A few weeks ago, we learned more about the Blackfeet Nation in Northwest Montana, thanks to one of its members, Darrell “Dusty” Crawford. The Blackfeet Nation consists of four different groups that speak Siksiká, and they live on the border between Canada and the USA.
The Desire to Learn
Crawford decided to get his genetics tested because his brother, Alvin “Willy” Crawford, wanted to know more about their ancestry. Like many of our customers, he came to CRI Genetics to learn about his biogeographical origins. In other words, he wanted to know where he came from, stretching way back into prehistory.
We were able to test his DNA all the way back to 55 generations, or 17,000 years, with 99% confidence!
A Mother’s Line
Dusty belongs to mtDNA Haplogroup B2, one of four major haplogroups that’s prevalent among Native Americans. Haplogroup B2 is unusual amongst Native American haplogroups because there is very little evidence that they crossed the land bridge between Russia and Alaska.
Most haplogroups spread from the north to the south, as you would expect from a land bridge crossing. Strangely, mtDNA haplogroup B2 spread from the South to the North, and it is most commonly found in Peru. This evidence suggests that Crawford’s ancestors crossed the Pacific Ocean sometime during the last Ice Age. This is bolstered by the fact that many native Pacific Islanders only belong to mtDNA haplogroup B2. Additionally, their closest mtDNA haplogroup, B4b1, is found in Southeast Asia.
During the last Ice Age (about 20,000 years ago), sea levels were about 130 meters (426 feet) lower than they are today. What are now underwater mountain ranges would have been islands during this time. In other words, what seems like an impossible trip for small boats today would have been possible back then.
The route we believe his ancestors took across the Pacific. Each blue bump represents an underwater mountain range. Image Courtesy of National Geographic
Unfortunately, his brother passed away before he could learn the results of the test. Dusty was never able to tell his brother about his unique heritage. Dusty and his family are in our thoughts here at CRI Genetics, because we believe DNA results are best enjoyed with family -- it’s the most exciting part of the journey.
What Are You Waiting For?
Many companies offer DNA tests with a wide variety of different services. At CRI Genetics, we use patented DNA analysis algorithms to trace your family’s history back thousands of years. After sending in your completed test, we will analyze your DNA and summarize your results in an advanced, easy-to-read genetic report. We can also provide you with information about potential health complications you may be at risk for.
Improve your life through genetic testing by ordering your own DNA test online! If you still have questions, we’d love to give you the answers you’re looking for. For more information, call us at 1-800-571-9216 or reach out to us online.