One of the things that’s quite clear when looking at American History is that it isn’t like taught in school. Especially about the Native Americans.
The “classic” story is that everyone came over the land bridge from Asia.
OK, I keep my eyes open for things that fit, or don’t fit. One was a lady who worked for me for a while. She was 100% pure blood “Indian”. When she told me this, I said something she noticed. I said “Oh, you have a rather European look to your tribe”. Seems most folks said “You don’t LOOK Indian”… which implied not-Indian, where mine is simply making an observation about an objective fact. She appreciated that difference. Her tribe was from somewhere back east and sort of north. I’ve forgotten exactly which one.
But one of the things I’d first noticed as a young kid was that the images and photos of the Mohicans and similar tribes were not “Asian like” the way the Indians of the West were. Then there were the “long houses” that look like a European house, not a Tee-Pee. Finally, there was one “lost tribe” in Virginia that were reputed to have blue eyes. That particular allele formed around the Baltic sea and spread out from there… ( As we learned in my Genetics 100A class at University…) Add in the “Clovis Points” that are nearly identical to some spear and arrow points from France and it all adds up. A second immigration path from Europe along the edge of the ice during the Glacial.
Here I’m not going to do a lot of analysis. Mostly just showing some images and data and letting folks “see what I see”. The first one is a gene map.
Notice that this is the Y chromosome distribution map in native populations. Now look at it for a minute. Where’s the dense blobs of color? Yup, Around the Great Lakes and Celtic Europe. Exactly the starting and ending points of a boat migration along the ice into North America from Iberia / Britain / France, with subsequent spreading out as the ice retreated.
Now look at the alternative route. They had to leave Europe, or maybe the Asian Steppes, then walk all the way to the very far side of North America. There also were either none who ‘settled’ in the middle of Asia, or they got overrun / killed later. It just doesn’t look right for a diffusion map from that point of view. Yet there will be (must be?) some of that overlay process going on to explain things like the blob (likely the original origin point) north of India and the decrease between there and Iberia. There are inevitable wars and extirpations in history.
Yet even the North America map alone shows a strong concentration in East, shading out to the west. And with the same shading trend in all directions. That just can’t be easily explained with population overlays, or displacements.
It is my opinion, this map alone says that the Indians of that area have a significant European root.
How about if we take a look at a portrait of one of the early (pre any genetic mixing) Ojibwe people:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojibwe_people has a lot more detail on these folks. Including a map showing them living around the great lakes.
Now look at the face. Long straight nose. Not much in the way of flattened nose, nor a very Asian shape to the face. Notice the corners of the eyes. No epicanthic folds. For comparison, this picture from the wiki
Notice too the nasal ridge. High and ‘European like’ vs low and Asian.
OK, that’s a painting. True, it is a portrait painted by someone who ought to be exacting, but they might have just painted the usual European Look from long training. How about some photos of Indians from various tribes? Preferably early enough to not be too influenced by gene introgression post contact:
These are from another tribe, the Oneida:
Those faces would not look out of place at all in Spain or France.
These are also the people who build “long houses” reminiscent of European home shapes.
The Iroquois (Haudenosanee or People of the Longhouses) who lived in New York, Ontario, and Quebec built and lived in longhouses. Longer than they were wide, these longhouses had openings at both ends that served as doors and were covered with animal skins during the winter to keep out the cold. On average a typical longhouse was about 80 by 18 by 18 ft (24 by 5.5 by 5.5 m) and was meant to house up to twenty or more families, most of which were typically matrilinearly related.
We also see a small echo of the matriarchy so common in Celtic Europe.
As you head down toward Tennessee and George, there are still significant European features to the faces, but there is an increasing degree of more “Western Indian” genes showing up. We start to get some more Asian features, and the characteristic high cheekbones.
Here are the Cherokee that originally were in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee, later relocated to Oklahoma by a forced march along the “Trail Of Tears”.
Again we have some folks substantially indistinguishable from a European “look”, but some with the more Western Indian features starting to show up.
As you reach the far west, more Asian features show up, but still in an overall context that looks more like a blending of Asian with European (or Caucasian Asian ) genetics. The Navajo have one of the largest, and most isolated, reservations in the USA. I’ve driven through it. We drove several hundred miles, stayed over night in a hotel at the far end of the Grand Canyon (where a bridge can cross it) and only later the second day left the property. That was only one end, and well away from most of the population. There is a Navajo radio station that can sometimes be picked up in California. They have largely remained a distinct people and have not had much genetic drift.
Here we can see the more coarse dark hair characteristic of Asians, along with swarthy skin color (easy to do in the Desert Southwest with lots of sun!). A more frequent rounder face profile, with higher cheekbones, and the occasional flatter nose. Yet even here, there are echoes of a European mixed genetics. Though it would be much harder to claim that these were not just folks from central Asia with a European like look about them. The Han Chinese are a recent introgression north from a more tropical location. Even in Japan, the Ainu were the original peoples, and they have a more European look about them. Though they tend to full beards, a feature not common in American Natives.
So there is some evidence for an “intrusion” of an Asian type over the top of an ancestral non-Asian type in the band from Japan over through China to the Steppes of Asia where redheaded folks in tartan were found buried. And the “intrusion” came long long after North America was populated.
Due to that, it isn’t possible to say that the genetic empty swath of Asia could not be due to later over run of that area by a different population. The door has to be left open to multiple “out of Asia” groups arriving in North America via a land bridge. That, then, leaves the “Out of Europe” thesis for the East Coast population to some extent dependent on those gene maps showing a ‘backwards diffusion pattern’ if all groups had to come out of Asia.
So lets look at one more haplogroup. The X group is not the dominant one in North American natives, but it is an instructive one.
At this point, it says that the mothers of that small part of the band, had to start near Turkey, cover all of Asia and a lot of North America and end up in a cluster on the far side, THEN have daughters. Or just hop a boat to North America and be done…
Yet the majority genotypes have presence in Asia and not in Western Europe (both for Y and mtDNA). This means that, even if they did originate from Europe, they were overlain by later waves of population in those European areas. We know, from language study, that the Basque type peoples were displaced and surrounded by Indo-European language speakers long after people were living in America. So any folks who did originate from that earlier population might well not be similar to those in that part of Europe now. Or be a minority genetic type.
What this all says to me, is that a minority genotype in the American Indian population shows clear evidence for the easiest path of immigration having been from Western Europe, likely by boat or along the ice pack margin, into the Great Lakes area and on down toward The Carolinas. That the majority of the Native Americans came from Asia via a land bridge, and spread out. And the two populations blended along the margins and into the interior of the groups. Further, a significant part of that migration from Asia was not a stereotypical Asian / Mongoloid type, but the older Caucasian type that had been across the center of Asia and out to Japan prior to the arrival of the Chinese type.
Some other folks have looked at this too. There’s a quoted text from another place in this link:
“On the basis of comprehensive RFLP analysis, it has been inferred that approximately 97% of Native American mtDNAs belong to one of four major founding mtDNA lineages, designated haplogroups “A”-”D.” It has been proposed that a fifth mtDNA haplogroup (haplogroup X) represents a minor founding lineage in Native Americans. Unlike haplogroups A-D, haplogroup X is also found at low frequencies in modern European populations. To investigate the origins, diversity, and continental relationships of this haplogroup, we performed mtDNA high-resolution RFLP and complete control region (CR) sequence analysis on 22 putative Native American haplogroup X and 14 putative European haplogroup X mtDNAs. The results identified a consensus haplogroup X motif that characterizes our European and Native American samples. Among Native Americans, haplogroup X appears to be essentially restricted to northern Amerindian groups, including the Ojibwa, the Nuu-Chah-Nulth, the Sioux, and the Yakima, although we also observed this haplogroup in the Na-Dene-speaking Navajo. Median network analysis indicated that European and Native American haplogroup X mtDNAs, although distinct, nevertheless are distantly related to each other. Time estimates for the arrival of X in North America are 12,000-36,000 years ago, depending on the number of assumed founders, thus supporting the conclusion that the peoples harboring haplogroup X were among the original founders of Native American populations. To date, haplogroup X has not been unambiguously identified in Asia, raising the possibility that some Native American founders were of Caucasian ancestry.”
Given the probability of a Younger Dryas impact event killing off most of the Clovis People, and then a significant repopulation from Asia: It looks like a larger part of America was populated with folks from Europe, most of whom were wiped out in that Cloves Event strike, and then they blended in with the later arrivals over most of the continent.
There is also a small matter of how genes ‘assort’ over time. When a bit of genetics is only inherited from one parent, and is sex linked (as both mtDNA and the Y-Chromosome are) then any time a family has children all of the same sex, one of those sets of genes is lost. Due to this, over time, a sex linked genetic type will tend to dominate based only on which gene has the largest starting number. Minority types are more at risk for a ‘bad luck’ event wiping out a larger percentage of them. Over very long periods of time, this can result in a large number of a few genotypes for that gene based only on the math of it. During that process, all the OTHER genes are mixing, sorting, and ‘moving on’. So to say that a given Y-chromosome is at 2% does not mean that the original percentage was 2%, or even particularly low. So, say, your starting populations where 40% and 60%. After a very large number of generations you might well find the sex linked trait at 10% / 90%. Yet the rest of the genome would still largely reflect a 40 % – 60 % split. So to ‘do this right’ really requires using non-sex linked genetics.
In short, from the mtDNA and Y-chromosome, you can say some Europeans were part of the ‘Founders Stock’, but you can’t say what the proportion was. For that much more complicated methods are needed. But the ‘poor mans method’ is to just look for things like how much one population ‘looks like’ a given founder source. That’s why we ‘looked at their faces’.
What I think this shows, however tepidly, is that the Native American populations were and are a mixed people. Some part Western European (especially in tribes from the North East). Some part Asian (especially in the West and South America). The European contribution likely comes in two forms. Via boat / ice corridor, and via Asia as an older pre-Chinese expansion stock.
Oddly, as the existing population of immigrants, a mix of Western Europeans, Hispanics with significant Native American ancestry, and new Asian immigrants slowly have genetic drift into one mixed population, the most likely outcome is a people looking, once again, remarkably like the American Indians.
It will not be that different from what happened before. 20,000+ years ago.