Ancestry DNA and the Manipulation of Afro-Indian Identity

Ancestry DNA and the Manipulation of Afro-Indian Identity

Chapter in:
The First and the Forced: Essays on the Native American and African American Experience
285 pages
University of Kansas, Hall Center for the Humanities

Edited by James N. Leiker, Kim Warren, and Barbara Watkins

Chapter pages: pages 141-155

Arica L. Coleman, Assistant Professor of Black American Studies
Unverisity of Delaware

Arica Coleman explains the rise in popularity of Ancestry DNA testing to determine more clearly an ancestral past for African Americans and Native Americans. In this essay, she shows that claims made by commercial companies promising to provide missing evidence for African and indigenous origins are more exaggerated than current genetic technology can deliver. Promises that a DNA test can provide a verification of Native American tribal relationships or define a link to an African tribe are misleading. Coleman argues that Ancestry DNA results are largely based on speculation and can vary from one company to the next. She also asserts that in developing identities, a shared history and ancestral consciousness, including knowledge transmitted through oral history, culture, and daily activities, should not be replaced by genetic technologies.

Read the entire chapter here.

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