Native American DNA Testing

tribal dna testing acceptance

Can you use DNA Testing to prove Native American Indian ancestry?

No. DNA Testing cannot directly prove Native American ancestry. It should be noted that each Native American tribe has their own set of guidelines that do not consider any form of DNA test as proof of tribal relationship. Other aspects such as cultural background and family ties are the foundation of the acceptance into the tribe. 

Most Ancestry DNA testing companies are not AABB accredited labs. What this means is there is no oversight on how the testing practices are performed. Even if the company has the AABB accreditation and they offer Ancestry Testing their results are still not legally admissible in court.

Ancestry testing companies results cannot be used for any legal purpose. Ancestry testing can only be used for information and entertainment purposes only.

Legal Testing

A Native American tribe may request a person who they believe are related to a tribal member to perform a DNA relationship test to prove they are biologically related to the tribal member. This is the only circumstance where a DNA test can be used and recognized legally if the parties involved perform a legal DNA test.  Below are some of the most commonly requested DNA testing  types.

  1. Paternity Test
  2. Maternity Test
  3. Sibling DNA Test
  4. Grandparent Test

Native American tribal membership requirements can vary greatly from tribe to tribe. However, some common requirements often include:

1. Proof of Lineage: Most tribes require proof that you have direct lineage to a tribal member. This could be a parent, grandparent, or further back. Typically, you’ll need to provide birth certificates, family records, or other documentation to prove this.

2. Blood Quantum: Some tribes require a certain degree of Native American “blood”. This is often measured in fractions (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc.).

3. Tribal Residency or Affiliation: Some tribes require that you live on the reservation or have some other form of active affiliation with the tribe.

4. Application: Many tribes require you to fill out an application to become a member. This might involve providing documentation, attending interviews, or other steps.

5. Adoption or Marriage: In some cases, a person can become a tribal member through adoption or marriage, although this is less common and not accepted by all tribes.

6. Recognition by the Tribe: Ultimately, tribal membership often comes down to recognition by the tribe itself. Even if you meet all other requirements, the tribe usually has the final say on whether or not to accept you as a member.

It’s important to note that each federally recognized tribe maintains its own enrollment procedures and requirements, and you should contact the specific tribe for their criteria.


In conclusion, DNA testing to prove Native American ancestry is not a requirement for acceptance into the majority of tribes. If DNA testing is an option, it will typically be performed with a close relative such as a mother, father, grandparent, sibling, or an aunt or uncle. Extended family members such as a cousin. There are no testing option that could prove a biological relationship effectively we are aware of. 

Legal DNA testing performed by our partner AABB accredited laboratory is available for these options. If you are in need of professional legal DNA testing services, please contact our office today at 866-205-8356 to get started.