is being distorted for the sake of political points and demerits. That is not optimal. Normally I don’t do much “fisking” type posts, but this is necessary at this point.

Let’s start with The Washington Post, Sorry, Scott Brown: A DNA test can’t tell us if Elizabeth Warren has Native American roots.


http://www.unz.com/gnxp/genetics-might-tell-us-about-elizabeth-warrens-native-american-ancestry/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=genetics-might-tell-us-about-elizabeth-warrens-native-american-ancestry

lgmayka
07-03-2016, 10:10 AM
An authentic Cherokee Nation genealogist examined Elizabeth Warren's claim (http://www.pollysgranddaughter.com/p/elizabeth-warren-information.html):
---
We have done extensive research on her ancestry and on the stories she has told trying to back up her claim. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest she actually had a Cherokee or American Indian ancestor.
...
She claims to have Indian blood through her mother so that side of her family is shown here. All were always found in all records as white. They were never found in any Cherokee records or listed as Indian. The Trail of Tears was in 1838-39. We chose to show back to the generation born before that time, though we have traced most her lines back further.
...
She does not legally meet the criteria to be counted as a Native American for diversity reports to the EEOC.
---

The article's time line makes clear that in 1986, Ms. Warren began to start calling herself a "Native American" or a "minority" or a "woman of color," presumably to advance her academic career--which it most certainly did. Until then, she considered herself "white," even on a form permitting multiple checkoffs.

But I must point out that this issue is not primarily genealogical or genetic. The many laws, regulations, and guidelines establishing affirmative-action preferences were designed--or at least publicly advertised--to assist those heavily disadvantaged by difficult childhood environments, and secondarily to widen the spectrum of available talents and views to accommodate Americans of differing cultures. Ms. Warren was obviously neither disadvantaged by poverty or discrimination, nor endowed with a Native American cultural upbringing.

So the real issues are legal and political:
- Did Ms. Warren commit fraud in the legal sense? If so, who is assigned to detect and prosecute such frauds?
- Did Ms. Warren merely exploit a loophole or ambiguity in the law? If so, who is going to change or clarify the law to prevent such unfair exploitation in the future?

AppalachianGumbo
07-03-2016, 04:07 PM
The poster above me, posted an article from Twila Burns of the Cherokee Nation. She is just in making her claim against Warren as a member of the Cherokee Nation. We can go further with this.

Here is the thing. In Indian Country DNA testing does not pull any weight to "prove" Native American ancestry. Registered Natives of many tribes have tested with mainstream DNA companies. Many Natives are not harsh critics of DNA testing and test with the same intentions as other people. However to show connections....it's paper, paper, paper even if it's on toilet paper it's on paper.
DNA testing by many in NDN country view this as people trying to find another way to call themselves Indians or to claim such ancestry. People take DNA tests which shows biologically they have a connection to Indigenous Americans, but from where? US Natives view themselves as a unanimous group to some extent but view kinship by tribal connections.

"There is absolutely no evidence to suggest she actually had a Cherokee or American Indian ancestor." - Twila Burns

Read more: http://www.pollysgranddaughter.com/p/elizabeth-warren-information.html#ixzz4DMO5sVCQ

That is a true statement. Now I will be the devils advocate for those who believe a DNA test will settle Warren's issue.

She has no proof on paper to prove Cherokee but could she have evidence for "American Indian" ancestry? Only in the form of an ancestry test which could suggest it.
If Elizabeth Warren takes a DNA test and comes back 1% or 20% Native American, it will show yes, she is biologically of Native America genetically but Cherokee (like Twila Burns) will then "debunk" the test as not being accurate to prove American Indian ancestry. Trust me. There are about a handful in the Cherokee Nation alone which I am aware which have posted their results which have tested with 23andMe which show no Native American in their result. One stated their BQ is 1/8 and returned the big donut hole 0% Native American who should be showing some result. Whoever, these people have paper and are told, "Not to trust the test, they are out to take your money." Contrary, there are people (in smaller numbers) with no documented Native American ancestry in the US that show Native American in their result. This cannot be accepted by a large group of Cherokee which hold to a firm and yet rigid standard that demand paper evidence, "Show me the roll." Your biology on a DNA test means zip, nada, zero. Paper trumps any DNA result.

That is a messy territory for Cherokee or any tribe to consider if Warren tested with a % of American Indian ancestry. They would say, "Okay, she may have Indian, but she's not a Cherokee." Warren would become the poster child for a "wandering Indian without a tribe." No paper and orphaned from a tribe.
Now, the ugly pink elephant is in the room. When DNA does not align with the paper trail. When DNA shows a person with genetic roots to a claimed Indian tribe but for whatever reason(s) they have no paper document to back this up. In essence a positive result could indicate a biological connection to Cherokee but it will never be good enough.

Grossvater
07-04-2016, 05:45 PM
The poster above me, posted an article from Twila Burns of the Cherokee Nation. She is just in making her claim against Warren as a member of the Cherokee Nation. We can go further with this.

Here is the thing. In Indian Country DNA testing does not pull any weight to "prove" Native American ancestry. Registered Natives of many tribes have tested with mainstream DNA companies. Many Natives are not harsh critics of DNA testing and test with the same intentions as other people. However to show connections....it's paper, paper, paper even if it's on toilet paper it's on paper.
DNA testing by many in NDN country view this as people trying to find another way to call themselves Indians or to claim such ancestry. People take DNA tests which shows biologically they have a connection to Indigenous Americans, but from where? US Natives view themselves as a unanimous group to some extent but view kinship by tribal connections.

"There is absolutely no evidence to suggest she actually had a Cherokee or American Indian ancestor." - Twila Burns

Read more: http://www.pollysgranddaughter.com/p/elizabeth-warren-information.html#ixzz4DMO5sVCQ

That is a true statement. Now I will be the devils advocate for those who believe a DNA test will settle Warren's issue.

She has no proof on paper to prove Cherokee but could she have evidence for "American Indian" ancestry? Only in the form of an ancestry test which could suggest it.
If Elizabeth Warren takes a DNA test and comes back 1% or 20% Native American, it will show yes, she is biologically of Native America genetically but Cherokee (like Twila Burns) will then "debunk" the test as not being accurate to prove American Indian ancestry. Trust me. There are about a handful in the Cherokee Nation alone which I am aware which have posted their results which have tested with 23andMe which show no Native American in their result. One stated their BQ is 1/8 and returned the big donut hole 0% Native American who should be showing some result. Whoever, these people have paper and are told, "Not to trust the test, they are out to take your money." Contrary, there are people (in smaller numbers) with no documented Native American ancestry in the US that show Native American in their result. This cannot be accepted by a large group of Cherokee which hold to a firm and yet rigid standard that demand paper evidence, "Show me the roll." Your biology on a DNA test means zip, nada, zero. Paper trumps any DNA result.

That is a messy territory for Cherokee or any tribe to consider if Warren tested with a % of American Indian ancestry. They would say, "Okay, she may have Indian, but she's not a Cherokee." Warren would become the poster child for a "wandering Indian without a tribe." No paper and orphaned from a tribe.
Now, the ugly pink elephant is in the room. When DNA does not align with the paper trail. When DNA shows a person with genetic roots to a claimed Indian tribe but for whatever reason(s) they have no paper document to back this up. In essence a positive result could indicate a biological connection to Cherokee but it will never be good enough.

You make some valid points. Ultimately, it seems its all about the all-important relationship with the Federal Government and keeping those tax dollars flowing. Those with the paper trails all want to keep the benefits (like Affirmative Action) flowing that their tribes provide them that ultimately come from the Federal Government. Indian Casinos are big business and having federally recognized sovereignty means you don't have to follow state laws that may forbid gambling...meaning your tribe has a monopoly. One tribe I've had some experience with outside of Wyoming, are downright rude and will tell you absolutely nothing about any real connections to their group because they have a pending application for federal recognition. No one will explain their lineages for fear that they may be expelled from the group somehow and miss out on all that potential casino money. Accusations among families concerning their alleged "Indianness" or lack thereof are hurled about. It is really ugly. There is big-time distrust. Personally, I think its pathetic. Folks used to be ashamed of Native ancestry in the old days and tried to keep it on the down-low (which is also pathetic) but now everyone wants to be an Indian. Its all about gaining an advantage. There really are some folks out there who just want to know the truth about their lineage without having an ulterior motive.

I suspect that the time may come when although all present enrollees will be able to keep their status as official Indians, technology may assist Indian tribes in the future to determine if someone claiming descent actually carries Native American DNA. Here in Arapaho/Shoshone country, it seems it could be quite easy to determine who the stem founders of each lineage were in the male and female lines as this reservation dates back only to the mid-19th Century and there are substantial paper records still extant. I suspect there will be some substantial founder effects. The first Arapaho to learn to speak English was named Friday by the trapper Fitzpatrick who found him lost on the plains in the 1830s. He took him back to St. Louis where he went to school for several years before being reunited with his Arapaho family. He died in 1881. I don't have independent confirmation of this but I've been told he had seven wives and 37 children. Out of 10,000 enrolled Arapahos today, I've been told that 3,500 are descended from him alone. In the Y lines, one would probably find Q1a3a1 lineages as well as some C3s. European Y lineages could be traced to individual French-Canadian trappers or others. It would be so cool if they would do that. But I don't expect anything of the sort to happen in the current "jostling at the teat" of the Federal government mentality that exists today.