American Indian Proj

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About us

The American Indian Project is interested in furthering DNA testing, especially for under-represented tribes and under-represented areas of the Americas, in particular, North America. 

We encourage everyone with a Native history or heritage to test both their Y and mitochondrial DNA. If your Native ancestor was your direct paternal ancestor (your father's father's father's line), your YDNA haplogroup will probably be a subgroup of either Q or C. If your Native ancestor was your direct matrilineal line (your mother's mother's mother's line), your mitochondrial DNA haplogroup will probably be a subset of A, B, C, D, X or M. 

If you would like to read a brief article about the different kinds of genealogy DNA testing, please click here.

From time to time, people are interested in testing but need a scholarship to do so. Unfortunately, the American Indian project typically doesn’t have any contributed kits to dispense, so we have set up a program where we will occasionally solicit donations through the project to sponsor kits for individuals who have a clear Native connection, if the situation warrants. 

As volunteer project administrators, we have compiled guidelines that will assure the individual requesting the scholarship has a Native connection on either the Y or mtDNA lines. 

In order to apply for a scholarship DNA kit, preference will be given to individuals who demonstrate at least some of the following. 

1.  Tribal members with a CDIB card in the US or a Status Card in Canada, or equivalent.   

You can read about US CDIB cards here: and


You can read about Canadian Status Cards here:


2.  Known tribal affiliation, if no CDIB or Status Card, through proven genealogy with accompanying documentation.   

3.  A reasonably detailed genealogy, with proof documents, hopefully at least 5 or 6 generations, indicating Native ancestry. 

4.  Native ancestry MUST be on either your direct paternal (father's father's father's) line or your direct maternal (mother's mother's mother's) line because those are the only lines that can be directly tested to prove Native heritage.  Females can only test for mitochondrial DNA (matrilineal line) as they do not inherit a Y chromosome. 

5.  Demonstration of why a scholarship is being requested. Scholarships will be considered on the basis of need, qualifications and availability.  If you can pay for your own testing, please do and allow scholarship kits to go to individuals who would not otherwise be able to test.   

6.  The scholarship recipient must join their kit to the American Indian project at Family Tree DNA, authorize project administrator access for all results, and leave the kit in the project.  This is the method by which administrators have access to participant results.   

7.  The recipient must grant the project administrators the right to publish both the genealogical and genetic results (Y, mitochondrial and autosomal), while preserving the privacy of the tester and their parents.  This is in order to provide tangible results to the individuals who donated towards the scholarship kit.  Without the ability to provide results to donors and to facilitate ongoing research, contributions won't be forthcoming for future testing. An example of published results can be seen here.   

To request a scholarship, please provide the requested information to all 3 project administrators of the American Indian Project.   

It is not our goal to either encourage or discourage applications.  We want to remain flexible and provide guidelines for those who might be good candidates for scholarships with an eye towards protecting the interests of both the testers and the contributors.  The overarching goal is to provide documented Native lineages and genetic samples for people to compare against, while furthering both genealogy and science for both the tester and the community as a whole – a win/win situation.  

If we receive applications often, we may group the applications together and select a scholarship recipient periodically.  The DNA kit for the recipient will be ordered when there are enough contributions to cover the cost of the appropriate tests based on the recipient’s submitted genealogy. 

The project administrators reserve the right to change or discontinue this program at any time.