Genetic research confirms Alaska homeland for Inupiat people

A welcome sign in Barrow, Alaska, in Inupiaq and English. Photo by Bob Johnston / Flickr

The homeland of the Inupiat people and the Inuit people in the U.S., Canada and Greenland is located on Alaska's North Slope, according to the results of a new genetic study.

At the request of Native elders, researchers at Northwestern University began conducting DNA studies on residents of Barrow on the North Slope. They compared the results to DNA from ancient remains in Canada and Greenland, along with DNA from other present-day Inuit populations, and found that they all originated from Alaska.

"This is the first evidence that genetically ties all of the Iñupiat and Inuit populations from Alaska, Canada and Greenland back to the Alaskan North Slope," M. Geoffrey Hayes, the lead author of the study, said in a press release.

The study is part of the Genetics of the Alaskan North Slope project at Northwestern. It appeared in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Get the Story:
New study shows close genetic ties between all Inupiat, Inuit peoples (The Nunatsiaq Online 5/4)
DNA study links Arctic groups to Alaska homeland (The Arctic Journal 5/1)

An Opinion:
Matt Ridley: Ancient DNA Tells a New Human Story (The Wall Street Journal 5/2)

Get the Study:
Mitochondrial diversity of Iñupiat people from the Alaskan North Slope provides evidence for the origins of the Paleo- and Neo-Eskimo peoples (American Journal of Physical Anthropology 2015)

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