“A Little Flesh We Offer You” – Indian Slaves in New France

We generally don’t think of the French Canadians as slave owners, of either Indians or Africans, but Indian slavery was legalized in what is now Canada in 1709.  In fact, in 1725, half of the colonists who owned a home in Montreal also owned a slave.  The slaves were a mixture of Africans and Panis, Native Americans – but primarily Native Americans because the African trade routes did not favor the Canadian market, did not venture north to the St. Lawrence, and Africans purchased on the Atlantic seaboard were expensive.

The paper, ‘“A Little Flesh We Offer You”: The Origins of Indian Slavery in New France’ tells us that although slaves never constituted more than 5% of the entire population, an extensive network of Indian slavery developed that transformed thousands of Indian men, women and children into commodities.  How this happened may surprise you.

panis map

This map, from the article shows the region where many of the Panis were taken from – Louisiane. See the Gulf of Mexico in the lower right corner.  In addition, many slaves were taken in raids in the Great Plains and made their way east through a Native barter, raid and trade network.  However, due to the demand for slaves, male captives who would formerly have been disfigured or tortured and killed in previous Native vs Native tribal battles were now spared and sold into slavery.

This suggests, of course, that where we find our Native ancestor first appearing in records may not be at all where they originated, especially in Canada.

To read the entire paper, click here.

Suzanne Sommerville, researcher with the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan for nearly 40 years has critiqued the above paper and has some criticisms and corrections to offer.  You can see that paper here and also the parish records up on which her corrections are made here.  These are particularly relevant to Indian naming practices.

Hat tip to the Acadian rootsweb list for this source.

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Updated Native American Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroups

dna helixI’ve updated the list of Native American Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroups and their sources.

This most recent update comes from both GenBank the Anzick extrapolations, with links provided when possible.

If you know of other credibly sourced Native haplogroup information, please let me know.

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The People’s Path Native Site to Disappear

People's path

The People’s Path webpage was created in the 1990s to provide resources to Cherokee researchers, although there are resources from many other tribes included.  Just scanning, I see Ojibwa, Micmac, Lumbee, Navajo and lots more.  There is truly a wealth of informational sources.

The owner, Nancy Thomas, has passed away.  This webpage will disappear on May 14, 2015 when the domain name is scheduled to expire.

The site welcomes visitors to copy anything on the site for their personal archives.



Hat tip to Alisa for this site.

Posted in Cherokee | 1 Comment

Kostenki14 – A New Ancient Siberian DNA Sample

k14 skeleton

This week, published in Science, we find another ancient DNA full genome sequence from Siberia in an article titled “Genomic structure in Europeans dating back at least 36,200 years” by Seguin-Orlando et al.. This sample, partially shown above, is quite old and closely related to the Mal’ta child, also found in Siberia from about 24,000 years ago. Interestingly enough, K14 carries more Neanderthal DNA than current Europeans. This skeleton was actually excavated in 1954, but was only recently genetically analyzed.

k14 mapFrom the paper, this map above shows the locations of recently analyzed ancient DNA samples.  Note that even though K14 and Mal’ta child are similar, they are not located in close geographic proximity.

k14 population clusterAlso from the paper, this chart of population clusters is quite interesting, because we can see which of these ancient samples share some heritage with today’s indigenous American populations, shown in grey. UPGH=Upper Paleolithic Hunter-Gatherer, MHG=Mesolithic Hunter Gatherer, which is later in time that Paleolithic, and NEOL=Neolithic indicating the farming population that arrived in Europe approximately 7,000-10,000 years ago from the Middle East

You can see that the Neolithic samples show no trace of ancestry with today’s Native people, but both pre-Neolithic Hunter-Gatherer cultures show some amount of shared ancestry with Native people. However, to date, MA1, the Malta child is the most closely related and carries the most DNA in common with today’s Native people.

Felix Chandrakumar is currently preparing the K14 genome for addition to the ancient DNA kits at GedMatch.  It will be interesting to see if this sample also matches currently living individuals.

Also from the K14 paper, you can see on the map below where K14 matches current worldwide and European populations, where the warmer colors, i.e. red, indicated a closer match.

K14 population matches

Of interest to genealogists and population geneticists, K14’s mitochondrial haplogroup is U2 and his Y haplogroup is C-M130, the same as LaBrana, a late Mesolithic hunter-gatherer found in northern Spain. Haplogroup C is, of course, one of the base haplogroups for the Native people of the Americas.

The K14 paper further fleshes out the new peopling of Europe diagram discussed in my Peopling of Europe article.

This map, from the Lazardis “Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans” paper published in September 2014, shows the newly defined map including Ancient North Eurasian in this diagram.

Lazaridis tree

K14 adds to this diagram in the following manner, although the paths are flipped right to left.

K14 tree

Blue represent current populations, red are ancient remains and green are ancestral populations.

Dienekes wrote about this find as well, here.

Paper Abstract:

The origin of contemporary Europeans remains contentious. We obtain a genome sequence from Kostenki 14 in European Russia dating to 38,700 to 36,200 years ago, one of the oldest fossils of Anatomically Modern Humans from Europe. We find that K14 shares a close ancestry with the 24,000-year-old Mal’ta boy from central Siberia, European Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, some contemporary western Siberians, and many Europeans, but not eastern Asians. Additionally, the Kostenki 14 genome shows evidence of shared ancestry with a population basal to all Eurasians that also relates to later European Neolithic farmers. We find that Kostenki 14 contains more Neandertal DNA that is contained in longer tracts than present Europeans. Our findings reveal the timing of divergence of western Eurasians and East Asians to be more than 36,200 years ago and that European genomic structure today dates back to the Upper Paleolithic and derives from a meta-population that at times stretched from Europe to central Asia.

You can read the full paper at the two links below.



It’s been a great year for ancient DNA analysis and learning about our ancestral human populations.

However, I have one observation I just have to make about this particular find.

What amazing teeth. Obviously, this culture did not consume sugar!

Posted in Archaeology, DNA, History | 4 Comments

Life Among the Mohawks in 1644

Fort Orange

Kiliaen van Rensselaer was a Dutch minister affiliated with the Dutch West Indies Company who lived at Fort Orange (above) in 1642 with his wife and children in what is today Albany, New York.  Today, the fort is under an expressway.  He worked with the Mohawk Indians, recording his experiences in a series of letters which were eventually published as a book.

The Van Rensselaer Bowier Manuscripts: Being the Letters of Kiliaen van Rensselaer, is available free at this link.

You can read an article about his findings relative to living among the Mohawks in 1644 at this link.

This map is a map of the river area and Fort Orange on the left between the letters I and S.

Fort Orange map

A map of the Native tribes of the area can be found at this link.

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American Indian Records on Ancestry

Recently Ancestry.com added several sets of American Indian records to their collection, and some are free.

This link should take you directly to the American Indian Collection search function at Ancestry.

ancestry indian collection

This collection includes the following data bases:

Ancestry Indian collection 1

Ancestry Indian collection 2

Posted in Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Five Civilized Tribes, Freedmen, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Osage, Research, Resources, Seminole | Leave a comment

Connecticut Indians, 1647-1789

In 1922, an index was assembled of the references to Indians in the Connecticut State Library.

This 186 page index covers the five hundred ninety nine documents which were selected about 1845 from the files of the General Assembly by Sylvester Judd, author of the History of Hadley, Mass. and arranged in two volumes of Connecticut Archives known as Indians.

Entries include petitions, court actions, land transactions, accounts, agreements and in some cases, genealogy when it pertains to the issue at hand.


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