Hello Auntie, I recently found out I am a little over 50% Yaqui from Sonora and Apache from Southwestern Arizona through a DNA test. I know my great grandmother was full blood Yaqui, however we have no birth records. How would I take a blood quantum test?

Hey there,

Thank you for your question. I am always glad to hear when someone wants to connect to their culture. The issues around DNA testing are complicated and controversial. The short answer is that there is no DNA test to prove ties to a specific tribe.

First off what do people mean by DNA testing? According to the National Congress of the American Indian (NCAI) “DNA testing has become an umbrella term that refers to many different kinds of genetic testing that provides information about an individual’s genes. Genetic information, or DNA, is found in nearly every cell in the human body.  DNA testing technology is constantly changing, and so are the efforts to engage tribes in testing on an individual and group basis.” At the NCIA website you can find lots of helpful information about this.

Being Native means different things to each person. For some, it means that they are descendants of the original people of North America. For others it means a way of life or a way of being; a feeling, how one sees the world and one’s self; a way of interacting with nature, family, and Creator. Native culture in North America, is rich in tradition, history, spirituality, art, economics, and politics.

I suggest that people who are interested in learning more about their identity start by asking questions of their family and community, reach out to your tribe (most Tribal Nations have websites) and learn about their culture, the history of their tribe and traditions and start from a place of respect and curiosity.

Good luck,

Auntie Manda

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Topics: Culture and Language|Identity