DNA has absolutely zero to do with being Native and Jewish
For starters, it is super important to state that DNA has absolutely zero to do with being Native and Jewish. It does not make you a Native or a Jew.
My Indigenous heritage and Native Nation citizenship derive solely from my Native Mother. My Mvskoke ancestry goes straight through her, to my Grandmother, to my Great-Grandmother and Great-Grandfather, and to many many ancestors all the way back to time immemorial.
My Jewish heritage is from my Father and my Orthodox conversion, since being Jewish is determined by unbroken matrilineal descent or conversion. My descent is straight line but patrilineal for a couple generations and beyond that also goes back to time immemorial.
DNA can be interesting though
When I was a young child, my Mom told me I was a mutt, and my DNA sure proves her 100% correct, ha! So far, roughly once a year, Ancestry.com revises my DNA ethnicity estimates as the science and sample sizes improves. This post’s header image and the following list are from their 2022 ethnicity estimate.
European Jewish 28%
Sweden & Denmark 18%
England & Northwestern Europe 18%
Indigenous Americas-North 9%
Germanic Europe 9%
Ivory Coast & Ghana
Indigenous Americas-Yucatan Peninsula 1%
This year Ancestry.com detailed my DNA even further and split it into maternal and paternal sections
A few major changes, now on 3 continents instead of 4
Ancestry.com revises periodically their DNA ethnicity estimations as their science advances and DNA databases grow. Their previous estimate was calculated in August 2020 which is in this post. I do think this is improved and it also matches my children’s DNA better.
Gone are the South American Indigenous groups and Mexican Indigenous was further refined to Yucatan Peninsula Indigenous. Note my Indigenous heritage from my maternal grandmother also includes the African, which is now 3 country groups and some portion of English, Scotch and/or Irish likely.
European Jewish is still my largest group coming from one grandparent, as my paternal grandfather was my only unmixed grandparent.
England & Northwestern Europe follow a close 2nd with all 3 other grandparents contributing to in varying degrees probably, but mostly my maternal grandfather.
Sweden & Denmark increased a lot, which I believe is part of my paternal grandmother’s Dutch heritage along with Norway and Germanic Europe.
European Jewish 28%
England & Northwestern Europe 27%
Sweden & Denmark 12%
Indigenous Americas-North 9%
Germanic Europe 4%
Indigenous Americas-Yucatan Peninsula 2%
DNA is very interesting I think, but it doesn’t necessarily speak to the culture(s) one is, is raised within or claims you
Many people think of culture as language, music, dress, political and social behavior etc., which is true but culture also speaks to the values and thought processes one is taught.
My values and thought processes were taught to me mostly by my Indigenous mother, who was taught by her Indigenous mother, who was taught by her Indigenous mother and so on… Most Native tribes are matriarchal and the maternal nature and direction of my Indigeneity is impossible to ignore. Being Mvskoke is a strong and dominant part of me.
Likewise, my Jewish father was taught by his Jewish father, who was taught by his Jewish father and so on and the patriarchal nature of the Jewish culture were passed to me in a strong fashion. The religion of Judaism is validated maternally, which is why I had an Orthodox conversion in adulthood, but there is no doubt in my mind the Jewish culture is patriarchal.
None of this is to dismiss my European heritages, but for me the dominant cultures of each of my parents burn the brightest. No doubt it took me many years to organize my upbringing into understanding the cultural influences, but at this point I clearly see it.
The white Christian American (European derived) culture is something just not in me. For a long time I didn’t understand why I didn’t fit into (American) life. Now I know.
White Christian American culture & society thinks it is the neutral, & that other cultural standards & behavior fall short
It thinks other cultures aren’t civilized, up to the modern state of advancement or even G-d blessed state that white Christian American culture and society is.
This view is 100% false.
Much of white Christian American interaction with other cultures is about measuring and changing people to follow white standards. Assimilation can be subtle or as forceful as at gunpoint.
White Christian American culture and society, being the designer of race says that skin color is the ultimate determining measure of value.
This is also completely false.
There are a quite a few facets to this but I’m going to discuss one: Light skinned or white passing people of other cultures. It is a clear fact that light skinned or white passing people of other cultures benefit or at least do not suffer exactly the same as darker skinned peoples under white racial structures. But bear with me and learn. This is adjacent knowledge not replacement knowledge to the fact that the darker your skin is, the more you suffer under whiteness.
Skin color is just the art of G-d in the garden of humanity
It has no real value differentiation. Essentially it is decoration and meaningless. However, under the white construct of race, white people have turned it to their cruel and dominating advantage. Many people are square pegs trying to fit into a white round hole.
Going forward, when I say white, just insert ‘white Christian American (European derived)’. Strongly replace your vision of skin color with culture and values.
Regardless of appearance under the false and made up white racial structures, Native and Jewish cultures (to name just two) are not white cultures.
Regardless of varying degrees of assimilation or awareness, I am not a white person. My children and grandchildren are not white people. My parents and grandparents were not white people. We don’t act or think like white people.
This is why Jews say to themselves “oy, goy” with that common understanding and head shake, because Jews do not think like white people.
This is why even white passing Natives will call you a colonizer, settler or a white person. Not just because you are, but because white people have a thought process that isn’t the neutral they think it is and clearly one of its own culture, that is not shared by Natives.
In my own life and others, I can think of many clashes and harms due to this white misunderstanding of other cultures, regardless of the level of a Jewish or Native person’s enlightenment.
ALL government, law, business and social structures are controlled by and polluted with false white viewpoints.
Whether white people know it or not, according to their own limited or non-existent standard of understanding… from the building you live in… to your workplace… all the way to even the world stage… and probably soon even outer space, non-white cultures are getting the short end of the stick, period.
Only YOU can change this by equalizing the ruling, power and economic structures now. Not when it meets white standards, but now. Not when you think it’s right, had enough white meetings, prayer or whatever, but now.
However, you won’t see me claim I’m African-American
Or a Black person… I’d be thrilled and honored to make the claim. My Senegal, Ivory Coast/Ghana and Nigeria DNA together has Elizabeth Warren’s Native-American DNA beat 3 times over, but I don’t know my African ancestor(s). I haven’t lived a life with any of their experiences. I can’t own this.
It is cool though!
I estimate within 4-6 generations ago that I had at least one African ancestor and I may someday discover the confirmed genealogy of this person.
My curiosity runs wild and that would be a super exciting day, but I still won’t be able to own it. An ally is the most I’ll ever be.
Due to other relatives DNA, I know this is though my Mvskoke Native bloodlines, but that is all I know. If any of my Native cousins out there stumble upon this post on the Internet and know more than I know, please contact me.
Image and countries updated 5-18-2022. The geographic estimate of my African ancestry has bounced around a tiny bit since 2019, but I think it’s safe to say there is 3% from the Western Africa coastal areas from Senegal to Nigeria.
Some of the best things about old age are being real, being true to yourself, being who you really are & being willing to share your life, good and bad, honestly without fear of judgment with your friends and family. Rather than write a book, here is my website.
My life, thoughts & whatever else I feel like writing about, ha!
Where do you start?
Though I try to live a simple life, I am a complex person with a complex history. I’m going to start this website out with a super-abbreviated timeline, my DNA and my basic ethnic/racial ancestry.
I was born in 1956, in a time period when pressures to homogenize and assimilate in the United States were very strong. When I was very young, my mother Mona Lee Rothschild, the most amazing person in all history of humankind, told me with a laugh and love, that I was a mutt. She told me the basic breakdown, that each of my grandparents were Jewish, Indigenous, Dutch and English. My mother was Indigenous and English, my father Jewish and Dutch. I am all four.
Of course, when I was a young child, the history of my living relatives as much as 70 years earlier were an unimaginably ancient time ago. I could not even begin to comprehend it. So, that was that basically, and life moved on as a secular American family in suburban Chicago.
In junior and senior high school, I experienced some antisemitism and began to be more aware of how some of the world related to my Jewishness. In the late 1970’s, as a young adult I moved to the north side of the city of Chicago, where I met many more Jews and increasingly identified with my Jewish ethnicity.
Some time in the 1980s, my mother put together a family tree going back about 5 generations along with what photos she could gather. By the end of the 1980s I strongly identified as Jewish ethnically and religiously, and had an orthodox conversion.
The patriarchy was very strong in my family, i.e. the Rothschild side of my heritage, and it passed very clearly from my grandfather Yehuda (Jay Leo) Rothschild to my father Malcolm Valk Rothschild to me Yehuda (Jay Franklin) Rothschild. I am the oldest (Jewish) male of my generation as well as torchbearer of the name. Jay is Americanized for Yehuda, my Hebrew name.
In the 1980s and 1990s, I believed my mission in life was to be the family patriarch, the most successful of all generations and build an empire that outlasted me. I believed I was special.
Life had different plans for me
Then in the mid-1990’s, I had a mid-life crisis and decided that I was a slave to the aspirations of a group of grass plants, known as my perfect American lawn.
That crisis started a decade of hell and euphoria, downtown living, deep deep depression, and eventually even a short moment of homelessness that landed me in West Rogers Park in 2006, a northernmost neighborhood in Chicago. I had a new trait, humility, and an understanding that not everyone can overcome the adverse things in their lives without help. I began to embrace and joy on the diversity of people and life throughout this post-crisis decade and for then on. I no longer believed I was special or destined to build an empire. I was just one equal value person of the billions on Earth.
By 2012, I was back in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. I began to thirst for more knowledge about my Native side. Referring to my mother’s family tree, I searched online for information about my ancestors and started to actually find some. It was rather amazing to me the things I discovered.
Woe is me for the long in person conversations I did not have with my ancestors, especially my mother and father, now all passed on. These are my greatest regrets without doubt.
In the beginning of 2016, G-d smiled upon me in more than one way. I moved into my current residence, a socialist commune of sorts, or an intentional community of ~200 people in a 10 story high-rise on the lakefront in Uptown Chicago.
In these last 5 years I began deconstructing my spiritual beliefs. I have fully embraced my Mvskoke (Muscogee/Creek) Indigenous heritage. I feel that each of my 4 major ethnicities (Jewish, Mvskoke, Dutch, and English) are 100% complete layers, not 25% of each. I strongly identify as a Jew and a Native.
And now the DNA!
For Chanukah in 2019, my oldest daughter Torie and family bought me an Ancestry DNA test. It may have been the best present ever. Getting the results back in January 2020 threw gasoline on the fire for my ancestors and history.
Spanning four continents – white, brown and black. [See header image above]
European Jewish 30%
England & Northwestern Europe 27%
Indigenous Americas-North 8%
Germanic Europe 4%
Indigenous Americas-Andean 1%
Indigenous Americas-Colombia & Venezuela 1%
Indigenous Americas-Mexico 1%
September 26, 2021 Update: It is important to note that DNA ancestry is not an exact science. It can produce incorrect and/or incomplete results, especially if there is a small sampling and underrepresented ethnicities, as there is with Indigenous people. The Central/South American Indigenous results in this DNA interpretation were nullified in a newer interpretation, and shifted into North American & Yucatan Indigenous results, along with other small changes.
Most importantly DNA ancestry is useless for determining if you are Indigenous. NO legit North American tribes accept DNA results for citizenship because of the above paragraph and DNA results do not even hint at tribal heritage. Citizenship requirements vary for each Tribal Nation, but they always at minimum require a direct descendant connection to a previously enrolled citizen proven by birth and death certificates, as well as other requirements. DNA results by themselves means zero in determining if you are Indigenous, Native, Indian or whatever.
Also note that while there are racial and cultural facets, being Indigenous is primarily a political status, i.e. a citizen of a sovereign nation. There are truly all races and colors represented in North American Indigenous people. It is not as simple as a yes/no genetic answer.
All that said, DNA can be informative combined with other information, and you truly can connect with lost and unknown relatives. I know I found people I had lost touch with and discovered many new relatives. I highly recommend it.