What Is a Native American Blood Test?

A Native American blood test can determine if a person is descended from Native Americans, as the Association on American Indian Affairs explains. This DNA tests looks for markers that are characteristic of Native Americans, but it doesn’t indicate a person’s percentage of Native heritage or the tribe of descent.

Because Native American blood tests don’t indicate percentage of Native blood, they’re not acceptable to prove Native American heritage for the purposes of many college scholarships available to Native Americans, according to the Association on American Indian Affairs. The Bureau of Indian Affairs issues Certificates of Indian Blood to people who can prove their Native descent by producing birth certificates or by finding ancestors on Native American census rolls taken in the early 1900s.