DATELINE: Not Pocahontas
Nothing can be more dangerous than the latest wave of people and their push to learn about their “roots.”
Roots was a television event in the 1970s that sparked a furor among black American youth who were shocked at the depiction of their past. Many said they had no idea.
Now, we have Sen. Elizabeth Warren, goaded by Trump insults, trying to prove she has Native American blood. It appears, begrudgingly, she may have 1/1000th segment of Indian DNA. That’s about ten generations back—from the 1600s.
She provided no names of these people, no family trees, no paperwork to indicate the actual, physical evidence.
We did our own Ancestry and 23&Me skidoo tests last year, and we discovered that we had 0.02% Native American blood. Who knew? We immediately went to family trees—and started pulling on the genetic strings.
Sure enough, we traced back those with shared DNA whom we did not know, never heard of, and will never meet, to learn that Massasoit was in the mix.
That’s no ordinary run-of-the-mill Indian, but the man for whom Massachusetts is named! How likely is that? We questioned the tree and who falls out when you shake it up. We call this phenomenon “Sitting Bull.”
We also learned we were related to Plymouth/Mayflower names like John Alden and Priscilla Mullens, who were the subjects of a Longfellow poem called “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” Another Pocahontas moment for the family.
We were reminded that movies have been all over the subject of DNA for years. Back in the 1940s, there was a movie called Pinky, about a white girl who learned she was an octoroon. No, that’s not a cookie, but means you had distant black ancestors.
In 1960, Audrey Hepburn appeared in a movie called The Unforgiven, in which she played a girl raised as Audie Murphy’s sister, who was a stolen Indian baby. Her racist family was shocked, but she looked just like the non-Native Americans playing the Indians in the movie.
The Nazis in Germany were big on sniffing out who had Jewish ancestors—and liquidating them. Family trees were the way to root out the condition, as there was no DNA back then.
Mr. Trump should be aware that he could be related to Hitler himself, based on his behavior, and that he may be 1/2000th of a relative to Genghis Khan.
Time for another DNA test.