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Native American Nations Around The World - A Genetic Sub-Polar Route

Updated on June 29, 2015
NOAA Arctic Map
NOAA Arctic Map | Source
  • The American Journal of Physical Anthropology (AJPA) recently published an article by Ebenesersdottier et al. dealing with a newly discovered mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineage: A New Subclade of mtDNA Haplogroup C1 Found in Icelanders: Evidence of Pre-Columbian Contact?
  • The researchers conclude that genetic material and markers shared by Native North Americans and their counterparts in Northern Europe (Sami or Saami, etc) made their way to Iceland. Thsi flies int he face of supports of the Vikings-only theory of settlement there.

Recent Altai Evidence


  • Haplotype X2a (North American Indigenous) is more closely related to the Altaian & Siberian Haplogroup X2 than to any European Haplogroup X2. A decided difference exists among the varieties of Haplogroups X2.
  • Further, we have five (5) unique mutations of Haplogroup X2a and only one (1) has been found in the Eastern Hemisphere - in Iran.
  • Are First Nations related to the Iranians?


"We have reasonably clear genetic evidence that the most likely candidate for the source of Native American populations is somewhere in east Asia," said Noah Rosenberg, a genetic researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School.

  • Native American and Siberian ancestors (Altai) are the only two groups that experience one specific genetic mutation, strengthening the link between these two peoples.

Note: I've connected, for example, Koreans and Native Americans with the Altai regions to my own satisfaction for many years, and the evidence is coming in to support it. Link for the entire research article is here.

Languages, Migrations and DNA Markers

The Inuit peoples have been discovered in northeast Siberia/Russia, across the top of North America - Alaska, Canada & Territories, and into Greenland and the Feroa Islands near Denmark. In fact, evidence supports the notion that the Inuit are living or have lived completely around the globe in the Arctic and Subarctic regions.

The Northern European Sami and other peoples are related to or part of the Inuit, evidenced in DNA tracking. Wherever human life began, part of it went north and around the circumpolar regions of the north. This has not been easy, given the harsher climates and their impact on resources for these peoples. They would seem to me, above all else, to be survivors.

In 1996 I found linguistic evidence on a research CD-ROM entry at our local university that certain Iroquois Confederation nations (Mohawk,, shared the identical word for cousin with the Zulu Nation originally in the Congo -- Sources, including legends, state that the Zulu are descended from the son of a Nguni chief in the Congo Basin. In 2012, the people are largely in KwaZulu-Natal. I was intrigued, because sharing the word for cousin meant that the two nations were probably related genetically, because language and genetics are largely related. In the 200s - 2010s, the Smithsonian/National Geographic/IBM Genographic Project is connecting more dots.

However, there was no detailed genetic research about this link available to the general public through my university at that time..The Internet infrastructure had not yet been installed at my university, but was installed, up and working before the end of 1996, though not widespread and user friendly. Meanwhile, at the learning center at which I worked, our Internet station ran so slowly that any search required 30 minutes in order to provide up a results page, if at all. This was frustrating and not very useful.

Zulu Dancers performing for the camera and tourists.
Zulu Dancers performing for the camera and tourists. | Source

By 1999, genetic research begun with studies back in 1992 showed Y chromosome links (via the male heritage line; Y is male and X is female) between and among the nations I've presented in the previous Hubs of this Series on Native American Nations..

This Hub will present additional details from genetic research about these links, along with a list of characteristics that are markers for Native American heritage. By "Native American" I mean any of the related indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere and around the Arctic Circle:

  • Alaskan Natives
  • First Nations, Metis, Inuits; Circumpolar Peoples
  • Native Americans
  • Indigenous Peoples of Mexico, Central America, and South America
  • Pacific and Other Islanders on both margins of the Western Hemisphere

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Zulu Dancers portray a stick fight.Coatepeque, Congo.
Zulu Dancers portray a stick fight.
Zulu Dancers portray a stick fight. | Source
Coatepeque, Congo.
Coatepeque, Congo. | Source

Early Migration of Zulu Nation

show route and directions
A markerKwaZulu-Natal -
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
get directions

B markerCongo Basin -
Congo Basin
get directions

Zulu Stories

The Boy Who Stole the Leopard's Spots: A Mystery (Belgian Congo Mystery)
The Boy Who Stole the Leopard's Spots: A Mystery (Belgian Congo Mystery)

A mystery novel based in the author's childhood missionary life in Congo and South Africa. Tamar Myers spent her childhood and early teenage years with her missionary parents in the land of the Zulus. She needed decades of time to digest the beauty and the horrors of what she saw, but she achieved both in this African series of novels, beginning with "The Witch Doctor's Wife."


The Sami teepee is called a "lavvu" in the Northern Sami language.

Sami Parliament Includes Features of Native House

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sami People in the late 1800s, in front of their home.
Sami People in the late 1800s, in front of their home.
Sami People in the late 1800s, in front of their home. | Source

Sami House Design

Public domain.
Public domain.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Arctic Peoples have muskox instead of bison.Greenland Tundra with muskox skull in foreground.
The Arctic Peoples have muskox instead of bison.
The Arctic Peoples have muskox instead of bison. | Source
Greenland Tundra with muskox skull in foreground.
Greenland Tundra with muskox skull in foreground. | Source

Sami or Saami Range

show route and directions
A markerKola Peninsula -
Kola Peninsula, Russia
get directions

B markerFinland -
get directions

C markerNorway -
get directions

D markerSweden -
get directions

Increase in First Nations Populations

The reporting firm, Statistics Canada, stated in its 2006 Census results on the Indigenous Peoples of Canada that there are 1,172,790 First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals in Canada.

However, I know that not all Native groups completed the questionnaires for the Census. Therefore, there are more aboriginal individuals living in Canada than were counted in 2006. Perhaps no Census ever records 100% of all individuals.

This First Nations count is an increase that results from higher birth rates among the indigenous peoples than among non-aboriginal groups. The increase in population also results from an increasing number of people beginning to identify themselves as aboriginals in the late 20th and into the 21st centuries.

The Métis are the mixed-heritage individuals in Canada and the USA that have a portion of indigenous DNA. In Canada, their numbers doubled in the 10 years from 1996 - 2006.

Some of Canada's largest cities are home to substantial numbers of indigenous people. These cities include including Winnipeg (10% of the total population), Regina (9% of the population) and Saskatoon (9%). These are large numbers compared to those of 1996.

The First Nations people are significantly younger overall than non-native people in Canada. The median ages of the two groups fall at 27 years for First Nations and 40 years for others, respectively. This First Nations are more younger adults, compared to early middle age among whites and others.

In fact, half of all First Nations members are under 25 years of age. They are in a position to take over some of the jobs left vacant by retiring Baby Boomers in Canada in order to solve the 21st century labor shortage created by this retirement. With various education and training programs available from the Canadian federal and provincial governments to First Nation peoples, this is a good possibility.

Are You Native American Or Similar?

DNA testing along father's ancestry and mother's ancestry lines is more available in the 21st century and becoming more frequently accessed. Some tests are expensive, while others are becoming less so. The testing is useful to individuals that cannot trace the documentation of their Native American Heritage, because they can use the positive results in claiming related minority college scholarships

In order to help you decide whether to undergo DNA testing or not, here is a list of characteristics reportedly associated with Native Americans/First Nations in Yahoo Groups and Facebook Organizations, many of which characteristics are not widely known:

1) Wider feet than the general population. This means that you cannot wear an "A" , "AA" or "AAA" width, which are all narrow and in high demand even from people with wider feet, as a fashion statement. Medical science found the widths unhealthy for wider feet, just as it found that using too-small a shoe can be a problem to the structure of any foot.

In some large department stores, the concept of "width" has disappeared from the current manufacture and distribution of shoes, so they are all just a little too narrow (These same shoes are also too wide for people with narrower feet, so they sometimes shop online at specialty shoemakers.) There may be a difference, also, in the structure of the arch of the foot among the Indigenous people in question. NIKE produces wider shoes for the Native American foot. Thus, there is truth to this characteristic being brought forward.

2) Lack of hair on the abdomen - not even a light fuzz, usually, according to Native American comment posters online.

3) High cheekbones that, if you wear glasses, the lenses are consistently smeared at the bottom or below the center of the lenses. (I have this and it is annoying.)

4) Tooth structure. There are two characteristics to look for:

The first is a type of "shoveling" - almost like a scoop or the flatter side of a spade - on the inside of the top 4 front and bottom 4 front teeth, with an extra ridge before you get to the root. Sometimes this involves additional frontward teeth. (I have these characteristics, while my friends from Scandinavia do not.).

The second hallmark characteristic is the lack of a fifth cusp on certain molars - European descendants most often have that extra cusp (a point) to make a total of 5 cusps. The exception is found in a single Eastern European culture.

5) Are you a descendant of Europeans or African-Americans that may have intermarried with Native Americans? Although some of these individuals do not look like Native Americans, they may possess the indigenous DNA as part of the larger intermixed group of Metis, Metiza or similar designations. It is particularly interesting that it appears as though a portion of Mohawk people, historic and current, have looked more like Europeans than do other Native Nations.

© 2008 Patty Inglish

Comments, Additions, and News

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      North Carolinian - You have presented us with wonderful information that is fascinating in your personal story. I did not know about my heritage until my 30s, when a new acquaintance and I discovered links between us and to Native American lineage. DNA tests are becoming cheaper and more accessible, so best of luck with that experience!

    • profile image

      Native Carolinian 3 years ago

      I keep reading these pages not really looking to find information that pertains to my situation, but I find it continually. I might just go for a genetic test. The descriptors in this page cover things about me which I could not really explain. I am mixed background European and Native as far as I can accurately describe it. Cultural clues from the U.S. South come from possessions in house and foods grown in garden which white people did not eat at this point, but show up in my family's cooking with regularity. The more I read about the physical descriptions of Native people the more I seem to find myself. I have always had wider feet, shoulders broader than what they should be for my height, sparse hair covering where described (except the nice full thick dark hair on my scalp!!! :)). It's funny that the feet and the smudged glasses are mentioned here. I find my sunglasses and regular glasses smudged there on a regular basis and always found it confusing. I have feet that need the wide souls and I have extremely high arches on my feet, and high cheek bones. I had an extra tooth and I think my teeth are fairly scoopy in the front and not flat. I always wondered about those things too. Couple that with hushed conversations about "passing for white" and no matter how I alter my appearance, I fail to pass for white, especially in the U.S. South, I think I finally find out why. Now if only the family could get over the fear of the 1800's and Jim Crow and link up with people who have said they are able to help us prove things. I think the shame and fear are what keep us back the most. If we could lose those that would be great. I just want to be myself and accepted for who I am. I am not out to hit people over the head with things, just wanting to be able to hold my head high.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hi Bree -

      That is good information to have and it makes sense in terms of genetics and migration.

      If your mom is willing, DNA kits are available through National Geographic. Check out their website.


      (put in periods for the DOT)

    • profile image

      Bree 3 years ago

      Wonderful article! I have all of those traits. My father is mostly of Finnish decent with some Swedish. I'm not sure of my mothers heritage because she was adopted, and does not know anything about her biological family.

      Finnish people who immigrated to the U.S during the late 19th to mid 20th were racially discriminated against. The Finnish were considered by Americans to be of Asian decent, & were not considered white. Some Finnish Americans married Native Americans. Their children were called Finndians. The Native Americans, & Finns have many similarities in mannerism, and tradition. They are both stereotypically, storytellers, clannish, stoic, weary of outsiders & hold on to tradition. The original religion/spiritual practices of Finland were based on nature, and animals just like Native American spiritual practices. The Native Americans have their sweat lodges, & Finns have their saunas. Another thing I've noticed is the traditional Finnish yoiking folk songs sounds very similar to Native American spiritual singing.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Yes, and DNA types of testing is becoming less expensive over time. I think that it is the Smithsonian and National Geographic partnership that provides testing kits.

    • profile image 5 years ago from upstate, NY

      It's entirely possible that many people have native American blood and are not aware of it! I have a friend who is over 50% Mohawk Indian and another who has alot of Apache indian blood and they both look more caucasian than not. No doubt that historians have injected a good deal of their own biases into their theories and some culture leave little to no archeological evidence behind. Perhaps genetic testing can provide a more accurate picture of the links between the poeples of the earth and the migration history of the world.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for posting your experience - it's good to hear from others about these phenomena. And it's fun to find out more.

    • teresa8go profile image

      teresa8go 7 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Excellent info! I know that I am part Native American via my mother. I was excited to read that Native Americans have a tendancy toward a wider foot. I wear a WW or EEE width shoe. Now I know where it comes from! A Dr. told me once that the dark circle under my eyes indicated an Asian ancestry. I always figured it had to do with the Native American blood.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for sharing your stories here, Little Kim. Several companies are doing a range of DNA testing and the coasts are lowering, so perhaps you will find out all your heritage for certain in the future. I'll bwe reading your Hubs!

    • Little Kim profile image

      Little Kim 7 years ago from Any town U.S.A.

      I enjoyed your article and can relate. Almost daily I am asked if I am Native American. My mother is South Korean and my dad white. I have high cheek bones and can't wear large frame sun glasses. My co-workers for months thought I was and they were kind of disappointed when I told them no. My husband has Native blood and I look more Native than him. I am drawn to the rythym of a drum cirlce and have to fight the urge to participate. It is a spiritual experience for me and tears well up as if i have found my home. I would love to have my D.N.A checked also because I may have African American blood in my veins also. This I discovered by seeing a photo of a woman on my father's side. I would be honored to have Native American and African American blood flowing through my veins.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for adding all the linkages and experiences, everyone.

    • firstdiem profile image

      firstdiem 7 years ago

      Very informative and detailed. I enjoyed reading this hub and will look for more from you.

    • profile image

      Joey 8 years ago

      Hey I am Berber and they have traced Berber mitochondrial DNA to the Sami People of Scandanavia. We Berbers are the Indigenous people of North Africa ,Morocco,Libya,Algeria,Tunisia,Mauritania,Mali,Niger,

      Sudan and Egypt. So Yea I guess that might be interesting for Some people to know!

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 8 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Great Hub! I am part Cherokee & Creek along with other cultural heritage....

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      What a wonderful name is Salamanca! Thanks for reading and commenting, Kimber777. It's probably a subject that will never be finished, so it's fun.

    • Kimber777 profile image

      Kimber777 8 years ago from PA

      Love your article...I'm from Salamanca, New York:)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      JULY 2008 NEWS:

      The Migration History of Humans: DNA Study Traces Human Origins Across the Continents

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I've been reading materials on the9 subject for over 20 years, so it does not take long to put together a hub about it.

      With all the small groups coming forweard to be recignized, it's nearly impossible to track all of the indigenous peoples in this hemisphere. A thorough book would take a couople of years to put together with all the references. But there may be a good youth study text in it to start with. The elementaty and middle schools could use one.

      Thank Z!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Patty! I saved it for this morning so I would have time to read your hub in peace. It is very impressive. How many hours research does this series represent? I'm still of a mind that you should put it together into book form.

      Absolutely perfect HUB.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      djtphn1 - Commendations to you and bless you for your public health nursing career. It is very important and you do much good in the world! I would love to participate in a sweat lodge. One group in southern Ohio opens one to the public for a month or so in the summer. I will plan to go. The culture of the Ho Chunk and others is just incredible. I'm 3/8 mohawk and plan to try to visit the reservation that straddles new york and canada.

      Panic 39 - thank fors for the encouragement! Please add anything else you would like others to know, as you read the series.

    • Panic 39 profile image

      Panic 39 10 years ago

      This is a very good hub. I am part Native myself. I am looking forward to reading the next one. Thank You!

    • profile image

      yeea 10 years ago


    • djtphn1 profile image

      djtphn1 10 years ago from Riverside County, California

      Interesting....i was actually a public health nurse in Los Angeles county and San Bernardino counties and my job was to educate the Native population on wellness and prevention of disease...I actually even dated a full blooded Ho Chunk Native man for some time....and participated in the sweat lodges with them. It is a beautiful culture....nice hub, think I will have to digg it.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Iouun, I will attempt to find that film. Different batches of humans is a good point. Maybe true. :)

      Writerlady - keep writing and let yourself fall into a flow - a rythym of words that flow with the pictures that you may choose. Soon, it seems to happen aalmost on its own. I look forward to more writerlady hubs. :)

    • writerlady profile image

      writerlady 10 years ago from South

      You're such a good writer. I can only hope to be as good as you one day!!

    • profile image

      Iðunn 10 years ago

      Patty I think you are right that there might be different, well, let's call them "batches" of human beings over time with significant differences although I'm not sure what that implies and I'll be honest enough to admit I partially think that from fictional reading - the jean auel series. :p

      I don't know if you have seen the movie "Rapa Nui" but if you haven't it's fascinating on many levels and worst case, magnificent entertainment. I suspect you'd enjoy it. I know I did.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Iouun - Thanks for reading! I read an old book about how the stones at Stonehange were dug up in Wales and transported to their site by Africans that had migrated to Ireland. I found this hard to believe, to hard to have been accomplished. So there are many questions about people and migration aren't there? I think there are some groups of people on Earth that may not be related to others humans,

      Francis - Thanks for the comments - I know little about the Philipines and need to read more about them. Perhaps islanders did come from elsewhere in Asia originally. Thanks for the idea.

    • Francis Moran profile image

      Francis Moran 10 years ago from Paramount, CA

      your research is akin to the ancient peoples who travelled the land bridges of Asia during the great Ice Age. these were the same ones who eventually inhabited such places as the Philippines and other Asian countries.

      again another very informative hub!

    • profile image

      Iðunn 10 years ago

      the migration theories are indeed fascinating.  sharing words, or types of Gods etc.  I remember watching a movie about the Birdmen of Easter Island and later a doco showing how difficult it would be for the related group to have arrived there by trying to do it themselves in a boat built by the standards of the times.  They had to abandon the quest, if I remember correctly.

      I had some interest once in the etymology of language which was semi-related.

      As usual, great hub.