Scientists at the University of Cambridge used scraps of DNA from the scalp of a chieftain named Sitting Bull and found his living great-grandson.
US citizen Ernie Lappoint was the great-grandson of the Sitting Bull chief – he became one of the most famous Indians and was a key figure in the history of the indigenous resistance to the US military. He became one of the leaders of the tribal union in the early 1860s. The Sioux tribes have won several battles against the US regular army and volunteer troops.
It is known that the funeral of the leader was held in secret; only an undertaker and a military doctor were present at the ceremony, since he was killed by a lieutenant and a police sergeant. Relatives later exhumed the alleged remains and reburied the body closer to their homeland. As a result, the exact location of the grave could not be found.
To learn more about the personality of the leader and his descendants, scientists launched a project to extract DNA from his scalp. As a result, paleogenetics were able to restore only 0.8% of the genome, but this was enough to clarify its relationship with living people.
“We isolated a fairly large amount of DNA from the Sitting Bull’s hair and compared it with modern Sioux genomes. The results show that Ernie Lapointe is indeed Sitting Bull’s great-great-grandson and is his closest living relative.” (Eske Villerslev, professor at the University of Cambridge)
As a result, it was revealed that Lappoint and his four sisters are the closest modern descendants of Sitting Bull.
The authors hope that their work will help find the exact location of the Sitting Bull’s grave and resolve the serious controversy that still persists in American history.