I just did my ancestry dna and found out I’m 44% Native American. I was adopted into a family at the age of four. I was always told I was native but I never had proof until last year. How do I see if I qualify for funds?
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.