Native Americans Have Deep Ancestry in Europe

Shocking, Long Overdue Revision to American Indian Genetics

By Donald N. Yates

The ecstatic waters . . .

Through their ancestral patterns dance.

—William Butler Yeats, “News for the Delphic Oracle”

We’ve been saying it all along but it looks as though geneticists may be forced by new findings in ancient DNA to admit that early Siberian people and present-day Native Americans both have strong roots in Europe, only secondarily in Asia. The nuclear genetic bomb was dropped by Danish geneticist Eske Willerslev at a conference on “First Americans Archeology,” held October 16-19, 2013, at Santa Fe, N.M. The city that gave birth to the original atom bomb hosted a glittering roster of speakers in a venue better known for its turquoise jewelry, fry bread and avante garde art, including big draws Achilli, Adovasio, Dillehay, Gonzalez and Schurr.

The paradigm-shifting conference program will be commemorated with a book Paleoamerican Odyssey ($56) to be published by Texas A&M Press later this year.


Leaked reports in the news media focused on Willerslev’s paper, “Genetics as a Means for Understanding Early Peopling of the Americas,” which concerned the genetic sequencing of two ancient Siberians’ bones discovered in the 1920s and now in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Analysis of a bone in one of the arms of a boy found near the village of Mal’ta close to Lake Baikal yielded the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date.

Of the 24,000 year-old skeleton that was Exhibit A, Willerslev was quoted in The Siberian Times, as saying, “His DNA shows close ties to those of today’s Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia.” He added, “The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today’s Native Americans can be traced to ‘western Eurasia.'”

The 4-year-old boy, who died 24,000 years ago in a homeland previously assumed to account for all the Indians who crossed a theoretical Bering land-bridge and founded the First Americans, had a male Y-chromosomal haplogroup of R1b, the most common lineage in modern Europe, and a female mitochondrial lineage of U, the dominant prototype in pre-historic Europe. As it happens, I am the same combination, R1b for male and U for female, as are innumerable others in our in-house study on Cherokee DNA, published, lo, some five years ago.

Whereas previous “peopling of the Americas” stuff has clung to and recycled haplogroup studies (sex-lines), the new shock research relies on autosomal DNA, total genomic contributions from all ancestral lines, not just male-only, not just female-only descent. The title of a blog from Eurogenes rightly emphasizes this:  “Surprising aDNA [autosomal] results from Paleolithic Siberia (including Y DNA R).”

When we introduced the 18-Marker Ethnic Panel as an enhancement for our main autosomal product, DNA Fingerprint Plus, lo, again, these five years now and counting, we presented a map of prehistoric human migrations showing without any equivocation that “Native Americans,” even as Cavalli-Sforza demonstrated two decades ago, were closer in genetic distance to Europeans than Asians. In fact, we claimed, on the basis of autosomal DNA, that having Native American I or Native American II was a result discrete and separate from East Asian, since Native Americans obtained frequencies of its occurrence as high as 80% and Asians were on the polar opposite of the scale, at the bottom for carrying it. Other methods frequently confused Native American and East Asian to the point of invalidity, particularly those products claiming to arrive at racial or ethnic percentages.

The moral is that autosomal DNA trumps Y chromosome and mitochondrial evidence, and only ancient autosomal DNA can truly explain modern DNA. Even one of the most antipathetic students of American Indian DNA, Theodore G. Schurr, seems to rethinking the rigid definitions that have built careers and won tenure for geneticists and anthropologists for decades. For the fanatics who have been toeing the party line on haplogroup Q, as set down by Schurr’s company, Family Tree DNA, and its followers, we note the following statement of recantation or at least qualification, taken from the Santa Fe program:

“Tracing Human Movements across Siberia and into the Americas: New

Insights from Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Data.”

In this paper, I present genetic data from native Siberian and indigenous

populations of North America that help to address questions

about the process and timing of the peopling of the Americas. These

new genetic data indicate that Eskimoan- and Athapaskan-speaking

populations are genetically distinct from one another, as well as each

to Amerindian groups, and that the formation of these circumarctic

populations was the result of two population expansions that occurred

after the initial expansion of settlement of the Americas. Our high-resolution

analysis of Y chromosome haplogroup Q has also reshaped the

organization of this lineage, making connections between New World

and Old World populations more apparent and demonstrating that

southern Altaians and Native Americans share a recent common ancestor.

The data also make clear that Y-chromosomal diversity among the

first Native Americans was greater than previously recognized. Overall,

these results greatly enhance our understanding of the peopling of

Siberia and the Americas from both mtDNA and Y-chromosome


“Genetic genealogy” has become a fashionable buzzword, but to my knowledge few research studies or blogs and hardly any commercial tests authentically combine the two concepts. According to genealogy, I myself am about one-quarter Choctaw-Cherokee and three-quarters European. But genetics says my mitochondrial line (U2e) is Eurasian, even though I have traced it to a Cherokee woman who married the Indian trader Enoch Jordan about 1790 in north Georgia.  Estimates from other “genetic genealogy” companies for my Native American ancestry, and I’ve taken them all, range from 0% (23&me) to 8% (Family Tree DNA, AncestryByDNA).

DNA Consultants, the company I founded in 2003, does not give percentages of ancestry by policy, but half my top matches in our autosomal analysis are Native American, and North Asian/Siberian is No. 1 in my megapopulation result, followed by Central Asian and Native American (and only distantly by Northern European). On an autosomal approach, if not haplogroup basis, my genes are Native American, which is how I self-identify. If I were to be pulled over for being a brown person in the state of Arizona, where I currently reside, and Sheriff Joe ran my DNA profile numbers through the system he would find that I am 15 times more likely to be North Asian than Northern European, and twice as likely to be American Indian than East Asian, European American or Iberian American (Hispanic).

Read the whole analysis of my personal genetics, with actual reports from various companies, in the Cherokee Results pages on the DNA Consultants website. You may also find an extended study showing what autosomal DNA can do at:

Reconstructing Your Ancestry and Parentage (blog post, March 14, 2012)

If and when geneticists get serious about identifying the European sources of the American Indian gene pool, and hopefully they will round up not just one suspect (Denmark?), I would like for those who get paid and promoted to study us to please consider the following points:

—First New Cherokee Data Published in More Than Ten Years (announcement, August 1, 2012) – in-house study described numerous instances of U, findings published in Donald Yates’ Old World Roots of the Cherokee.

—Stephen C. Jett, who taught geography at The Ohio State University 1963-1964 and then at the University of California, Davis, serving thrice as Geography chair and becoming emeritus in 2000, current editor of Pre-Columbiana, has frequently pointed out that just because Native American haplogroups match Siberian haplogroups doesn’t mean the population of either Native America or Siberia was the same in remote history as today. He considered this a big fallacy of Big Science.

—Constantine Rafinesque, whose History of the American Indians was the first and most comprehensive treatment of the subject, believed all the early settlers of the Americas came “through the Atlantic,” and only beginning about 1000 BCE did the Iztacans and Oguzians (Central Asian Turkic peoples) arrive. See our blog: American Indian and Turkic People Share Deep Ancestry (June 6, 2012).

—Canadian environmentalist Farley Mowat, the author of thirty-seven books, has constantly challenged the conventional knowledge that Vikings were the first Europeans to reach North America. In The Farfarers he describes the Alban people of Old Europe as visitors and colonists from the time when walrus hunters discovered the sea routes to the West before the Bronze Age. America’s original name of the White (or Beautiful) Land is mentioned by Rafinesque and in Hindu, Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Arabic, Algonquian Indian, Irish, Norse and Chinese accounts.  See “An Interview with Farley Mowat” on YouTube.

—Cyclone Covey of Wake Forest University, among other historians, has noted that Clovis Culture appears fully formed without any antecedents in America, with the most perfect examples of Clovis points traced in a cline of occurrence in archeological sites to the Atlantic Coast.

—The earliest Americans clearly practiced the same Mother Goddess religion elaborately documented in the east Mediterranean and Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas. Their ideas of matriarchy or gylany (in Riana Eisler’s coinage) did not come from Asia. See Archeologist of the Goddess (webpage) and Syncretism Not Animism (PPT), a presentation given at the Sandy, Utah conference, March 29, 2011.

—When customers of DNA Consultants with various degrees of Native American admixture have their European population matches analyzed, a frequent top result is Finland or Finno-Ugric or Uralic. This “false match” could be explained by shared ancestry between the present-day Finns (where U is the modal haplogroup) and ancestors of Native Americans coming from Europe. Consider taking the EURO DNA test ($99).

—John L. Sorenson and Carl L. Johannessen in World Trade and Biological Exchanges before 1492 (2009) document several plants that originated in the Eastern Hemisphere (not Asia) and traveled early by human hand to the Americas. For instance, Cannabis sativa (marijuana) moved from Western Asia or Europe to Peru by 100 CE, and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) was brought to Mexico from across the Atlantic Ocean by 1500 BCE. Both grow in profusion in Europe and temperate parts of Central Asia. Goosefoot (an important Ohio Valley Moundbuilder staple), cotton, coconuts, bananas, turmeric and North American myrtle likely took the same route. In the opposite direction, Mexican agave spread to the Mediterranean world by 300 BCE.

Archeologists described the recent news from Santa Fe as jaw-dropping. We expect that when the definitive report on the Siberian boy’s 24,000 year-old genome appears in the journal Nature, where it is at press, their hair may fall out. At any rate, the European origins of Indians is going to be a game changer not only in genetics, but anthropology, archeology, government and, perhaps most significantly, in the self-awareness of millions of Americans who count Native Americans among their ancestors.

Human Migration Map from DNA Consultants' 18 Marker Ethnic Panel

Our standard world migration map had the story right years ago.


  Comments: 9

  1. Excellent compilation of information. Please also consider the studies regarding the copper mining of the Michigan peninsula whereby millions of tons of copper were removed during the late bronze age. There is no evidence to suggest that natives mined this copper; however, some studies identified that the bronze rams used in ancient Mediterranean warships have the molecular signature of Michigan copper.

  2. Your work has helped me tease out my NA ancestry.
    Other people have also helped too.
    Dr. Doug McDonald already saw NA for me and included that and significant Middle Eastern the Chromosome painting her did for me.
    Between a few other tests, I definitely see a picture forming for my NA on both sides of my maternal and paternal line.’
    I was confused by the Iberian, Finnish, Siberian, Levant/Middle Eastern, North African, Eskimo, Turk, Southeastern India trace results I was getting, those amount from total of 40 to 57 percent.
    When here I grew up thinking I was mainly Scottish with touch of Native American.
    I’m Haplogroup H, but I know the NA is from my Maternal Grandmother’s Father’s side and my Paternal Grandfather’s Mother’s side and my Paternal Grandmother’s Father’s side also.
    All those line shave been in US since 1600s. Del/Maryland/Virginia/NC and also New York, CT and Mass.

  3. I am curious if the history of the Forrest Finns in New Sweden has been considered. The Finns were among the earliest groups to leave the Eastern Colonies through the Cumberland Gap. As the Finns were very friendly with the Lenape it makes sense there would have been mixed babies even before they left Delaware. Since this is almost 400 years ago the markers would be very dispersed today. Native American peoples also went through a series of bottlenecks after the Finns migrated, including from diseases the Finns would have already been exposed to. So Finnish genes would be more likely to survive.

  4. The red deer was not present in Europe prior to the end of the last ice age and is the same species as the American elk,European domesticated sheep are more closely related to American sheep than to any European species and the banded wood snail is not an invasive species to America but an invasive species to Europe.It would have been impossible for these animals to have crossed any ice sheets so how did it happen?

  5. Crossing Oceans before Columbus
    By Jack Burgess – 2019
    The earth’s oceans and seas have been a psychological block to open-mindedness about travel in pre-modern times, and about the possibilities of peoples coming to North and South America before Columbus. But they have not really been a physical block, as this paper illustrates.

    -(1)- Ants, Riding a Leaf: The desire and need to cross water is as old as creatures and water. There are stories of finger-sized ants crossing the Amazon River on leaf-rafts. It seems highly likely that humans have been crossing large bodies of water as long as both have existed together.
    -(2)- Dugout Canoes: Dugout canoes–up to 8’ wide–have been used around the world, since about 5000 b.c.e.—from the Americas (shown below from the Pacific N.W.) to China, Europe and Africa. Dugouts unearthed in England were carrying traces of materials from Africa and the Middle East.

    West to East? A huge cache of pre-Columbian canoes were uncovered on the east coast of Florida, raising a question of possible Gulf Stream crossings from N. America to Europe —as described in The American Discovery of Europe, by Jack Forbes. If a floating object gets into the Gulf Stream, it usually ends up in NW Europe. (Columbus was aware of these currents). – (3)-

    Catamaran dugouts (below) or outriggers were and are used by Polynesians and others to cross the Pacific, from Asia to the Americas, and possibly the other direction as well. –(4)-

    Skin Boats People learned to cover small boats, and they are still used today by Inuits to hunt in the Artic. Such boats could have been used by Solutreans during the Ice Age. -(5)-
    ANCIENT TIMES – Thor Heyerdahl proved—by doing it—that people could have sailed from Africa to the Carribean in papyrus boats.
    Heyerdal’s Ra II, which reached the coastal islands of Central America before being swamped. Presumably ancients sailors might have had the experience and knowledge to build stronger boats. Papyrus and other reeds are still ussed for boat building in Iraq and Bolivia. –(6)-

    Heyerdahl used drawings in Egyptian pyramids for his boat designs. He employed Egyptians and others in building the boats.
    Cutaway of Phonecian merchant ship –(8)-
    Phonecians appear in the story as far back as 1500 b.c.e—and are still boatbuilders and sailors in Lebanon today.


    Pythias of Greece was the first recorded European sailor in the Arctic region. He circumnavigated Britain and may have reached Iceland, around 600 BCA. Greek ships—like most ships in ancient times—used oars and sails. It was estimated by Pliny that ships averaged about 4 to 6 knots per hour in Eurpean waters. (1 knot = 1.15mph). (Obviously, the speed could vary a lot depending on winds, currents, oars, and obstacles such as islands. Columbus took about 5 weeks to reach the Bahamas from the Canary Islands).
    Phoenicians (1500 BCE to today’s Lebanese) were noted boatbuilders (see above) and sailors in ancient times, with most of it being for trade and developing new markets. We know they circumnavigated Africa, sailed to Britain and the Baltic multiple times. Carthage, in N. Africa, across from Italy was originally one of their colonies and came to dominate the Mediterranean, Iberia, and North Africa. They were unexcelled in sea warfare, until the Romans figured out how to board their ships and defeat them hand-to-hand.

    Medieval to Modern Times

    In The Farfarers,(1998) Canadian writer and explorer Farley Mohat describes ship-shaped rock sites in eastern Canada (above) that appeared to him to be wintering stations for Albans—a people from western Britain whom he asserts traveled the Atlantic following the retreating walrus—and to escape the Vikings. –(9)-

    In the Orkney Ilands one can find houses with boat, or faux-boat roofs. Below is an example:

    Indiginous peoples have disputed Mowat’s Farfarer theories, arguing that early native cultures from western and eastern Arctic groups left the rock piles and other artifacts.

    The Brendan II—a leather boat, built in medieval fashion by Irish writer Tim Severn, with a small crew, crossed the Atlantic from Ireland to New York in the 1970’s, retracing the storied trip of St. Brendan, in ca. 480 C.E.

    -(12)- Basque fishing boat: The Basques are an ancient people who settled in NW Iberia and Southern France in ancient times. It has been believed by many that they were fishing in Newfoundland waters around the time of Columbus’ voyages. (Cartier is said to have seen them leaving the St.Laurence as he sailed in).Were they descentands of Solutreans who may have crossed the Atlantic in the Ice Age, from the same region of Europe to the eastern coast of North America?

    -(13) Vikings were in Greenland as early as 900 B.C.E., and remained until at least the 1300’s. The famous dragon head on their ships may have started as the head of the animals whose skins they used to make boats. (See UIRALA online for an interesting discussion of early peoples of the North).


    Voyagers from Mali, 1310?
    Ivan Van Sertima asserts in They Came Before Columbus, that people from Mali traveled to the Americas. Above are boats used in W. Africa today which have crossed the Atlantic in recent years with refugees from conflicts there. Ancient African sailors are often depicted in papyrus boats, not unlike Heydahl’s Ra. Van Sertima’s writings, like all those that contradict the Columbus-first establishment are not generally accepted, and the division is often along racial lines.
    Chinese Ship Compared to Spanish -(15)-

    The Santa Maria, Columbus’ biggest ship was only 56 feet long and 18 feet wide. This artist’s rendering illustrates how easy it was for the Chinese to explore The Americas and other parts of the world. S.L. Lee and others have demonstrated with more than a preponderance of the evidence that such explorations occurred.

    -(16)- Teenage Girl Sails Around the World Alone! She was 14 when she started!
    Laura Dekker of the Netherlands is one of 5 teenagers who have done this, joining several males and adults! Yes, they have engines as back up, and radios. But, still…..As Columbus was reported to say (Forbes, The American Discovery of Europe), when he saw the American dugout in Ireland, “How hard could it be?”

    (Photos by Bing)

  6. The ancestors of Native Americans were the first Europeans and Asians. Native American genetic components are far older than modern day Europeans who were not even in Europe until recently and are not descended from the same early indigenous Europeans. while the ancestors of Native Americans went thru Europe, the Middle East, Asia and on to the two empty continents of the Americas, from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego. Modern day Europeans ancestors were three different unrelated populations and modern Europeans were created thru archaic miscegenation, 20,000 years after the ancestors of Native Americans had populated all of the Americas. Modern day European Americans have no Native American ancestry, and only descend from one of the ancestral populations that Native Americans do called the Ancient North Eurasians but this was in Central Siberia 5,000 years ago, long after the Native Americans entered the Americas. Europeans are Middle Eastern, North Eurasian and African, they are not Native American and have no Native American ancestors, which is a good thing since Native Americans hate them, and want no relation to them.

    • Well, this is a different take!

    • Kevin ignores one of the clearest bonds between modern day europeans and native americans. “theoretical Bering land-bridge and founded the First Americans, had a male Y-chromosomal haplogroup of R1b, the most common lineage in modern Europe, and a female mitochondrial lineage of U, the dominant prototype in pre-historic Europe.

      Kevin also states “modern Europeans were created thru archaic miscegenation.” Last word is problematic and used as insult.
      Pretyt much everything Kevin wrote can easily be debunked by facts and current science.

      I suggest he work on his anger issues and not speak for all native americans.

  7. Kevin sounds like one of those 1/2 of 1 percent Native blood caucasions that wants to be a victim and pretend to speak for those that don’t want anything to do with him

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