Currently 23andMe has several features that can reveal genetic evidence of Indigenous American ancestry, although they are not considered a confirmatory test or proof of such ancestry in a legal context.
It is important to note that even if an individual in your family tree was considered to be Indigenous American, your own DNA may not reveal the Indigenous American ancestry because each parent only passes down a random half of their DNA each generation.
The Ancestry Composition Report estimates what percent of your DNA comes from each of our populations worldwide, reaching back about 500 years. It also tells you about your connection to different genetic groups, which reflect specific locations where your ancestors likely lived during the last few hundred years, or may reflect shared ancestry with groups of people who identified as belonging to a certain ethnic group or sharing some other form of connection. Genetic groups typically represent ancestry on a more recent timescale than what is reflected by your population percentages. Both of these analyses look at DNA you inherited from ancestors on both sides of your family.
Your results may include evidence of DNA from the native peoples of North, Central, and South America, labeled "Indigenous American."
In addition, you may receive a likely or highly likely match to one or more of 8 the genetic groups identified in our analyses within North America. These genetic groups are:
- Columbia River Basin
- Great Basin & Lower Colorado Basin
- Great Lakes and Canada
- South Central
Further information about these genetic groups and the methods used to assign them can be found in this blog post, titled “A new analysis sheds light on some customers’ Indigenous genetic ancestry from North America.”
For more information about the samples we use in our reference populations, see our Reference Populations article.
Note that this feature does not specify ancestry from a particular Indigenous American group.
These reports may indicate evidence of Indigenous American ancestry based on your maternal or paternal haplogroup assignment. The specific associations between each haplogroup and its geographic origins are described in each report. Though there are a few exceptions, the maternal haplogroups found in unbroken Indigenous American maternal lineages include branches of haplogroups A2, B2, C1 and C4, D1 and X2a. Paternal haplogroups associated with unbroken Indigenous American paternal lineage are almost entirely limited to specific branches of haplogroups C and Q.