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"Clan,  Language, and  Migration  History Has Shaped
Genetic Diversity in Haida and Tlingit Populations From Southeast Alaska

Theodore G. Schurr, Matthew C. Duslig, Amanda C. Swings, Sergey I. Zhadanov,

The Genographic Consortium

KEY WORDS haplogroup; haplotype; lineage; SNP; STR; genealogy; founder; moiety

ABSTRACT  The  linguistically   distinctive  Haida  and
Tlingit tribes of Southeast  Alaska  are known  for their rich material  culture,  complex social organization, and elaborate ritual practices. However, much less is known about these tribes from a population genetic perspective.

For this reason, we analyzed mtDNA and Y-chromosome variation in Haida and Tlingit populations to elucidate several key issues pertaining to the history of this region. These included the genetic relationships of Haida and Tlingit to other indigenous groups in Alaska and Canada; the relationship between linguistic and genetic data for populations assigned to the Na-Dene linguistic family, specifically, the inclusion of Haida with Athapaskan, Eyak, and Tlingit in the language family; the possible influence of matrilineal clan structure on patterns of genetic variation in Haida and Tlingit populations; and the impact of European entry into the region on the genetic diversity of these indigenous communities. Our analysis indicates that, while sharing a ‘‘northern"
genetic profile, the Haida and the Tlingit are genetically distinctive from each other. In addition, Tlingit groups themselves differ across their geographic range, in part due to interactions of Tlingit tribes with Athapaskan and Eyak groups to the north. The data also reveal a strong influence of maternal clan identity on mtDNA variation in these groups, as well as the significant influences of non-native males on  Y-chromosome  diversity.

These results yield new details about the histories of the Haida and Tlingit tribes in this region. Am J Phys
Anthropol 148:422–435, 2012.

Eyak and Diné

Athabaskan Tribes

2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


The Southwest was home to representatives from several North American Indian language families, including Hokan, Uto-Aztecan, Tanoan, Keresan, Kiowa-Tanoan, Penutian, and Athabaskan.

The Hokan-speaking Yuman peoples were the westernmost residents of the region; they lived in the river valleys and the higher elevations of the basin and range system there. The so-called River Yumans, including the Quechan (Yuma), Mojave, Cocopa, and Maricopa, resided on the Lower Colorado and the Gila River; their cultures combined some traditions of the Southwest culture area with others of the California Indians. The Upland Yumans, including the Havasupai, Hualapai, and Yavapai, lived on secondary and ephemeral streams in the western basins and ranges.

Two groups that spoke Uto-Aztecan languages resided in the southwestern portion of the culture area, near the border between the present-day states of Arizona (U.S.) and Sonora (Mex.). The Tohono O’odham were located west of the Santa Cruz River. The closely related Pima lived along the middle Gila River.

"Traditional ceremonies were and are still essential and important to the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people’s cultural identity. The Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian are known for a ceremony called the “potlatch”, a formal ceremony including a feast. An Eyak village, included two potlatch houses, each with an outdoor post topped with the Eagle or Raven. Haida feasts, a less formal but similar event, were common when debt was paid to another clan."