September 21, 2013

From Vance Hawkins:

Re: “Racial purity” DNA test slammed as perversion, but (June 18, 2012): I had my DNA tested and it was done to discover racial characteristics of my DNA. However -- I was hoping that it would INCLUDE other races. I look White, but Dad was of a darker complexion. So was my paternal grandma. Photos of my great uncles and aunts (grandma’s brothers and sisters) look Indian. I have written a book “Finding Our Indian Blood” what will be coming out soon. I am proud of it, not ashamed of it. An old tin-type of my great-great (1818-1886) grandma looks pure-blood American Indian. My mother is German, Scots-Irish, and English, all Northern European (I think -- her mother’s maiden name was ‘Jonas’ surname that might be Greek or Jewish -- but we don’t know). Most of Mama’s ancestors are fair skinned, many are blonde haired and blue eyed. But Dad was darker. I had/light brown hair (turning gray). I was raised in Oklahoma where we can trace an ancestor to in the 1830s, as a soldier at Fort Gibson, at a time when Oklahoma was known as ‘Indian Territory’, then returned to Arkansas. We came to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in the 1870s to stay this time. We lived in the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations near the Arkansas River, and were in the Chickasaw Nation at the time Oklahoma became a state in 1907. We were not raised as Indian nor are we enrolled in any tribe. But we have family stories of Indian ancestry. So I took the autosomal DNA test to see what it said.

One test said 90% Caucasian, 7% sub-Sahara African, and only 3 % American Indian. I took the same test from other companies and they said 100 % Caucasian. I don’t think their tests were very accurate. I think the one that said 3% American Indian -- that is 3/100 which is nearly 3/96, which is equal to 1/32nd -- is accurate, or closer to it. I wanted to find a mixture, not purity. That one company simply tested the ‘right’ segments of DNA, the ones where a mixture showed up, and the other didn’t test the segments where it appeared. Also I don’t think enough is known about Eastern tribes that have nearly become extinct, or are extinct -- especially the Eastern Siouan -- Catawba, Saura/Cheraw, Saponi, et cetera. These groups simply died out -- disease, warfare, and of the dilution of blood by mixing with other races -- except for small groups of mixed race people here and there. Sad, but true.

I get upset when people say ‘wannabe’, or something like that. That’s cruel. So I wanted to prove a mixed heritage -- not a pure heritage. The African DNA was a complete surprise -- but those Eastern Siouan groups did mix with slaves -- that’s documented. We have evidence for Cherokee as well -- and everyone claims they are Cherokee, so I do understand why a Cherokee would be tired of hearing this, and use the term ‘wannabe’. Some people ‘want to be’ Cherokee who have no family history of ever living where the Cherokee lived. Well, at least we have ancestors who did live in the Cherokee Nation. We never applied for land allotments -- we are not on the Dawes rolls, accepted OR rejected. Family story says they got mad at someone or something -- don’t know what -- they started to apply but after getting upset for some unknown reason, never applied.

I hope as time goes by, those other companies who haven’t determined a very good test for finding American Indian x-chromosomal DNA will get better at it. Right now they aren’t very good at it.

Although I wasn’t expecting African DNA -- I can accept it. There has always been a stigma attached to African heritage and we all know it. I do remember my Uncle telling me as a child when I was curious about our ancestry, he said (paraphrasing); “be careful, you might not like what you find”. At the time I had no idea what he meant. Not a clue -- but it is one reason I have pursued this research spanning decades, now. I look pretty much Caucasian by complexion. I have been told “you look like a White Indian” though. It wasn’t meant in a good way, but I didn’t mind hearing it. Now am happy to have found a closer version to the truth.

So many of us searching for our ancestry are not ashamed of it, but rather just want to know it. I have an uncle buried in the American Cemetery in Normandy, France, where he was in the 1st American Army, and where he was killed by the Nazis near St Lo, Normandy, France, on July 18th, 1944. Why on earth would I have any love for those bastards, or have any sympathy for them at all?? They killed Uncle Eual Lee! If yall make it impossible for such testing, before they have even perfected the testing for American Indian DNA (which isn’t much good in my opinion, it’s in its infancy), many people who are proud of having American Indian DNA will never be able to prove it. Please don’t make such tests illegal. For every right-wing, mentally-disturbed Nazi sympathizer (and you have to me mentally disturbed to sympathize with them and you can quote me on that) there are probably dozens of others who have legitimate reasons for taking the test.

Vance Hawkins

ps -- I am just as proud of my Saxon-English heritage -- the Hawkins’, Wayland’s and Atteberry’s, and my Scots-Irish -- my McLean’s and Richey’s and German -- Plaschers and Koenigs (Anglicized to Plaster and King) -- as the mixed race part. But the European heritage is easily researched -- the ‘other’ requires digging and digging just to find evidence, and evidence that falls short of proof, on most occasions. DNA evidence however, is proof positive! DNA testing is good for more than disease research -- it is good for Genealogy research as well.


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