Updated on
May 28, 2024 by Joann Slover

7 Best Native American Ancestry DNA Tests in 2024

7 Best Native American Ancestry DNA Tests in 2024

If you want to know more about your Native American roots, a DNA test kit is a good starting point. But picking the right one isn’t easy. You may worry about finding a kit that is precise, protects your data, and provides clear results.

I’ve taken a look at many DNA kits, considering their accuracy, how they handle your private info, the size of their user base, and their Native American data. From this, I’ve selected the best kits for tracing Native American heritage.

My top recommendation is AncestryDNA because it has excellent coverage in Native American regions and is super affordable. It offers a big user base and high accuracy, as well as strong privacy rules so your data stays safe while you uncover more about your family’s history.

Trace Your Native American Ancestry

Short on time? Here are the best DNA tests for Native American ancestry

  • AncestryDNA — Our top pick because of its large database of DNA samples, affordable prices, and a vast database of records; it also offers a free trial of its family tree builder which allows you to browse its historical records. 
  • 23andMe — Discover your Native American heritage and pinpoint geographical locations your ancestors come from. 
  • MyHeritage – Budget-friendly DNA test kit, with great family tree building tools, family finder features, and user-friendly reports on Native American ancestry. 
  • Living DNA — Great DNA test kit if you want to know how your indigenous ancestry affects your health, behavior, and more. 
  • FamilyTreeDNA — Trace your maternal and paternal lineage to determine which side of your family has Native American roots. 
  • Nebula Genomics – Analyzes your entire DNA with whole genome sequencing and provides detailed reports on your ancestry. 
  • SelfDecode – Good DNA test for ancestry, as well as your health, diet and nutrition, and how all of it is affected by your genes. 

See how each test compares

Our Best DNA Tests for Native American Ancestry Reviewed

1. AncestryDNA — Best for Connecting With Genetic Relatives

  • Covers over 1,400 geographical regions
  • Analyzes over 700,000 genetic markers
  • Includes relative finder and family tree builder
  • Results in 6 to 8 weeks

Price from$99.00
Our score9.9
Ancestry Deal 2024: In a limited-time deal, you can save 50% on Ancestry DNA + Family Tree Bundle. That means you can get a DNA test and build your family tree at half the regular price. Get this deal before it expires!

AncestryDNA is noted for having the largest genetic database among DNA testing services, positioning it as a prime option for individuals investigating Native American heritage. Its broad network facilitates connections with others who have similar genetic markers, presenting a distinct chance to delve deeper into one’s background. Although it delivers comprehensive insights into ethnic regions, it’s important to recognize that AncestryDNA, like all DNA tests, cannot pinpoint specific tribal affiliations.

Your DNA results from AncestryDNA include details about other users who are genetically matched to you. You can see the shared DNA percentage, helping you determine the level of familiarity and uncover common ancestors. The platform allows you to reach out via private message, fostering connections with those who share your genetic makeup.

AncestryDNA stands out for its comprehensive ethnicity breakdown. Beyond confirming Native American ancestry, it dives into information about various ethnic regions like North, Central, and South America. The report also includes details about each matched ethnicity, offering historical context and comparisons with reference panels. This abundance of information makes it an excellent choice for those new to DNA testing.

Offering only an autosomal DNA test, AncestryDNA is suitable for confirming or ruling out Native American ancestry. However, it’s essential to understand that this test won’t reveal which side of your family has indigenous roots. Your results typically arrive in 4 to 6 weeks. It also offers a free trial for its family tree-building service, so you can try it out while you wait. This feature will allow you to explore some historical records as well. In general Ancestry’s prices are some of the lowest on the market, starting at $99, which makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking to understand their heritage on a budget. 

Explore Your Native American Ancestry With AncestryDNA!

2. 23andMe — Best for Tracing Native American Roots

  • Compares your DNA against 45 known populations
  • Traces your DNA across 2750+ regions
  • Includes traits report with its basic screening
  • See if you have Neanderthal ancestry
  • Results in 3 to 4 weeks

Price from$229.00
Our score9.6

23andMe’s Ancestry Composition feature accurately identifies Native American ancestry, breaking down your DNA to reveal if you have Native American roots. It analyzes your genetic makeup to pinpoint the percentage of your DNA that originates from Native American ancestors, offering a clear insight into your connection to indigenous peoples of the Americas. This feature helps you understand the depth of your Native American heritage and its geographical origins.

The Indigenous Americas region report within 23andMe provides detailed information on the specific areas where your Native American ancestors may have lived. By comparing your DNA to reference data from various Native American populations, it narrows down the regions within the Americas that have contributed to your ancestry. This specificity offers a closer look at your ancestral ties to particular Native American communities.

With the DNA Relatives tool, you can connect with other users who share your Native American ancestry. It identifies and allows you to contact potential relatives based on shared DNA segments. This feature is invaluable for those looking to discover living family members and deepen their understanding of their Native American roots, fostering a sense of community and shared heritage.

23andMe’s Maternal and Paternal Haplogroups feature traces your direct maternal and paternal lines back to their ancient origins, including those related to Native American ancestors. Identifying your haplogroups can reveal the migration patterns of your forebears and connect you to specific Native American lineages, offering a historical perspective on your ancestry and linking you to the distant past of your Native American heritage.

Get Started With 23andMe

3. MyHeritage – Best for Building Your Family Tree and Connecting With Relatives

  • Explore over 19.4 billion records
  • Connect with relatives and build your family tree
  • User-friendly, detailed ancestry breakdowns
  • Results within 4 weeks

Price from$89.00
Our score9.7
MyHeritage 2024 Deal: MyHeritage often has deals that bring its generally low prices even lower. Right now, you can save up and get a full DNA kit for only $39, which is by far the cheapest DNA test on the market. Make sure to check back often as this deal appears every few months.

When it comes to exploring your family history, MyHeritage is an invaluable resource that offers a wealth of information and tools. If you’re particularly interested in uncovering your Native American heritage, MyHeritage can assist you in this fascinating journey. With a vast database and advanced DNA testing capabilities, you’ll have a great chance of discovering your ancestral roots.

MyHeritage’s DNA testing kit is a convenient and straightforward way to delve into your Native American ancestry. By simply providing a saliva sample, you can gain valuable insights into your genetic makeup and uncover any Native American heritage you may have. The company’s extensive DNA database includes diverse populations, making it more likely for you to find matches with Native American ancestry.

Once you receive your results, MyHeritage provides a comprehensive breakdown of your ethnic origins, including the percentage of Native American heritage. This information can deepen your understanding of your family’s history and culture. Additionally, you can connect with others who share similar ancestry through the platform’s robust community features, such as DNA matching and family tree building.

Beyond DNA testing, MyHeritage also offers a variety of historical records and documents that can help you trace your Native American lineage. From census records to birth certificates, you can uncover valuable details about your ancestors and their connections to Native American communities. The platform’s user-friendly interface and intuitive search features make it easy to navigate and explore the vast collection of records.

Get Started With MyHeritage

4. Living DNA — Best for Tracking Migration Routes

  • Covers over 150 geographical regions
  • Motherline and fatherline migration maps
  • Upload raw data for free DNA matching
  • Results in 6 to 8 weeks (but up to 12 weeks)

Price from$90.00
Our score9.4

Living DNA only covers 150 geographical regions in its genetic testing — fewer than my other top choices. But if you’re looking for a DNA test for Native American ancestry, you have no reason to worry. That’s because the company includes indigenous North and South America in its analysis, as well as the Amazonian and Mesoamerica regions.

However, if you’re also interested in seeing what other ethnicities are included in your genetic makeup, your results won’t be as thorough due to the company’s limitations.

Your DNA results will include an ethnicity estimate as you’d expect, along with an interactive map that allows you to learn about each region from which your ancestors came.

But here’s where Living DNA stands out: Its basic test also looks at your mtDNA (mitochondrial = mother) and, if you’re male, your Y-DNA (Y-chromosome = father). This means in addition to your genetic makeup, you also get to see the migration routes of your parent(s)’ ancestors so you can trace the steps they took to get you where you are today.

Living DNA can’t tell you to which Native American tribes your ancestors may have belonged. But because its ethnicity and region results are so detailed, you can sometimes make reasonable assumptions. For example, if your family history claims Navajo lineage and Living DNA returns a genetic match to the southwest United States, you may be on the right track.

Another feature I like about Living DNA is that it offers a free DNA matching service. If you already have raw data from a handful of other DNA testing companies, you can upload the info into Living DNA’s database to see if any of its customers may be relatives.

One thing I don’t like about Living DNA is that its processing times can be lengthy. While it generally promises results in 6 to 8 weeks, it cautions that it can take up to 12 weeks. I think three months is just way too long.

Explore Your Native American Ancestry With Living DNA!

 

5. FamilyTreeDNA — Best for Decoding Maternal and Paternal Lineage

  • Offers autosomal, mtDNA, and Y-DNA testing options
  • Relative finder through the last five generations
  • Results in 2 to 8 weeks

Price from$79.00
Our score8.5

FamilyTreeDNA has options for both confirming Native American roots and determining which side of your family has the indigenous ancestors — I love this, but there are some things you need to know.

Its standard Family Ancestry kit is an autosomal DNA test that breaks down your ethnic makeup in percentages and provides a heat map for a visual representation of your background. It also compares your results to the company’s database to find DNA matches within the last five generations. If you find a relative, you can reach out.

It’s this test that helps confirm whether or not you have Native American ancestry. However, if you want to know whether that lineage comes from your mom or dad, you have to upgrade — and that costs money.

FamilyTreeDNA also has mtDNA and Y-DNA tests for tracing your mother and father’s heritage. While this is definitely great for providing more details so you can more accurately trace your Native American roots, you have to buy each test separately. You can save some money if you know which parent has a potential indigenous background; but if you don’t, you’ll have to pay for both tests.

Note that Y-DNA tests can only be performed on males as the Y-Chromosome is only passed down from fathers to sons. (Also note that this isn’t unique to FamilyTreeDNA — it’s the same for every DNA testing company.) So if you think your paternal side is the source of your Native American ancestry, you’ll need to have a male relative (like a brother or cousin), take the test for you.

I really like that FamilyTreeDNA has the options to narrow down your indigenous history, but I don’t like that you have to pay so much for all the details. If you choose the Family Ancestry test, mtDNA test, and the expert-level Y-DNA test, you’ll pay well over $500.

Explore Your Native American Ancestry With FamilyTreeDNA!

6. Nebula Genomics — Best for Native American Analysis

  • Covers more than 20 geographical regions
  • Trace ancestors’ migration paths
  • Results in 2-4 weeks

Price from$249.00
Our score9.2

Nebula Genomics’ Native American ancestry testing is an easy way to learn about your ancestors and connect with your Native American heritage. You may trace your Native American ancestors and receive vital insights into your family’s history by taking a simple DNA test. It was quite useful while I was looking for information on my Native American ancestors.

By using Nebula Genomics’ data analysis tools, you can gain a deeper understanding of your Native American heritage and ancestry. These tools include ancestry composition, haplogroup analysis, and chromosome painting, which help you discover unknown information about your ancestors and their cultural background. I like how it provides a complementary approach to traditional genealogical research as it ensures more detailed results.

Get Started With Nebula Genomics

7. SelfDecode – Best for Getting Health and Ancestry Insights

  • Native American ancestry and health reports
  • Detailed DNA analysis
  • User-friendly reports
  • Results in 4-6 weeks

Price from$99.00
Our score9

If you’re interested in learning more about your DNA and how it affects your health and ancestry, the SelfDecode DNA Kit + Health & Ancestry Insights test is a great option. This comprehensive test provides you with a detailed report that includes insights into your genetic risk for certain health conditions, as well as information about your ancestry and genetic makeup.

The SelfDecode DNA Kit includes a unique feature that enables it to trace Native American ancestry. Through advanced DNA analysis techniques, the kit can identify specific genetic markers that are associated with Native American ancestry, enabling you to uncover your roots and explore your heritage.

In addition to providing ancestry insights, the SelfDecode DNA Kit also offers detailed information about your health risks. Once you receive your DNA results, you’ll receive personalized recommendations on which foods and supplements may be beneficial to your genetic profile, enabling you to make informed decisions about your health and wellness.

After you provide a small saliva sample at home, you’ll send it back to the lab using the prepaid package. Once the lab receives your sample, they’ll analyze your DNA using advanced sequencing technology to provide you with detailed insights into your genetic makeup. Typically, it takes around 4-6 weeks from the time the lab receives your sample for you to receive your results.

What We Look for in the Best DNA Tests for Native American Ancestry

There are several factors we consider when choosing the best DNA kits for Native American ancestry. Paying attention to them can help you get the most accurate and informative results possible.

  • Accuracy: Prioritizing accuracy is crucial when determining a DNA testing kit for Native American ancestry. We look for kits that use a comprehensive reference database with plenty of indigenous samples, which helps increase accuracy and reliability. Additionally, we make sure that each testing company uses advanced genotyping techniques, such as SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) analysis, which helps provide greater accuracy in identifying your genetic heritage.
  • Speed: The turnaround time for receiving your results is another important factor we assess. Some companies may take several weeks, while others may return your results in just a few days. While speed shouldn’t be the only deciding factor, it’s essential to find a balance between accuracy and processing time.
  • Relevance: To help you get the most relevant results for Native American ancestry, we only consider DNA testing kits with a strong focus on indigenous populations. Additionally, we ensure that each kit provides contextualized information about your ancestry, such as migration patterns, tribal affiliations, and historical context, which helps produce more meaningful results.
  • Value: When we assess the value of a DNA testing kit, we weigh the benefits and features against the cost. We only select kits that provide a comprehensive analysis and detailed report of your Native American ancestry at a competitive price. Additional services, such as access to genealogical resources, family tree-building tools, or connections to potential relatives, are highly regarded as well.

What’s in the Fine Print?

Some businesses may obscure hidden fees in the fine print, resulting in a discrepancy between the price listed on the product page and the actual amount paid at checkout. Here are some frequent extra charges you might face.

Interestingly, most DNA testing services do not include free initial shipping, which means you’ll incur an additional fee ranging from $5 to $15 when you place your order. Conversely, most of these companies do absorb the return shipping costs by providing a prepaid label, a perk included by all the companies I have evaluated.

Another thing to keep in mind when determining costs is the price of additional testing. If you just want to confirm whether you have Native American ancestry, an autosomal test like you find with AncestryDNA is sufficient.

However, if you want to know which side of your family has Native American roots, you’ll need mtDNA and Y-DNA tests. Some companies, like FamilyTreeDNA charge extra for these screenings, and their costs can run into the hundreds. Other companies like Living DNA include this information in the cost of a basic kit.

If you purchase a Native American ancestry DNA test kit from a company that also includes a family tree builder, you’ll want to pay attention to any additional fees that come with the use of the service. 

How Accurate Are Native American Ancestry DNA Tests?

Advances in technology have made at-home DNA tests extremely reliable, commonly achieving accuracy rates over 95%. However, it’s important to recognize that no test is entirely without the possibility of error; there is always a slight chance of inaccuracy.

Factors outside of the testing technology itself can impact the results of your test. One critical factor is the quality of the DNA sample you provide. Not adhering to the test guidelines can lead to a sample that is either inadequate or contaminated, both of which can compromise the test’s accuracy. Errors such as swabbing right after eating or improperly packaging your sample for mailing are typical examples that can affect the outcome.

What Will the Results From a Native American Ancestry DNA Test Tell Me?

DNA tests offer remarkable capabilities for uncovering the mysteries of your Native American heritage, but their potential goes beyond that. Here are additional insights you can gain:

– A comprehensive depiction of your ancestral background, spanning thousands of years.
– Migration information that reveals the historical movements of your distant relatives.
– The identification of individuals across the globe who share your genetic composition.
– Knowledge about specific genetic traits you possess, such as the likelihood of developing freckles.

It’s important to understand that while DNA tests for Native American ancestry can confirm the presence of indigenous lineage in your heritage, they cannot determine the specific tribe your ancestors belonged to. Consequently, these tests are not sufficient for establishing tribal affiliation.

Why is DNA testing not sufficient for establishing tribal affiliation?

DNA test kits can detect Native American genetic markers, but they are limited in pinpointing exact tribal heritage. Most tests offer a broad regional analysis that doesn’t narrow down to specific tribes. The mixing of DNA across generations means some ancestral lines, especially distant ones, may not be represented in the test results.

Another important aspect is the criteria for tribal identity and membership. Many tribes take into account cultural, social, and genealogical factors beyond genetic markers. Some tribes require documented lineage or a minimum percentage of Native American ancestry for membership. As a result, DNA test outcomes are usually insufficient as standalone evidence for tribal enrollment or association.

The Role of Genealogical Research in Tribal Registration

If you’re interested in confirming your Native American ancestry for the purpose of tribal registration, DNA testing should be just one part of a broader research effort. Tribal registry often requires official documents like birth, death, and marriage certificates to establish a direct lineage to a known tribal member. It’s advisable to consult tribal governments for specific enrollment criteria, which can differ significantly between tribes.

Genealogical research can also be invaluable. Records like census data, church records, and other public documents can help establish your family history. Specialized databases and historical societies often offer resources aimed at helping you trace Native American lineage. Working with professional genealogists who specialize in Native American ancestry can provide additional insights and help you assemble the necessary documentation for tribal registry.

How Do Our Top Picks Compete on Price?

Priced at $99.00, Ancestry is the most comprehensive DNA test for Native American ancestry, and also one of the most affordable. It also has a faster turnaround time than most, so you won’t wait long to receive your results.

FamilyTreeDNA is also similarly priced for its basic autosomal test. However, if you want to learn more about your maternal or paternal heritage (or both), you’ll have to pay extra for those tests. Together, all three tests cost about $350, which is pricey, but not the priciest I’ve seen.

Ancestry costs a little more at about $100, but I think the cost is justified when you consider its enormous DNA database. When you purchase a DNA test for Native American ancestry from this company, you have the best chance of finding living relatives.

Living DNA’s basic test is also in the $100 range, but its cost is also justifiable because it includes mtDNA and Y-DNA readings for which some other companies charge more.

With another offering for about $100, 23andme includes a traits service with its basic test. This interesting feature can reveal why you look the way you do and clue you in on health predispositions.

Which Native American Ancestry DNA Test is the Best?

If you’re looking for a comprehensive ethnicity estimate that will confirm your Native American ancestry plus thoroughly outline the other ethnic groups that complete your genetic makeup, you won’t go wrong with Ancestry. It’s also affordable, and you’ll receive your results fast.

If you suspect you have indigenous roots but aren’t sure which parent contributes to it, Living DNA is the best Native American ancestry test to take. It includes mtDNA and Y-DNA analysis at no extra cost so you can see whether it was mom or dad who had native ancestors.

Native American Ancestry DNA Test Kits Comparison Table

DNA Testing Company Ethnicity Estimate DNA Relative Matching Free Shipping
Available
Time to Results Starting Price
AncestryDNA 6-8 weeks $99.00
23andme 3-4 weeks $99.00
MyHeritage 4 weeks $89.00
Living DNA 6-8 weeks $90.00
FamilyTreeDNA 2-8 weeks $79.00
Nebula Genomics 2-4 weeks $249.00
SelfDecode 4-6 weeks $99.00

Confirm Your Native American Ancestry

Lots of people wonder if they have Native American ancestors. If you count yourself among them, a DNA test can help confirm your suspicions and possibly point you in the right direction to learn more. Along with further research, a DNA test can help you unravel the secrets of your family legends.

Of all the kits I researched and reviewed, I consider Ancestry the best DNA test for Native American ancestry. Its ethnicity estimate is so detailed, so you’ll get plenty of answers about where you come from. You’ll also find it’s among the most affordable tests.

FAQs

Can Native American ancestry DNA tests tell me what tribe I belong to?

No, a DNA test cannot tell you which tribe your ancestors belonged to, nor can it be used to claim tribal affiliation today.

Because all Native Americans descended from Asia to settle in the Americas, their genetic makeup is very similar, even though they came to inhabit far-reaching areas. The DNA of some groups did evolve, but even then, the diverge is not great enough to pinpoint a specific tribe — the best a DNA company can do is pinpoint a smaller region where your ancestors lived.

If you’d like to confirm your indigenous history, I recommend Ancestry. Its report will reveal your Native American heritage and detail the other ethnicities in your DNA.

What percentage do you need to be considered Native American?

Every indigenous tribe has its own criteria for determining membership. For example, the Navajo Nation requires at least 25% Native American blood, while the Comanche Nation requires at least 12.5%.

It’s important to note that having a particular percentage of Native American ancestry in your DNA is typically not enough to claim tribal affiliation. Many tribes consider membership based on your documented family history and participation.

Using tests from companies like Ancestry is best suited for satiating your curiosity about your lineage or to get hints about where to conduct further research.

Can Native American ancestry DNA tests tell me which side of my family is indigenous?

Yes, you can determine which side of your family has indigenous roots if you take a DNA test that does mtDNA and Y-DNA analysis.

Living DNA is a good example of a company that analyzes your maternal and paternal roots. Best of all, it includes this info as part of its basic package.

If you’re looking for an even more in-depth analysis, take a look at FamilyTreeDNA’s offerings. The expert-level test is pricey, but it offers a wealth of info.

Why don’t my DNA results show my Native American ancestry?

There are two common reasons that your DNA results may not show Native American ancestry: you don’t actually have any or it wasn’t passed down.

It’s not uncommon for families to claim Native American heritage, and there are lots of reasons for it. Sometimes it’s as simple as a misunderstanding, and other times it’s simply a case of storytelling.

But what about when you have documented evidence of indigenous history? In this case, your DNA may not show Native American heritage because your ancestors were several generations removed.

Remember: Your parents each contributed about half of their DNA to you. The DNA they passed down was made up of 50% of each their mother and father, whose parents each contributed 50%, and so on. This means that if you had Native American ancestors 10 generations ago, very little or none of their DNA may be present in your genetic makeup.

How much do Native American ancestry tests cost?

DNA tests for Native American heritage vary in price, but they generally start at about $80 to $100.

My vote for the best Native American ancestry DNA test is Ancestry. It will confirm whether you have indigenous DNA and detail all the other ethnicities in your past. It’s also one of the most affordable tests.

Which is the best DNA test for Native American ancestry?

Ancestry offers the best DNA test for Native American ancestry. Its ethnicity estimate will paint an accurate picture of where your ancient relatives came from so you can confirm your suspicions or set off on a journey about learning more about your heritage.

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Learn more.
About Author
Joann Slover
Joann Slover

Joann's a freelance health and wellness writer who loves learning something new — especially the insights provided by DNA tests.

Joann's a freelance health and wellness writer who loves learning something new — especially the insights provided by DNA tests.