A DNA Test For Tribe Enrollment
DNA Testing For Native American Tribes
A legally admissible DNA test can be performed between a known tribal member and another individual to determine if they have a biological relationship that will allow tribal enrollment.
The reason for Tribal enrollment requiring genetic proof if identity is to preserve the unique character and traditions of each tribe. Specific guidelines for tribal enrollment are set generally set forth in a tribes constitution or ordinances. Criteria for membership may vary from tribe to tribe, so it is always best to contact the tribe you believe you are affiliated with for specific information.
However, there is a standard requirement for membership: having a genetic relationship from someone named on the tribe’s roll, or a relationship to a tribal member who descended from someone named on the roll. A tribal roll is the original list of members as designated in a tribal constitution or other document specifying enrollment qualifications.
How To Apply For Enrollment In A Tribe
First you should document your native ancestry from family records, determining the the tribe your ancestor was a member of. We strongly encourage you to start with family history first, and not a DNA test to determine if you have any “tribal blooodlines.” Currently in DNA testing done on a consumer level, there is not a DNA test that will identify with any degree of accuracy, if you you have genetic ties to a specific tribe. There are companies that promote this type DNA test, however it is not seen as accurate. and is not accepted. by any tribe as proof of tribal relationship. This includes common ancestry type tests.
Second, contact the tribe directly to obtain the specific steps for enrollment and recognition as a tribal member. Each tribe will make their own decision as to whether a person who wants to be a member is allowed to be enrolled. Every tribe maintains it’s own enrollment records about past members. To obtain information about your eligibility for membership, you need to contact the tribe directly.
Finding The Tribe You May Share Native American Ancestry With
We suggest you use the The Tribal Leaders Directory that is published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIS). This resource lists 574 federally recognized American Indian Tribes, as well as Alaskan Natives. In addition, it provides a list of all Regions, Agencies and Offices that are coordinated through the BIA.
Proving A DNA Relationship Once You Have Found Your Tribe
Once you have identified the tribe, and have contacted them for their requirements, you can then establish a blood line relationship. This is done with an AABB accredited DNA test, commonly called a “legal” DNA test. A chain of custody DNA test requires an authorized DNA collector to obtain the DNA samples of both the person wanting to enroll and a current relative who is a tribal member. This is usually done with a mouth swab. Verification of identities are obtained, as well as authorization signatures. The DNA specimens are then provided to the lab for testing. Once the testing is completed, usually in 1-2 business days, a legally admissible report that is notarized is provided, along with a copy of the chain of custody. DNA results are then provided to the person who orded the test, and they provide it to the tribal enrollment office.
Testing can be done to establish paternity, maternity, full or half sibling, grandpaternity, avuncular relationships, and male lineage through a Y-Chromosome test. For questions on which test is right for you, we are happy to provide you with a free consultation.
Your Privacy Is Guaranteed
We will only use your DNA sample only for Tribal Enrollment relationship testing when you request the test. Your DNA information will not be used for research, to answer medical or other scientific questions. We also will not provide a DNA profile to any private or government database.
Most Often Asked Questions About Tribal Enrollment DNA Testing
Some tribes require as much as 25% Native heritage, and most require at least 1/16th Native heritage, which is one great-great grandparent.
Having Native American ancestors or Indigenous American DNA does not make someone a Native American tribal citizen. There are differences between a person’s genetic, political, and cultural identities. Native American tribal members are citizens of their nations.
No current direct-to-consumer DNA test can definitively state that ancestral relationships are aligned with any particular tribe. DNA tests that advertise they can give you percentage of indigenous heritage you have, in our opinion, are not very accurate and generally not worth the money spent on them.
The only way you can validate if you belong to a certain tribe, and are entitled to enrollment, if to test directly for paternity, or with another first order relative for siblingship, grandpaternity, or an aunt or uncle who is already a tribal member.
Yes! We work with over 3,500+ approved DNA collectors, and will set an appointment for each person testing at the location nearest them. Appointments can be on different days and times as well.
Once all DNA samples being tested are in our lab, we will have notarized results for you to deliver to the tribe in 1-2 business days.