The Jury Talks Back

10/15/2018

Is Fauxcahontas Really Pocahantas?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:16 am

That’s what The Daily Beast tells us in this headline (well, they put it a different way):

Warren DNA Test

I’d say it’s really more like this:

The original story broke in the Boston Globe, with a more cautious headline: Warren releases results of DNA test.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides “strong evidence’’ she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations, an unprecedented move by one of the top possible contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.

Warren, whose claims to Native American blood have been mocked by President Trump and other Republicans, provided the test results to the Globe on Sunday in an effort to defuse questions about her ancestry that have persisted for years. She planned an elaborate rollout Monday of the results as she aimed for widespread attention.

The analysis of Warren’s DNA was done by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and expert in the field who won a 2010 MacArthur fellowship, also known as a genius grant, for his work on tracking population migration via DNA analysis.

You can read the actual DNA report itself here. The relevant statement is this:

The total and average segment size suggest (via the method of moments) an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the pedigree at approximately 8 generations before the sample.

The word “suggest” elsewhere in the report is strengthened to “strongly support” in the conclusion, although no additional data is added to explain why the conclusion is stronger. Also, in the conclusion, the likely generation is widened into a range of generations (6-10) which conveniently comes closer to fitting Warren’s narrative of a great-great-great grandmother who was Native American.

The important upshot: Trump was right to call her Pocahontas instead of Fauxcahontas!

He’s always right, you know.

UPDATE: The Boston Globe has issued a correction:

Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024.

As commenter harkin points out, that’s a fraction, not a percentage, but keep trying, guys.

When you convert to a percentage, you get Warren having .0976% Native American blood. Here’s the thing, though: that is totally unremarkable and indeed about half the average for an American of European ancestry.

On average, the scientists found, people who identified as African-American had genes that were only 73.2 percent African. European genes accounted for 24 percent of their DNA, while .8 percent came from Native Americans.

Latinos, on the other hand, had genes that were on average 65.1 percent European, 18 percent Native American, and 6.2 percent African. The researchers found that European-Americans had genomes that were on average 98.6 percent European, .19 percent African, and .18 Native American.

Could Donald Trump be more of a native American than Warren? Based on these numbers, that seems likely.

Calling this any sort of vindication for Warren is utterly laughable.

UPDATE x2: If my math is correct, the percentage for the eighth generation (the most likely according to the report) would be .39% — about double the average for the average American of European descent, and still a minuscule amount.

2 Comments »

  1. This is such garbage. I’m 1/128th Cherokee, my ancestor (on my maternal Grandmother’s side) was a chief of the Cherokee nation (yes, really) yet I’m not going around calling myself Native American because that would be an insult to actual Native Americans. I’m offended, I’m outraged… actually I’m laughing my rear off at the stupidity of all of this.

    Comment by Sean — 10/15/2018 @ 4:03 pm

  2. I note that none of the MSM are pointing out that these results, even if most favorably interpreted, prove Warren’s “backstory” about a family elopement due to marrying an Indian is utter bunk.

    I wonder if her plagiarized recipe book, Pow Wow Chow, featuring “authentic Cherokee Recipes” handed down to her via her family, will be in reprint anytime soon?

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 10/15/2018 @ 11:08 pm

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