BLOOD GROUPS O F CANADIAN INDIANS AND ESKIMOS R. RUGGLES GATES King’s College, University of L o d o n During the summer of 1928 I organized an expedition down the Mackenzie River in Canada t o the Arctic. One of the objects of the expedition was to study the blood groups of the various Indian tribes in the Mackenzie River Valley and of the Eskimos near the mouth of that river. I was accompanied by Mr. K. Mellanby, of Cambridge, who acted as assistant. The expedition was made possible by the facilities provided by the Hudson’s Bay Company, which has numerous trading posts throughout the vast territory of the Canadian Northwest. To Messrs. Parke, Davis & Co. and St. Mary’s Hospital, London, I am indebted for a supply of the sera used in taking the blood groups. I have also to thank Mr. D. Jenness, Chief of the Division of Anthropology, Ottawa, Canada, for some useful information regarding the distribution of the various Indian tribes in the Mackenzie River Valley and around Lake Athabaska and Great Slave Lake. I am further indebted to the Canadian Government f o r the duty-free entry of my equipment, and also for the provision of maps and other facilities. Since the original discovery independently by Shattock ( ’00) and Landsteiner ( ’00) that the serum from certain individuals would agglutinate or clump the red cells from certain others, this subject has developed into a large field of work with an immense literature, which has recently been summarized by Hirszfeld (’28). It may be briefly stated that the blood grouping of an individual was found to depend upon the presence o r absence of two isoagglutinogens, called A 475 AMERICAN JOURNAL O F PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOQY, VOL. X I , NO. JANUARY-MARCH, 1929 3 476 R. RUGGLES GATES and B, in the red blood corpuscles. Any person's blood cells may contain A or B or neither or both. The serum from A will agglutinate the red corpuscles of B, and the serum from a B individual will agglutinate the cells of a person belonging to group A. Agglutinins in the blood serum act on specific receptors (agglutinogens) in the red corpuscles and cause the clumping. It is generally assumed that only the agglutinogens are inherited, but the relation of the serum to inheritance requires further investigation. Thus are derived the four blood groups. According t o the scheme of Jansky, now usually followed, the groups are as follows: group 1-0 (absence of both A and B agglutinogens), group I1 contains A, group I11 possesses B, and group I V has both A and B. The first interest attaching to blood groups was, of course, in connection with blood transfusion, for it explained why transfusion could take place successfully between certain individuals, while with others a more o r less violent reaction resulted. Members of group I are thus 'universal donors,' since they agglutinate the corpuscles of no other type, while members of group I V are universal recipients. Owing to the inheritance of these haemagglutinogens, the blood grouping has also been used as evidence in cases of disputed parentage. It may further be pointed out that, while A and B were for some time regarded as independent of each other in inheritance, each being dominant to its absence, they are now, through the work of Bernstein ('25) and Furuhata ('27), generally regarded as multiple allelomorphs, or, in other words, as representing independent germinal changes or mutations in the same locus of the germ plasm. It may be pointed out, however, that Bauer ( '28) has recently produced evidence in favor of the presence of two independent factors with crossing-over between them. That the blood of each individual depends upon fixed hereditary factors, no one now doubts, but we need not enter here into details of the manner of inheritance. The serological study of human races and populations from an anthropological point of view began during the war, and BLOOD GROUPS O F CANADIAN I N D I A N S AND E S K I M O S 477 in 1919 the Hirszfelds demonstrated that races differ in the percentages of the four groups, i.e., 0, A, B, and AB, or I, 11,111,and IV. Since that time, an immense amount of work in blood grouping has been done with races in nearly all parts of the world. Among the results derived from thess blood tests may be mentioned the suggestion that A originated in Europe and B in southern Asia, the human race originally being all of group 0. This conclusion was based on the relatively high percentage of A in most European populations (except those, such as the Gypsies, who have recently come from the East) and the high frequency of B in the eastern Asiatic races. The subsequent spread and present distribution of A and B would then result from migration and intercrossing of races. From evidence to be brought out later, it appears probable, on the same basis of reasoning, that €3 originated through a much later mutation than A. The fact that these agglutinogens have since been found in anthropoid apes does not necessarily vitiate this argument, for the phenomena of parallel mutations make it possible for them to have originated independently in different species or even in the same species. Rut if, as seems probable, A and B have arisen but once in the human species, then the percentage of 0 (group I) in any particular race might be regarded as a measure of its isolation from the original centers of dispersal of A and B. The LapIanders of Sweden are interesting from this point of view. Rietz ('27) found the following grouping from tests of 199 Lapps : 0, 53. per cent ; A, 42 per cent; B, 3 per cent ; AB, 4 per cent. Pure-blooded Lapps can no longer be found. The high percentage of A indicates proximity of European races over a long period, and the very low value of B shows their non-Mongoloid origin. Their percentage of 0, however, is much lower than that of the Amerinds, in whom it ranges from 70 per cent to 91 per cent (Coca and Deibert, '23 ; Nigg, '26; Snyder, '26), and this indicates less isolation from Abearing races. 478 R. RUGCLES GATES The view that the percentage of 0 is a measure of isolation is of interest in its application to the North American Indians. Numerous tests by different authors (see also Snyder, '27) agree in showing that the bulk of the Indians belong to group I (0),a small percentage to A, and a still smaller one to B. It has even been suggested that all pure-blooded Indians must belong to group I, the presence of A or B being an indication of intermingling with the white man during the last three centuries. The writer does not, however, believe it to be necessary to draw the last conclusion. Anthropologists are agreed that the Indians of North America came across Behring Strait. No doubt this was a gradual trickle of population over long periods. If the main bulk of Indian ancestors were isolated in America before the A agglutinogen had spread eastward from Europe, then the paucity of A in this race would be accounted for. If the similarities pointed out by Hrdli6ka ('26) between Amerinds and Thibetans, in physique, behavior, dress, and even in the intonations of their language, are significant as indicating the origin of the Indian race, then it would be necessary to assume that B arose in southern Asia long after A appeared in Europe; otherwise the Indians would have been 'contaminated' with B before they reached the northeastern corner of the Asiatic continent. There is another and perhaps more cogent argument for A being older in origin than B. As pointed out by Hirszfeld ( '28, S. 114), the Australian aborigines agree with the American Indians in having very little B, but differ from them in having a markedly high percentage of A-over 50 per cent in some of the statistics. This, combined with the almost or quite complete absence of B in such a primitive race, argues for a much later origin of B than A, especially as the center of origin of A is, according to hypothesis, much more remote from them than is that of B. This assumption of a great difference in time as well as place in the origin of A and B will help to explain many otherwise anomalous conditions in the present blood grouping of races. BLOOD GROUPS O F CANADIAN INDIANS AND ESKIMOS 479 However all this may be, it is difficult to exclude the possibility that the small percentage of A and B in the North American Indians has been due to crosses with whites during the last ten generations. Snyder ('26) has shown that Indians known to be of mixed descent have a higher percentage of agglutinogens than those regarded as pure-blooded. A further argument on this point will be deferred until the new results regarding Indians and Eskimos have been presented. A word is necessary regarding the conditions under which the blood tests were carried out. Where a missionary hospital was available, the serological determinations were made there. I n other cases it was necessary to visit the Indian tents with an interpreter. The difficulties were also increased by t,he fact that all the Indians were either ill or just recovering from a severe epidemic of influenza, the death rate from which reached 10 per cent in some places. The tests were made by puncturing the lobe of the left ear with a surgeon's needle and adding a drop of the blood to a drop of each of the two sera on a white porcelain plate. After carefully mixing the blood and serum in each drop, the agglutination of corpuscles, if it occurred at all, invariably took place within five minutes. It was usually easily visible to the naked eye, but occasionally the agglutination was so fine as to require a hand lens to make certain of its presence. Each drop was therefore examined with a lens. I n the absence of agglutination it presented a perfectly uniform field of red corpuscles. Care was required to adjust the amount of blood to the size of the drop of serum, so as to get a uniform pale-red drop when the two were mixed. Too much blood or too little obscured the result. It has also been suggested that the first drop of blood, which may contain fragments of broken tissue, should not be used, but I am not convinced that this makes a difference in the agglutination. Incidentally, it may be remarked that individuals differ enormously in the vascularity of their ears. I n some, care is necessary to avoid obtaining too much blood, while in others, especially old people, it may be difficult to 480 R. RUGGLES GATES get any flow. Young children also usually have less vascular ear lobes. At Hay River on Great Slave Lake, in Lat. 61"N., there is a large Anglican missionary school which receives children from about seven to fourteen years of age. Here were examined a number of Loucheux Indian children from Fort MacPherson on the Peel River (Lat.67"N.) and several Eskimo children from various points on the Arctic coast near the mouth of the Mackenzie. I n addition, several Slavey Indian families living at Hay River were tested. Slaveys were also tested at Fort Simpson, a few Dogribs at Fort Norman, Hares at Fort Good Hope, and Loucheux at Arctic Red River. These places are all on the Mackenzie River. The whole native population of the Mackenzie Valley and Great Slave Lake consists of about 4000 Indians, who are rapidly diminishing in numbers through various epidemics. It is well known that the tribes mentioned, together with the Yellowknives north of Slave Lake and the Chipewayans around Lake Athabaska, all belong to the Athabaskan group. They are physically indistinguishable and speak similar languages, the differences only amounting to dialects in certain cases. The Hares and the Loucheux appear to differ temperamentally from the other tribes. They live near or north of the Arctic Circle, in a region of continuous summer light and winter darkness. Both tribes show greater vivacity and intelligence than the Slaveys and other tribes farther up the Mackenzie River, who are passive, stodgy, and appear less intelligent. Regarding the Dogribs, of whom I saw very few, I obtained various opinions. Some regard them as the most primitive and degraded of all the tribes in this region. But the French-Canadian doctor at Fort Resolution, who makes yearly visits to a community of 800 Dogribs at Fort Rae on Great Slave Lake, considers them the best of the lot, jolly, good-natured, progressive, and much better than the Slaveys. This group of Athapaskan tribes in the Mackenzie Basin and around Great Slave and Athabaska Lakes would form the basis of a valuable study on the relative rate of differ- 481 BLOOD GROUPS OF CANADIAN INDIANS AND ESKIMOS entiation of physical, mental, and lingual characteristics ; but it will have to be undertaken promptly, as epidemics and intercrossing will very soon terminate the existence of the pure-blooded elements. Table 1 shows the results obtained, as regards the blood grouping in the members of each tribe tested. TABLE 1 I Slavey, Dogribs, Hares, Loucheux (Tukudh), III XI 331 4 11 12 IV - 52 3 2 la 11 - - 60 0 0 these had mixed ancestry. Two of these had mixed ancestry. aThis one had lighter skin and eyes and was undoubtedly a half-breed. ' Three of All these Athapaskan tribes would appear to be alike in their blood grouping, and in the aggregate they give 84.5 per cent 0 and 15.5 per cent A. The complete absence of B is a little surprising on the assumption that the presence of A and B is entirely due to post-Columbian crosses with Europeans, but, considering the small numbers, such a result is not statistically impossible. The tests of Eskimo were made partly on children in the school at Hay River and partly on adults at Aklavik, in the delta of the Mackenzie. The number of tests was unfortunately small, as the serum became exhausted before any more tests could be taken. I n table 2 the Eskimo results are given. TABLE 2 I II III IV 4 4 7 1 P e r cent 0 25 P e r cent A P e r cent B 25 44 P e r cent A B 6 They are in such striking contrast with the Indian tests that they appear significant, even although the numbers are so few. If we include the one AB individual, then half the Eskimos tested contained B-a surprising contrast with the Indians, among whom not a single B occurred. 482 R. RUWLES GATES The Eskimos are great travelers and many of them come to Aklavik to meet the steamer. The birthplaces of those tested were, as f a r as they could be ascertained, as follows: Alaska, one ( B ) ; Herschel Island, two (B) ; Rfackenzie Delta, five (two 0, two A, one B) ; Nunatomiok family, four (0, A, two B) ; Kittigazuit, one (AB) ; Baillie Island, three (0, A, B). Hence they all but one came from the Arctic coastal area between Long. 140"W. and 128"W. This region was formerly frequented by whalers, and intercrossing undoubtedly took place. The individuals examined, however, showed no signs of white blood by their skin color or features, except one mentioned below, who was undoubtedly a cross. With this exception, they were regarded as pure-blood Eskimo. In skin color they were as dark as the Indians. The results of a study of certain Eskimo-white families will be published elsewhere. They show that an individual who is one-quarter Eskimo may have a perfectly white skin, thus indicating that probably only one genetic factor for skin color is present in this race. I n how f a r the blood groups obtained are the results of former miscegenation can only be determined when the blood groupings of more isolated Eskimo tribes farther east on the Arctic coast have been obtained. I n the results reported here, only one showed any physical signs of hybridity. H e was a boy from Herschel Island, tested at Hay River School. Unlike the other Eskimos, he bore a white man's name, and his features clearly showed that he was a half-breed. His blood test was B. The only previous record of Eskimo blood groups is by Heinbecker and Pauli ( '27), who examined 124 Eskimos in the Thule district of northwest Greenland-the most northerly people in the world. Leaving out those from Thule itself, where seventeen (out of fifty-seven) having agglutinogens all showed white ancestry by their appearance, and omitting seven others who were known to be half-breeds and one of unknown parentage, the remaining sixty were all in group I. In more southerly localities, such as Godhavn, Upernivik, and BLOOD GROUPS OF CANADIAN INDIANS AND ESKIMOS 483 Pond Inlet, where the Eskimo population is half-breed, the ninety-seven tested gave 41 per cent 0,40 per cent A, 8 per cent B, 10 per cent AB. Although some students of the Eskimo (e.g., Rasmussen, ’26 ; Rink, ’87 ; Steensby, ’17, and others) derive them from Indian ancestors driven north to the Arctic coast, it seems much more likely that they crossed Behring Strait independently of the Indians and gradually spread eastward to Green1and.l The presence of the eye-fold, which the Indians d o not possess, would alone argue for a separate Mongoloid origin, even if their blood grouping proves to be the same as that of the Indians. The presence of a high percentage of B (often 38 to 40 per cent) in Buriats, Coreans, and Manchurians (data given by Hirszfeld, ’28) suggests the sources from which Eskimos with a similar blood grouping might have come. The percentage of B in Coreans, however, varies in different localities from 34 per cent to 7 per cent. If Eskimos with a high percentage of B have not derived it in recent times from the white man, then it would be necessary to conclude that they brought their B with them across Behring Strait and that they are much more recent, arrivals in America than the Indians. From this point of view it is desirable that the blood grouping of the Eskimos among the Chukchi on the Asiatic side of Behring Strait should be determined, if they still remain distinct. While it is true that a race which migrates as a whole retains its blood groups, yet it is possible that the gradual eastward spread of the Eskimo in Arctic America might have led to the final isolation of a group of people having neither A nor B. Before deciding that the Eskimo blood grouping here reported is entirely the result of crossing in recent gener‘This is also contrary to the views of Rudmose Brown ( ’27), who states (p. 152): “ I t is now generally accepted that they are descended from an inland people who were led to the Arctic coasts either by following herds of caribou or pressure by hostile Indian tribes.” It may be pointed out that Steensby and Rasmussen would derive the Eskimo from inland Indian tribes west of Hudson Bay in the vicinity of Lake Yathkyed; while Rink based his views on transitions between the two races, both in physical characters and in culture, on the western coast of Alaska. These transitions were very probably the result of racial contact and intermixture. 484 R. RUGGLES GATES ations, it is very important that the relatively remote colonies in Coronation Gulf and other parts of Arctic Canada should be tested. It is hoped that arrangements may be undertaken for this to be done in the next few years. If uncontaminated Eskimo proved to have a high percentage of B, then one might be justified in arguing that they had crossed Behring Strait relatively recently, and later than the Indians; but if they proved to be nearly or quite devoid of A and B, then one must assume a much earlier passage of the Strait.2 I n any case, on other anthropological grounds, it seems very unlikely that they are derived from Indian ancestors driven northward into the ice. SUMMARY 1. The results of blood tests of small numbers of Indians in the Mackenzie River Valley indicate that four different Athapaskan tribes agree in their blood grouping, the seventyone individuals tested giving 84.5 per cent 0 and 15.5 per cent A. This is in accordance with blood tests of other Indian tribes. 2. I n contrast with these results, the sixteen Eskimos tested, who came from the region of the Mackenzie River delta and a few hundred miles of Arctic coast east and west of this area, gave 25 per cent 0, 25 per cent A, 44 per cent B, and 6 per cent AB. This may be due to crossing with whites, although there is no evidence of it in the physical appearance of these Eskimos. These facts are discussed in relation to theories of blood-grouping origin and dispersal and anthropological views of the origin of the Eskimo and Indians. 3. It is suggested that the agglutinogen A arose in the human race much earlier than B. * The discovery, by Rasmussen and others, of a Paleo-Eskimo culture along the whole Arctic coast shows that the advent of the Eskimo could not in any case have been very recent. BLOOD GROUPS OF CANADIAN INDIANS AND ESKIMOS 485 LITERATURE CITED BAUER,K. H. 1928 Zur Losuiig des Problems der Blutgruppenvererbung. Klin. Wochenschr., Bd. 7, S. 1588-1592. BERNSTEIN, F. 1925 Zusammenfassende Betrachtungen iiber die erblichen Blutstrukturen des Menschen. Zeits. f. Abst. u. Vererb., Bd. 37, S. 237-270. BROWN,R. N. RUDMOSE1927 The Polar regions. London: Methuen. COCA,A. F., AND DEIBERT,F. 0. 1923 Blood groups among American Indians. Journ. Immunology, vol. 8, pp. 487-491. FURUHATA, T. 1927 On the heredity of the blood groups. Japan Medical World, vol. 7, no. 7, p. 13. HEINBECKER, P., AND PAULI, R. H. 1927 Blood grouping of the Polar Eskimo. Journ. Immunology, vol. 13, pp. 279-283. HIRSZFELD, L. 1928 Konstitutionsserologie und Blutgruppenforschung. Berlin : Springer. HIRSZFELD, L. AND H. 1919 Serological differences between the blood of different races. Lancet, vol. 197, pp. 675-679. HRDLIEKA,A. 1926 The peopling of the earth. Proc. Amer. Phil. Soe., 701. 65, pp. 150-156. LANDSTEINER, K. 1900 Zur Kenntnis der antifermentativen, lytischen und agglutinierenden Wirkungen des Blutserums und der Lymphe. Centlbl. f. Bakt., Parasitenk. u. Infektionskrankh., Bd. 27, S. 357-362. NIGG, CLARA 1926 A study of the blood groups among the American Indians. Journ. Immunology, vol. 11, pp. 319-322. RASMUSSEN,K. 1926 The fifth Thule Expedition. Geog. Journ. RIETZ, T. 1927 The blood group among the Laps in Sweden. Journ. Immunology, vol. 13, pp. 37-39. RINK, HENRICH L. 1887 The Eskimo tribes: their distribution and characteristics, especially as regards language. London : Williams & Norgate. (Vol. 1 1 : Meddel. om GrZnland.) SHATTOCK, S. G. 1900 Chromocyte clumping in acute pneumonia and certain other diseases, and the significance of the buffy coat in the shed blood. Journ. Pathol. and Bacteriol., vol. 6, pp. 3 0 3 4 1 4 . SNYDER, L. H. 1926 Human blood groups: their inheritance and racial significance. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop., vol. 9, pp. 233-263. 1927 Blood grouping and its practical applications. Arch. Path. and Lab. Med., vol. 4, pp. 21.5-257. STEENSBY,H. P. 1917 An anthrogeographical study of the origin of the Eskimo. 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