Skip to comments.Iceman's DNA Linked To Coastal Aboriginals (Canada)
Posted on 04/26/2008 7:01:25 PM PDT by blam
Iceman's DNA linked to coastal aboriginals
Judith Lavoie, Canwest News Service; Victoria Times Colonist
Published: Saturday, April 26, 2008
VICTORIA -- Sisters Sheila Clark and Pearl Callaghan held hands and blinked back tears Friday as they talked about their ancestor Kwaday Dan Ts'inchi, better known as Long Ago Person Found, a young aboriginal man whose frozen body was discovered nine years ago at the foot of a melting glacier in Northern B.C.
Three hunters found the body in 1999 in Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, part of the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations.
And earlier this month, 17 aboriginal people from northern B.C., Yukon and Alaska, including Clark and Callaghan, were told that DNA testing has proved they are direct descendants of the 'iceman.'
When the body first surfaced, it was thought to have been in the ice about 500 years, but the latest radiocarbon dating shows the man died between 1670 and 1850, preceding or just overlapping the earliest Europeans on the West Coast.
Voluntary DNA testing of First Nations is one aspect of intense, international research carried out on the almost perfectly preserved body, the startling results of which were announced at a scientific symposium in Victoria.
Clark, one of seven sisters, said she found it overwhelming when she was told their matriarchal line could be traced back to Long Ago Person Found.
"It was extremely moving. I couldn't believe it," she said.
"Our family is extremely excited to find out who our other relatives are. It's thrilling. It's awesome."
It triggers everyone's imagination as they think about the young man's trek across the glacier, Callaghan said.
The family is now pumping their 84-year-old mother for information as they try to establish the family tree, they said.
Research shows the iceman moved between the coast and the interior.
For Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Chief Diane Strand it is a remarkable reminder of the close, historical trading partnership between coastal and interior bands.
A total of 240 people volunteered to be part of the DNA study, so it is amazing that 17 were found to be directly related, she said.
"What is the most exciting news is that half of them are from the Yukon and half from the coast."
Out of those, 15 people self-identify as being from the wolf clan, meaning the young man was probably wolf clan, she said.
That turned out to be an important fact while First Nations deliberated how to treat the remains and whether to allow the research, since, traditionally, when a member of one clan dies, another clan takes care of the rites, Strand said.
"The majority of people who have worked on this project were Crow people and I truly believe things happened in the way they were meant to happen. Spiritually he was a wolf person and the people who looked after him came from the proper clan," she said.
It is a wonderful illustration to young people of the strength of the clan system and how science, oral history and tradition can work together, Strand said.
"This just gives another tool for us to say to the scientists you can't discount the oral traditions," she said.
Among the international researchers and scientists at the conference -- sponsored by the Champagne and Aishihik, B.C. Archaeology Branch and Royal B.C. Museum -- were the three hunters who discovered the body while hunting sheep. Bill Hanlon of Sparwood, B.C., and Michael Roch and Warren Ward of Nelson, B.C., said the find has led to a historical learning journey of their own.
In an emotional meeting, the three hunters were thanked by Clark and Callaghan on behalf of their long-dead relative.
"We felt it was meant to be. There were so many coincidences that put us in that spot at that time," Roch said.
The man was found just before the three started heading home.
"It was if he was saying `take me home,"' Ward said.
If the iceman was male, then these living individuals are not descended from him but from his mother's lineage. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to daughter, and this guy, as a male, could not pass his mtDNA to his children. His children would get their mother's mtDNA, not his.
And the stupid article didn't even mention which haplogroup they found! Some of us really want to know those things.
Don't fret, as an example of the MSM, if they had reported it, they would have gotten it wrong anyway.
It was a 'feel good' PC article. I've noticed most articles do not list the haplogroup.
I don't kow but, it is more 'accurate' than Indian. (ahem)
“...held hands and blinked back tears...”
I stopped reading, right there.
Well, at least they didn’t sing Kumbaya!
I have seen them referred to as "sauvages" in French language genealogical records (Tanguay).
Most of my relatives are from Soviet-Canuckistan
and they always refer to them as “Aboriginals”.
I just picked up my mother at the airport flying
in from Winnipeg. Let’s be happy that we live here
instead of there.
Well, perhaps knowledge of your heritage isn’t as important to you as it is to these people. Aboriginals set great store in their ancestors, which I can respect.
I have traced my ancestry back 375yrs, and resapect them for what they did, but don’t get all misty-eyed, tear-blinking and hand-holding over them.
Living their lives in the past is what makes them ‘aboriginals’; I live in the present and for the future.
LOL! Give ‘em a chance.
That’s nice for you. But the world is full of people different from you. What is it to you how these people react to such news? Petty criticism isn’t worth any more than misty eyes and tear-blinking.
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