I am part Cherokee and with that, I try to find out as much as I can about my heritage. I find a lot of it fascinating, to say the least, but there are a few things that I didn’t know, and I thought I would do a laundry list of facts that I found out regarding Native Americans some time ago.
Physical characteristics that I exhibit are noted by a at the end.
- High cheekbones.
- Almond shaped almost oriental looking eyes.
- Heavy “fat” eyelids where the eyelid appears to have an extra fold.
- “Shovel” teeth, the teeth have a ledge on the backside. Run your tongue across them; they feel almost like a shovel shape.
- Large front teeth with a slight or more than slight gap. (Used to have slight gap before teeth crowded from wisdom teeth.)
- Lack of the Carabelli cusp on the maxillary first molars (a little bump), which is missing in Native Americans.
- Large heavy earlobes.
- An inverted breastbone. Often called a Chicken Breast. The bone actually makes an indentation in the chest.
- Little toes that lie under the next one.
- A second toe longer than the big toe.
- A wider space between the big toe and second one.
- An extra ridge of bone along the outside of the foot.
- “Lingual nodes,” the two bony nodes that protrude from the jaw bone under the tongue.
- A pigmentation in the back of the eye on the retina peculiar to Native Americans.
In addition to the listed characteristics, Native Americans also have the following (noted by for me, as well):
- Higher occurrence of hypoglycemia.
- Higher occurrence of Type-2 Diabetes.
- Thyroid conditions Hypo and Hyper are often found in those with Native ;Ancestry.
- Alcoholism is due to the lack of an enzyme to convert the alcohol in the bloodstream.
- Oclesia of the Esophagus – the last muscle in the esophagus becomes too strong
and closes off after just a few bites and the person can not swallow anymore.
- Heart Disease.
- Kidney problems, most likely related to the occurrence of diabetes.
- Native American are harder to match to for blood transfusions and marrow donations due to their antigens being harder to match. This is usually in cases of cancer where this is needed.
So, physical characteristics to a Native Americans is solely not limited to just the traditional dark hair, high cheekbones, nose shape and darker skin that most people associate with them. I had encountered this list on a genealogy website at one point years ago and found it interesting that I found a lot of the characteristics listed. I knew that I was part Cherokee, but it was interesting to find all the little quirks that made me different.
Now if I could do something about the pudgy jowls most Native women end up with as they age, I would be happy. Can’t fight genetics, unfortunately.
Additionally, I never said I was an expert or a researcher. If you look at the cited sources below, you will see this is based on two separate publications, one of which is from the NAAH. (Cones Kupwah Snowflower in NAAH #14 July 1996 “Let’s Get Physical”) The article itself was not limited to Cherokee but most native tribes in North America.
If you are not engaged enough to read the comments and reply objectively, then don’t bother commenting.
Sources: Family Tree publication of the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library and The article “Let’s Get Physical” by an NAAH Contributing Editor