The term Melungeon is often seen as a 'test' of the nature and notion of nationhood, as it encompasses so many of the aspects which characterise both distinctly non-national and national entities, in particular that of a diaspora without a unitary homeland.
The extent to which any of these aspects constitute a unique or specific race or ethnicity is controversial, because members of this group are considered to be ethnically mixed rather than exhibiting characteristics which can be incontrovertibly classified as being of a single racial phenotype. The Melungeons currently inhabit the south-eastern United States as well as southern Ohio and Indiana. "Melungeon" is the term applied to those group members living in:
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Melungeons claim to be of the following origin:
Melungeons claim to be of the following origin:Mediterranean and Middle Eastern origins are confirmed by contemporary genetic and medical evidence. A 1990 gene frequency study (Guthrie, Tennessee Anthropologist, Spring 1990) utilizing 177 Melungeon blood samples showed no significant differences between eastern Tennessee and south-western Virginia Melungeons and populations in:
The Melungeon population have been determined to suffer from the following genetic conditions (genetic ailments are often seen as a defining characteristic of racial specificity):
The number of Melungeon and Native American terms which have been preliminarily linked with Ottoman period Turkish and Arabic words with identical pronunciations and meaning (and thus 'reinforce the Melungeon construct') is at least 1000. The origin of "Melungeon" as a term is highly controversial.