A small population in Appalachia has been linked to an ancient tribe in India by DNA. Kevin Jones, a biologist from the University of Virginia, says that he has discovered a rare DNA sequence in the area that is shared by a Northern India tribe called the Siddis. In Apalachia, they are known as the Melungeons.
The Siddis are descendants of African slaves, sailors and merchants who ended up in India as a result of trade with East Africa, which started in the 12th century and lasted into the 19th. These slaves became the part of the Indian population known as “untouchables.” Despite Indian anti-discrimination laws, there is still a lot of prejudice against them in India.
Brent Kennedy, author of ?The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People: An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America? discovered his genes contained this sequence through a private DNA analysis. “I’m amazed and pleased to see that duplicated here,” he says.
The Melungeons have suffered discrimination throughout history because they often have darker skins than most people in the region. Some Melungeons have an olive skin tone, but many in the current generation have fair complexions. Jones says, “Some of the antipathy I’ve run into is because they remember how bad it was to be labeled a Melungeon. They don’t want some twit like me coming along and saying, ‘You look sort of Melungeon to me.'”
Jones began the study to get insight into diseases that occur more frequently in the Melungeons than in other populations, such as Familial Mediterranean Fever, sarcoidosis and thalessemia.
After generations of trying to pass for white, Melungeons are now becoming proud of their exotic ancestry. Over the years, Melungeons have become a mixed race, due to intermarriage with their neighbors. Wayne Winkler, president of the Melungeon Heritage Association, says, “The neighbors with more money tried to keep their sons and daughters away from us, but we were just so cute they couldn’t do it.”
I bet they?ve produced some cute Indigo children too. Think you?ve got an Indigo? Read all about it in ?The Indigo Children? and ?An Indigo Celebration? by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober,click here.
See June 20 news story ?First Americans Were Australians?, click here.
To learn more about Melungeons,1286,53325,00.html,click here.
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