Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Michael Blackstone-Boatwright, a great-grandson of Sitting Bull, has been identified using DNA
A great-grandson of Sitting Bull has been identified after an exhaustive DNA test.
Michael Blackstone-Boatwright, a US land claim negotiator and lawyer, is the son of one of Sitting Bull’s brothers.
But because the DNA passed down from black to white through his mother, for many years the identity of his great-grandfather was unclear.
That changed after he took part in the Aittok Country Reclamation Treaty Treaty in 1970, which successfully protected the tribal land.
The research, based at the University of Rochester, used DNA analysis to unmask his great-grandfather as Sitting Bull’s one and only son, according to news.com.au.
Michael Blackstone-Boatwright, from Watertown, New York, said he was thrilled to have the importance of his family’s history recognised.
“We were always taught to honour our ancestors, even if you don’t know your own story,” he said.
The story started when he was searching for his great-grandfather’s birth certificate so he could find out more about his family history.
His uncle Tom told him that he was the son of the great-grandfather he knew, so Michael agreed to find out what the truth might be.
Mr Blackstone-Boatwright said he discovered at the time of the treaty that his father’s mother’s side of the family had been confined to the reservation.
In the search for more information about his great-grandfather, Michael uncovered letters written by George and Furik Willis asking for assistance from the US government.
The story of the treaty stands out for Michael, he said.
“He [George] was in full support of the treaty and thought it was a lot for them to take.”