Phoenix (Jan. 24, 2023) – Wendell Paulson, a statistics professional responsible for curating DNA Consultants’ growing forensic population database, announced the integration of rare data from a study of Abenaki Indians. It was the company’s 65th successful Native American tribe or group to be documented with a genetic snapshot available to posterity.
Between April and December of last year, the project quietly enlisted 19 random, anonymous volunteers who wanted to further the Abenaki People’s cultural, historical and social awareness and help redress some of the misinformation and injustices of the Colonial system in the United States and Canada. They verified their tribal enrollment status, swabbed their cheeks, signed a scientific study form and mailed a DNA sample to one of the leading laboratories for legal and home testing. Administrator was Timothy Williams, an Abenaki himself.
Paulson, who has helped pioneer DNA Consultants’ unique database development since 2010, is emeritus Faculty Associate in the Math and Natural Sciences Division of Arizona State University, West Campus, in Phoenix and former Adjunct Faculty member in the Math Division at Paradise Valley Community College. Among his many distinctions is an American Society for Quality Six Sigma Black Belt. In July, he added Shawnee and is looking forward to receiving the results of a large Canadian Eastern Metis study this year or the next.
The initiative’s official name is “U.S./ Canada Abenaki Indian Reference Population STR Profile DNA Project.” It followed the same method and procedures employed by J. Ng et al, “Native American Population Data Based on the Globalfiler Autosomal STR Loci,” Forensic Science International: Genetics 24 (Sept. 2016) e12-e13, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsigen.2016.06.014, a much-valued study that included, for instance, the first public data for Cherokee, Creek and California Indians.
“We’ve found that it is perhaps the last great opportunity for surveying the complex diversity of populations given today’s frequent mixing, ease of air travel, increasing secular culture and changing group identities,” said Donald N. Yates, Ph.D., founder and chief scientific director at DNA Consultants. Genetic data on the Abenaki and Metis have both been “conspicuous by their absence,” he said, adding that other companies generally have only a handful of tribes their customers can match with DNA tests.
The Abenaki are an ancient indigenous confederation in eastern North American who speak what anthropologists classify as an Algonquian language. They were agriculturalists and hunters and lived in wigwams. Today, their ranks have been considerably thinned. In Canada they are recognized as the Wabanaki Confederacy, one of that country’s First Nations. In the U.S. their status is challenged, divided or confused.
DNA Consultants was founded in 2003 and is one of the few DNA testing companies that uses a forensic (as opposed to a genetic/genomic) method, that is, it matches customers with populations, not people or individuals. The Abenaki population will join other world populations as the basis for the company’s exclusive Basic American Indian test, which sells for $179.00.
The company’s official website is www.dnaconsultants.com.
Basic American Indian Test (reg. $179, special price for registered Abenaki $89.50)
Populations in DNA Consultants Database (list with links)
Abenaki Indians (population page)