Monday, October 3, 2016

Admixture Centrifuge: Cherokee DNA

(Read about Admixture Centrifuge blog series and Submission Requirements here.)
Bijon Levels Hughes (left) and highway marker showing his 6th-great-grandfather Chief Drowning Bear Yonaguska (1759–1839), first chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee during Indian Removals aka Trail of Tears. Highway marker is located on US 19 northeast of Bryson City, North Carolina.
Osiyo ("hello"). If I had an Indian Head cent or buffalo nickel for every person claiming a connection to the Cherokee tribe, I'd be filthy rich. It's more sought after than even the ubiquitous lust for any Native American heritage at all. Of course I see nothing wrong with it if you honestly believe you have Cherokee heritage. And with over 300,000 members the federally recognized Cherokee Nation certainly seems plausible for many seekers. However, the majority of people just can't find that connection to the Cherokee or any other tribe (and you can read my blog Native American Is Not That Into You to explore reasons why). There's also no shortage of dissenters ready to lynch you for daring to make such claims  I call dissenters belonging to Amerindian tribes members of the collective Ku Klux clan and non-Amerindian ones the Radical Anti-Indian Terrorists. Luckily there are instances when someone is unequivocally Cherokee by "blood." 

I came across such a bona fide Cherokee descendant in my Facebook group Native American Ancestry Explorer. This person was not interested in joining the Cherokee tribe (he was already a member) nor trying to prove if he was Native American (he already knew). So for my inaugural Admixture Centrifuge series, this allowed me the perfect opportunity to examine how the Cherokee's Native American component breaks down on ethnicity admixture calculators.  I also wanted to know if my client's admixture results could tell us anything about the Cherokee's ancient origins vis a vis did they migrate from Great Lakes region of US/Canada or had they been in the American Southeast for millenniums?

Meet Bijon Levels Hughes (aka "client"). First I'd like to bid an immense Wado ("thank you") to  my client for agreeing to participate. Bijon gave me expressed permission to publish all of the information provided in this blog. My client  is Cherokee and African-American. To note Bijon does not descend from  Cherokee Freedman but is a progeny of Cherokee chiefdom. However since claiming Cherokee roots is so controversial I decided to preface my client's analysis with brief genealogical records of his claim but this blog focuses more on genetic admixture. 

"My 6th-great-grandfather is Chief Yonaguska aka Drowning Bear (1759–1839). He was the first chief of the Eastern Band Cherokee during the trail of tears when the Cherokees where sent into Oklahoma. He led a band of Cherokees to stay in there homeland in present-day North Carolina. He refused to leave. I am 1/4 Eastern Band Cherokee. I received 20 plus percent of Native American DNA on my AncestryDNA results which wasn't a surprise being that my grandmother was 15/16 and 1/16 European. I have family records through the Baker Rolls where it kept blood quantum of Native Americans. My mother is African-American but we have a mix of European and a lot of mulatto ancestors." 
Client submissions: AncestryDNA results; Gedmatch results (DodeCad World9 with chromosome painting, MDLP World22, MDLP K23, Eurogenes K13, Eurogene K36, HarappaWorld); DNA.Land results, and selected genealogical records.