Saturday, April 26, 2014

Happy DNA Day!!

April 25, 2014 [DNAart]
I know I am a day behind with this post but I still wanted to publish it! DNA has truly changed the way I view myself, my culture, my history, and my view on the world. I wanted to share a bit why taking a DNA test was important to me.

Before taking my 23andme test, which back then was a hefty price ($500), I didn't really know what to think of myself. I knew that my history was full of multicultural ancestors, yet how much of me was actually native Taíno, African, or European? I had always been proud to be Puerto Rican and my tree was definitely helping me to realize more and more how deep my roots are on the island, yet I still had no idea what continents my lines ran back to.

Parranda en Puerto Rico [ElBoricua]

Taking the 23andme test and later the AncestryDNA test really helped to show how mixed our culture, my culture, really was. I learned about my Y-DNA, mtDNA, and my ancestral composition. I learned that my Y-DNA traces back to the area between Spain and France where the Pyrenees lie; this wasn't too surprising since many Spaniards came to Puerto Rico. I learned that my mtDNA traced back to the natives of the Americas and probably specifically to the native Taíno and/or Arawaks who lived in Borikén before the arrival of Cristóbal Colón. I also learned that while I am little over half European, I do carry about 15% and 12% African and Native American genes respectively. Other haplogroups in my family tie into various groups such as: West Africa, Middle Eastern/Jewish, Irish, English/French, and there is more to learn about.

Ancestry Composition - Luis Rivera [23andme]

I learned that even though my family has been on the island of Puerto Rico for at least 200+ years I have ancestors who immigrated to Puerto Rico from Martinique and Guadeloupe, bringing their own culture and identity with them to their new land. In that 15% Sub-Saharan African, I carry their names, their stories, their memories.

Many of us come from very complex and interesting backgrounds, we have to learn more from both a genetic and historic standpoint to understand who we are here today. I am a combination of curious explorers, friendly natives, and determined slaves. I have learned to view the world differently, that skin color doesn't make or break your identity and that there is more than meets the eye. My DNA results have made me proud of all aspects of my ancestry, to realizing that I am my own melting pot. 

So Happy DNA day: take your own DNA test, test someone in your family, or learn more about your results! I don't think you'll regret it!

Spanish, Taíno, Africans [TainoNationNews]

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