Sunday, December 25, 2016


Okay, let’s get really technical and talk about blood and DNA.  All this info is very recently discovered, which means that all the talk about “blood” in relation to the American indigenous people is NOT about blood at all, but about a kind of metaphor for genetic relationship across generations.  Honest scientists will say that there is no way to determine tribe by genotyping, though the African descent people have been pursuing “marker” sections that tend to be associated with certain tribes.  

You’d probably do about as much good by searching through face recognition software for the way you look.  Indigenous people to the north look more Asian and Inuit than plains people and indigenous people to the SW look more like SE Asia people.  (“Boat theory” instead of land bridge theory.)

This is from Wikipedia and I'm leaving in the links because it's so technical you may need the definitions.  I did.
Homo is the genus that comprises the species Homo sapiens, which includes modern humans, as well as several extinct species classified as ancestral to or closely related to modern humans—as for examples Homo habilis and Homo neanderthalensis. The genus is about 2.8 million years old;[1][2][3][4][5] it first appeared as its earliest species Homo habilis, which emerged from the genus Australopithecus, which itself had previously split from the lineage of Pan, the chimpanzees.[6][7] Taxonomically, Homo is the only genus assigned to the subtribe Hominina which, with the subtribes Australopithecina and Panina, comprise the tribe Hominini (see evolutionary tree below). All species of the genus Homo plus those species of the australopithecines that arose after the split from Pan are called hominins.”

It turns out that modern humans have interbred with Neanderthals as well as Denisovans, particularly in the SE of Asia. Small percentages of typical DNA signatures for certain groups are detectable.  It’s possible that American indigenous people have a good deal of Altai Neanderthal and Denisovan code in their DNA, because they are the closest to the land mass (not just a bridge) that once connected Asia with America, but it’s hard to know because we don’t have enough evidence, not just in fossil terms but also in surveys of American tribes, who have been exploited and bamboozled so much that they shrink from anyone knowing anything about them.  If anyone found out that the Indian Health Service had been providing blood for DNA analysis, there would be an explosion.  Not that it would stop them doing it, but stop them from letting it become public.

The people who should really worry are pygmies, who carry the DNA code for surviving ALL the kinds of AIDS.  The recently announced vaccine only works on ONE kind of HIV.  I’m unclear whether this is the same strain that evidently mutated recently and made the virus able to travel so far so fast.  But that’s a branch line of thought I’ll leave for now.  I'd hate to see the small pygmy people drained of blood for research.

The main thing we know about American Indian blood is that all of them have blood.  The living ones, anyway.  DNA does not make blood — it makes proteins and the interacting proteins create the blood cells.  In fact, blood cells have no nuclei and therefore have no DNA, which is the defining characteristic of a nucleus.  They are the only human body cells with no nucleus.

Many men learned about their blood types when they did military service, because it was stamped on their dog tags in case of wounds that required transfusions.  Human blood is grouped into four types: A, B, AB, and O. Each letter refers to a kind of antigen, or protein, on the surface of red blood cells. For example, the surface of red blood cells in Type A blood has antigens known as A-antigens.”  The blood types were not about DNA at all, they were about antigens, which are  “a toxin or other foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies.”  You don’t want to be allergic to your transfusion.  But this information was not known when the rules about blood quantum were made.

Okay, so now let’s go back to DNA, which functions like a huge keyboard or symphony sheet music to determine what should be “played.”  They interact so that one bit might not do the same thing if another bit is not present.  They operate like musical chords.  

Beyond that is the epigenome, which can silence specific genes by attaching a methyl molecule to it.  Recently we discovered that methylation can persist somehow across the generations.  This discovery was made through study of Holland during WWII when many people were starving to death.  The grandchildren got fat because their protein molecules were set to save calories.  Most Plains Indians starved when put on reservations with no buffalo. In contrast, vulnerability to over-reactions to alcohol is evidently an Asian characteristic in the actual genes, carried to American ten thousand years ago.

This is not simple stuff.  The “microgenome” of the tiny inhabitants of the gut help with digestion and can send quite different molecules through the blood.  Even the isotopes of the soil in different places, when taken into molecules, can make them subtly different.  That’s your mineralome, a link to place.

At first the assumption of the governing bodies of the USA was that all the indigenous people out there would either marry white people or assimilate their culture into the “clearly superior” Euro-version.  They should have had a long talk with the Hudson’s Bay Company, which knew a lot about cross-fertilizing colonies.  The result is often a third “new” kind of people with great strength and strong relationships on both sides.  

So the US feds, when they realized this, got out of the “blood” metaphor business and delegated it all back to the tribes.  Even if one were able to get a DNA readout that showed a likelihood of descent from a specific genetic group (probably created more by place and food than anything mystical), the next step would have to be compliance to the political decisions of quite different tribes.  Some rich, some poor; some numerous, some few.  The Cherokee trimmed their rolls by throwing off all the slave-descended people they had so generously included earlier.  Uproar.

Once the differences between an oral culture and a writing culture are allowed for, everyone can write except for a very few dyslexics and even they can probably write with a little extra help.  A VERY few families have been found whose mutation of DNA has eliminated some crucial element of the brain that allows the writing process to be blocked.

WHAT people write comes mostly from what they read and what their cultural memes are like.  What do people notice?  What do people want to know?  What do they care about, beyond survival?  The variations are infinite.  What kind of sense does it make to say that only a certain social category of people can write about that category?

We need to go to a concept from religion.  There are two ways to consider a specific unified set of beliefs: from the inside which is inhabited by believers and from the outside where observers see in a different way.  The boundary is a blurry line in most cases; some days even the true believers are challenged and feeling a little skeptical.  Some days the believers are so enchanting, so alluring, so promising, that the “objective” outsiders want in.  That’s the dynamic we’re struggling with through the narrow gate of publishing.

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