Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was extracted from skeletal remains excavated from three Arikara sites in South Dakota occupied between AD 1600 and 1832. The diagnostic markers of four mtDNA haplogroups to which most Native Americans belong (A, B, C, and D) were successfully identified in the extracts of 55 (87%) of the 63 samples studied. The frequencies of the four haplogroups were 42%, 29%, 22%, and 7%, respectively, and principal coordinates analysis and Fisher's exact tests were conducted to compare these haplogroup frequencies with those from other populations. Both analyses showed closer similarity among the Mohawk, Arikara, and Sioux populations than between any of these three and any other of the comparison populations. Portions of the first hypervariable segment (HVSI) of the mitochondrial genome were successfully amplified and sequenced for 42 of these 55 samples, and haplotype networks were constructed for two of the four haplogroups. The sharing of highly derived lineages suggests that some recent admixture of the Arikara with Algonquian-speaking and Siouan-speaking groups has occurred. The Arikara shared more ancient lineages with both Siouan and Cherokee populations than with any other population, consistent with the Macro-Siouan language hypothesis that Iroquoian, Siouan, and Caddoan languages share a relatively recent common ancestry.
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Vol. 82 • No. 2