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Testing Native Roots

Putting family lore to the DNA test



 



Last Mother’s Day, my daughter gave me a 23andMe DNA test kit, with the intention of having me send in a saliva sample and unlocking the mysteries of our shared genetic ancestry.
 

She had already received the results of her own DNA profile, which revealed that she was 99.8 percent European.

This, of course, had to be a mistake. She comes from a long line of Apaches on my dad’s side. On my mom’s are her Irish-meets-Cherokee ancestors.

Someone once told me that, for people like us who are born in Oklahoma, it’s nearly impossible not to have an American Indian lineage of some kind.

Turning a blind eye to the blonde hair and fair complexion I share with my daughter and sons, I’ve always accepted this theory without hesitation; my mom’s Irish heritage had obviously diluted the gene pool that included my dad’s Native influence of black hair and the kind of skin that could appear to change ethnicities in a matter of a few sunny days.

My sister has been tracing the genealogy of both sides of our family for years, turning up one fascinating detail after another. Not only are we direct descendants of some kind of princess from somewhere or another who was kicked out of her country (that sounds about right), we’re also closely related to Daniel Boone. Or Davy Crockett. Or someone with a coonskin hat.

Year after year, as she pored over the details of each fresh leaf from our ancestry.com family tree, my sister contacted newly discovered, distant relatives to introduce us as their extended family and to compare notes about our lineage.

At holiday gatherings, she’d show us U.S. Census reports that included the names of our European ancestors as they landed upon our country’s teeming shores and forged their way farther west. We’d listen to tales of the plights of our Native ancestors, stories my sister had painstakingly pieced together through many exchanges with distant cousins, aunts and uncles.

Since the day my sister informed us that we hailed from a glorious line of Apache ancestry, I was a proud and vocal ambassador – loosely meaning that, over the past 25 years, I’ve enjoyed inserting my background into any discussion about ethnicity. “I’m part Apache, you know,” I’d boast, scoffing at the pitiful, unenlightened people who frequently challenged me by asking how many Apaches have blonde hair and green eyes.

“Are you on the roll?” they’d ask intrusively. “No,” I’d snap back. “Rolls are the product of government meddling,” I’d insist, knowing absolutely nothing on the subject, but standing firm in my conviction, nonetheless.

The suggestion that my daughter’s spit didn’t reveal even a sliver of a Native chromosome came as an insult to me.

“They sent you the wrong results,” I told her flatly. “How could I be part Apache and you’re not?” “All I know is that I need SPF 5,000,” she said, reminding me that her Italian friends refer to the color of her skin as “mozzarella.”

In light of the decades of information my sister has amassed about our family’s genealogy, I gladly accepted the 23andMe kit to put an end to this nonsense on my daughter’s report. Intent on setting the DNA record straight, I spat with increasing zeal and hand-delivered my sample to the post office.

Six weeks later, I received an email announcing that the details of my DNA report were now available.

My heart and mind were racing. Would the Apache heritage outweigh the Cherokee? What other surprises would emerge from my DNA in this melting pot we call America?

I clicked through to discover what the mirror has told me every day of my life: “Lauren, your DNA results are in! You are 100 percent European.”

Whiter than my mozzarella daughter! Whiter than Ivory soap! SPF 5,001.

Now, I don’t even know who I am. And what’s more troubling – thanks to my sister’s sketchy genealogy detective work, I’ve got a few huddled masses in my family tree who need to pack up their coonskin hats and go find their real relatives.

 

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

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Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
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Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
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Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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