A Newfoundland First Nation has announced a study of genetic links between its members and ancient Indigenous inhabitants of the island, including the Beothuk people.
Miawpukek First Nation announced the study this month, to be done in partnership with Terra Nova Genomics, Inc. and funded by a National Geographic Explorer’s grant of US$30,000.
Chief Mi’Sel Joe says the study offers an opportunity to compare oral stories that trace family histories back to the Beothuk – widely thought to be extinct – with scientific evidence.
Researchers plan to begin looking at DNA testing kits from a sample group of 20 people, eventually expanding to assess samples from as many volunteers as possible.
Genetics professor Steven Carr with Terra Nova Genomics says the study is the largest of its kind with an Indigenous group in Canada.
Testing is set to begin in January and Carr says it may be a year or more before findings are ready for publication.