Because of repeated epidemics and conflicts with English colonists, including King Philip's War of 1675-76, and subsequent colonial laws forbidding tribal identification, the Wampanoag population was largely decimated, decreasing in size from as many as 12,000 individuals in the 16th century to less than 400, as recorded in 1677. To investigate the influence of the historical past on its biological ancestry and native cultural identity, we analyzed genetic variation in the Seaconke Wampanoag tribe. Our results indicate that the majority of their mtDNA haplotypes belongs to West Eurasian and African lineages, thus reflecting the extent of their contacts and interactions with people of European and African descent. On the paternal side, Y-chromosome analysis identified a range of Native American, West Eurasian, and African haplogroups in the population, and also surprisingly revealed the presence of a paternal lineage that appears at its highest frequencies in New Guinea and Melanesia.
Genetic origins of a Massachusetts "Indian" tribe
According to a paper that recently went up at the website of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, "Genetic heritage and native identity of the Seaconke Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts":