Enrolled Cherokee Genetics

barbara oliver - Genetic

Barbara Roasting Ear Oliver, a rancher in Ashland, Ore., is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and participant in DNA Consultants’ Cherokee DNA Study Phase III. Photo by Gerry Katz; used by permission.

Genetic data on U.S. government enrolled Cherokees were published for the first time two years ago, in 2016.[1] Previously, the only data on Cherokee Indians available for identity testing or genealogy purposes comprised our company’s two samples, U.S. Cherokee Admixed (n=62) and U.S. Cherokee Admixed (n=92).

DNA Consultants is and has been for many years the only DNA testing company to give ancestry results based on Cherokee data. No other companies have Cherokee DNA.

The U.S. Census bureau estimates the Cherokee are the largest Indian group in the country, with a population of 331,000 (2007), or 15% of all American Indians. “A rule of thumb in genealogy circles is that anyone who can trace one of their American ancestors back to 1790 or earlier has at least some degree of American Indian admixture, however small,” says Donald Yates, principal investigator of DNA Consultants. “Since the Cherokee were the most favored marriage partners on the frontier, a lot of interest attaches to their genetic legacy.”

S. Kanthaswamy et al, “Native American Population Data Based on the Globalfiler Autosomal STR loci,” Forensic Science International: Genetics 24:e12-e13.

How useful DNA Consultants’ data for admixed Cherokee might be can be judged from the experience of the Western Cherokee Nation of Arkansas & Missouri (Murl Dean Pierson, Executive Director, Mansfield, Mo.). On June 1, 2018, this non-federally-recognized tribe concluded a DNA case study with 26 members, all of whom claimed Cherokee and Western Cherokee/Old Settlers ancestry. Compiled by Larry DeWayne Wingo of Yukon, Okla., the study used DNA Consultants’ Cherokee DNA Test. The results indicated that 21 or 80% of Western Cherokee had a high match to U.S. Cherokee Admixed (n=62), the first available dataset.

Shown also was that 26 out of 26 or 100% of Western Cherokee significantly matched the second available Cherokee population, U.S. Cherokee Admixed (n=92).

In a detailed comparison of reports, all participants also matched associated populations, closely or somewhat closely, including Native American – Michigan (n=29), Native American – Lumbee (n=106) and Native American – Florida (n=105).

These alignments seem quite astonishing for “admixed” Cherokee, but what about “enrolled”? Presumably, this is a purer, less admixed type. Individuals’ DNA with more Cherokee in their ancestry should more closely match enrolled members—those who belong to the official government tribes, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (which asserts itself legally as simply “the” Cherokee Nation), the United Keetoowah Tribe of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The Cherokee data from the recent study by Kanthaswamy et al. are part of a major supplement to American Indian forensics representing the following tribes:

North American Native Americans (n = 533)
U.S. Creek/Muskogean Indians (n=6)
U.S. Apache and Mojave Indians (n=88)
U.S. Cherokee Enrolled (n=34)
U.S. Chippewa Indians (n=22)
Mississippi – Choctaw Indians (n=7)
Mexico – Baja California – Cochimi Indians (n=26)
Mexico – Nayarit and Jalisco – Cora (n=64)
Mexico and U.S. – Cucupa/Cocobah Indians  (n=11)
Canada – Northwest Territories – Dogrib (n=6)
Canada – Yukon Territory – Eskimo (n=11)
Mexico – Nayarit and Jalisco – Huichol (n=30)
Mexico -Baja California –  Kilwa Indians  (n=13)
U.S. and Mexico – Kumeyaay/Diegueno Indians (n=15)
California – Miwok Indians (n=33)
Canada – British Columbia – Nootka Indians  (n=9)
Mexico – Sonora – Seri Indians (n=29)
South Dakota – Sioux (n=5)
Mexico (Northern) – Tarahumara or Raramuri Indians  (n=5)
Arizona – Hualapai and Yavapai Indians (n=52)
Mexico (Central) – Nahua – Atocpan or Otomi and Cuetzalan Indians  (n=11)
U.S. and Mexico – Kumeyaay/Diegueno and PaiPai Indians (n=27)

The  Kanthaswamy study will likely remain the indispensable source-to-cite for years to come.

In the new Cherokee sample, a value of 15 STRs for D3S1358, one of the 15 standard loci examined, has a frequency of .37879; in other words, almost 40% of enrolled Cherokees carry it. As such, it stands out significantly. But among other Indians it is even higher. Navajo Indians in Arizona have a frequency of .739, almost twice as high as Cherokees, while North American Indians as a whole (population 467, n=533) have a frequency of .546. The world average is .29019153. One of the lowest frequencies is in Ashkenazi Jews (only about 18% have it).

RankWorld Population Matches
1Native American – Arizona – Navajo (n = 93)
2Native American – Arizona – Apache (n = 99)
3Native American – Choles – Chiapas, Mexico (n = 109)
4Native American – Salishan – British Columbia (n = 104)
5Russia – Sojot (n = 29)
6Native American – Salishan (n = 47)
7Peruvian – Mesa Redonda Lima (n = 151)
8Ecuadorian – Kichwas (n = 115)
9Mexican – Hidalgo – Metztitlan (n = 180)
10India – Paraiyar (n = 21)
11Argentinian – Salta/Puna/Cobres (n = 100)
12Peruvian (n = 100)
13El Salvadoran (n = 228)
14Guatemalan Mestizo (n = 200)
16Colombian – South Andean Occidental (n = 125)
17Native American – Alaskan Inupiat (n = 109)
18Russia – Altai Turkic (n = 68)
19Ecuadorian (n = 150)
20Bangladeshi – British Columbia (n = 50)
21Argentinian – Salta (n = 83)
22Russia – Korean (n = 49)
23Korean – Western U.S. (n = 63)
24Russia – Khamnigan (n = 95)
25El Salvadoran (n = 296)
26Native American – Minnesota (n = 100)
27Hispanic – Southwestern U.S. (n = 105)
28Chinese – Beijing-Han (n = 201)
29Native American – Saskatchewan (n=105)
30Hispanic – U.S. (n = 199)
31Hispanic – California (n = 105)
32Native American – Minnesota (n = 203)
33Hispanic – North Carolina (n = 157)
34India – Gope (n = 60)
35Native American – Alaskan Athabaskan (n = 101)
36Mexican – Nuevo Leon (n =143)
37Japanese – Kanagawa (n = 110)
38Mexican – Northeastern – Mestizo (n = 143)
39Japanese – Eastern U.S. (n = 79)
40Native American – Minnesota (n = 191)
41Japanese – Tokyo (n = 650)
42Colombian – Northeastern – Santander (n = 99)
43Japanese – Western U.S. (n = 75)
44Korean (n = 500)
45Chinese – Beijing (n = 198)
46India – Karan (n = 62)
47Russia – Buryat Mongols (n = 78)
48Russia – Chukchi (n = 15)
49Japanese (n = 508)
50Native American – Saskatchewan (n = 40)

The first half of available matches in the frequency of this allele are almost all Native American or Asian populations. African or European matches fall toward the bottom. There is a pronounced concentration of the marker in Native American or Asian populations and a marked low occurrence in African or Middle Eastern or European. At the bottom of the cline is Slovakians and Austrians. According to this one measure, these are the two peoples who are most unlike Native Americans.

The distribution pattern for this Native American allele approximates that of the First Peoples and Aztlan Genes, two other American Indian autosomal markers.

world ancestry map d3 15

Reconciling this pattern with world migration patterns, we can state: 1) the gene is strongest throughout the New World, 2) it seems to have traveled there through a bottleneck process from East and Central Asia, 3) it is, like all alleles, represented to some degree (a small one in this case) in Central and South Africa, the birthplace of all humans and their full diversity, 4) it is virtually absent in Europe and the Middle East and 5) it experienced its greatest expansion in the Americas after Europe was settled, through a process of concentration, isolation and genetic drift.

What other alleles are modal in the new Cherokee population? We can easily construct a complete genotype as shown in the profile below, with comparisons:[2]

LocusAllele AAllele BDY




Pop. 422Pop. 465

Comparisons refer to DNA Consultants proprietary 18 marker ethnic panel (Jewish I etc.), Rare Genes from History (e.g., Akhenaten Gene), Donald Yates profile (DY), Teresa Yates profile (TY) and the two previous Cherokee datasets, U.S. Cherokee Admixed (n=62) (Pop. 62) and U.S. Cherokee Admixed (n=92) (Pop. 465).

In DNA Consultants nomenclature, this Cherokee profile matches our Native American Marker II, Thuya Gene, Jewish III Marker, European I Marker, Sub-Saharan African Marker II, First Peoples Gene, Akhenaten Gene, Jewish I Marker, Jewish IV Marker, Native American I Marker (.5), European II Marker and Amerind Gene. These matches suggest Cherokees are a mixed population with Native American, European, Egyptian, Jewish and African components.

Such a picture of Cherokee ethnicity is consistent with the anomalous mitochondrial haplogroup distribution presented in Cherokee DNA Studies: Real People Who Proved the Geneticists Wrong and tribal history sketched in Donald N. Yates, Old World Roots of the Cherokee, with its mixed East Mediterranean and Asiatic origins in a third century BCE colonization event from Ptolemaic Egypt.

The results contradict the widely held view that original Cherokee Indians lacked genetic inputs from European, Middle Eastern and other non-American-Indian gene pools. See “Cherokee Unlike Other Indians.”

Which interpretation of the new genetic data for Cherokee Indians is correct, DNA Consultants’ or the rest of the genetics and American Indian community? Will the real Cherokee Indian please stand up?

ADDENDUM:  I couldn’t wait to test my own DNA fingerprint against the Enrolled Cherokee sample (n=33). It came up as my no. 3 match, higher than my matches to the “Admixed Cherokees”! —Donald N. Yates


  Comments: 20

  1. I would like to know where I came out on this test also. My Cherokee DNA test is on file.

  2. Very Interesting report.
    I take it Enrolled Cherokee (n=33) will become a fingerprint by itself?

  3. I am pleased to say I was part of this case study. I’m very proud of my Cherokee Bloodline. I was told by my family about my Native American Bloodline, But, I must say there is a big difference in being told and having “PROOF” , I think everyone should know their DNA, that is when your ancestors will come alive and be part of the way you look at history, With Respect.

  4. my sister Evelyn Bellamy Savage (55315) joined your tribe several years ago. She has passed away. I would like to join you also in that l am looking forward to become a card carrying Cherokee and I received my DNA in 2009.

    Please let me know what I need to join.

    Garland (Buddy) Bellamy

    • Jessica McManus Paul

      You cannot join any of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes by using DNA. You must be able to prove your lineage back to someone on either the Dawes Roll (Which was only people actually living in Oklahoma in the years 1898-1906) or the 1924 Baker Roll (North Carolina Cherokee)

      There is no other way to join a true Cherokee tribe. But please be aware that there are many “fake” tribes out there. NEVER ever pay to join a tribe. That is your first clue that it is not a federally/state recognized tribe.

      I am sharing links for the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes enrollment information. See below.

      ****There are some Native American tribes who are recognized by certain State governments that are not federally recognized.




  5. Well, that could be but we now have Enrolled Cherokee data. I for one match that population in position #3, a pretty strong indication of non-fake ancestry. Other customers taking an update also prove to have consistently high matches to the new “official Cherokee” population. All Native Americans are mixed today and there probably are very, very few “full bloods,” even among such tribes as the Hopi and Seminole and Sioux. It looks like only admixture allowed some of them to survive the onslaught of European diseases.

    • I agree with Don Yates.

    • I have done my dna with you all and I have pretty strong matches with Cherokee, one being Enrolled and First Peoples Gene, too. I was wondering if you could tell me how I can see the two lists of the Enrolled peoples. Dawes and Bakers, I think they are called. I don’t understand some of the info, but was curious if I could possibly see that list, to see if any of my relatives are on it! I have distant relatives that reside in Oklahoma today and I live in Ky where my Great Great Great grandparents walked and built there cabin while staying in a cave in the mean time and started the place that’s now called Wolfe County, Ky. They are buried in Cairnes on a mountain near the cave. Please let me know the info about the Lists of the Enrolled Cherokee.
      Thank You,
      Dora Kay Hollon.

      • U.S. Cherokee – Enrolled (n=33) data comes from the published study by Ng et al (2016) but there are no names. All participants were anonymous. Dawes and Baker rolls are all online or can be ordered in book form from Blankenship.

  6. I received my Cherokee DNA Update Report on August 12, 2018 which indicated that I have matches with US Cherokee Admixed (n=62, US Cherokee Admixed (n=92) and US Cherokee Enrolled (n=33), I also had four additional Native American Markers in my top 50 Matches. To my surprise I also had a Rare Genes From History Match with “The First Peoples Gene”.

    • Hi, Larry,
      That’s funny that I did my DNA with DNA Consultants in August 2022 and mine has all the same readings yours has. Almost the exact. #1 US Cherokee -Admixed (n=62), #20 US Cherokee – Admixed (n=92), #32 Native American- Florida (n=105), #53 US Cherokee- Enrolled (n=33) and Megapopulations- American Indian #9
      Also had the Rare Genes and First Peoples Gene, also. Got Certificates of both. ❤️👍

  7. I have had my DNA tested through Ancestry and through 23-and-Me, with fairly comparable results- so I know what my genes are. Their breakdown indicated that I has less than 1% Native ancestry; but I have to qualify that, because I definitely came back with all of the other groupings that Yates and others have shown as found in the Eastern Band group: basically a variety of north-Middle Eastern, Egyptian, and even Roma (Indian Gypsy)! I do not yet know my grandmother’s mtDNA, since she and my father have both died, but I am going to try to get one of my cousins to whom that DNA passed through one of my aunts, to get tested. How else can we explain T matrilines that are consistent with a roughly 2500 year difference, as compared to modern Levantine T’s? I’m not saying that I’m “certain” of a “Ptolomaic seafaring episode”, but it looks pretty possible to me.

  8. I just received my results back from 23 and Me. Supposedly my grandmother was married to a man who was Cherokee and who’s family came from the reservation in OK. They lived in OK. They were married long enough to have 3 offspring, one of who was my mother. Due to alcohol, the marriage didn’t last long. My uncle and my mother both have Indian features, and now I possess all of the family photos of this man who looks very Indian. My genetics came back only 0.2% Indigenous American Indian but with also small percentages of Congolese, Sub-Saharan, Nigerian, Northern East African, West African, Sri Lankan and Sardinian.. My father’s family comes from Wales so I am mostly NW European (It says Dublin, Ireland on my report). But now I am reading all of the information on this site about the Welch connection to the Cherokee and wonder if there is some overlap in my genetics. My haplogroup came back simply as H1. I am wondering if it is worth it to do genetic testing beyond what I am seeing. I know nothing about this line of my ancestry. I am pretty dark skinned with dark brown eyes, and the rest of my family, with the exception of my mom and uncle, light, so we’ve always found it odd. And of course, no one around to tell the tale. I ended up having 5,000 “relatives” on 23 and Me, and many, many in OK, spread out undoubtedly from this Morgan clan.

  9. If my dad is the one with Cherokee blood, and his mother is Cherokee, (she is no longer alive, and my dad wont do a DNA test) is it a waste of time for myself (being female) to do a DNA test for Native American DNA? My brother did one thru Ancestry, and the only thing that showed up was that he had DNA matching people in the Southeast.
    Thank you,

    • Yes, our method is different from Ancestry and more accurate, more sensitive. We can’t promise any positive results, but we haVe a lot of satisfied customers who were disappointed by the other companies. The reason they don’t get results is they don’t have the data. They do not have Cherokee or any other eastern North American tribe.

  10. Results from DNA test showed Cherokee enrolled n=33. Cherokee admixed n=92. What is next?

  11. Hi! Where how do I get this test

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