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Opinion: History links Native Americans and African Americans

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: dna, race

"Blacks in America are intertwined with that history, and yet the evidence they possess is mostly anecdotal, such as the grandmother who had long, straight black hair, high cheekbones or a red tint to her skin.

While most African-Americans would likely say they have Indian blood flowing in their veins, DNA testing suggests that fewer than 10 percent of black people are of Native American ancestry. To be exact, 5 percent of African-Americans have at least 12.5 percent Native American ancestry, meaning at least one great-grand parent. In contrast, 58 percent of black Americans have at least 12.5 percent white ancestry.

Many of the notable African Americans who participated in the PBS documentary miniseries African American Lives, including Oprah Winfrey, believed they were part Native American until the facts proved them wrong. The program, hosted by Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, used DNA testing and genealogical and historical research to help blacks connect with their previously unknown ancestors.

Meanwhile, actor Don Cheadle learned his ancestors were enslaved by the Chickasaw Nation."

Get the Story:
David A. Love: Native American roots in Black America run deep (The Grio 11/22)

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