Whatever else can be said about Elizabeth Warren, one thing is certain: she is no less than 96.875% white.
And yet Warren, the anointed Democratic nominee for the Massachusetts Senate race, has presented herself for decades as a Cherokee Indian to the public, to professional organizations, and to employers. This despite no hard evidence, only family lore foggily recalled from childhood.
Ever since the story broke on April 27th, Warren’s heritage controversy has blotted out all other aspects of the campaign. Warren’s detractors see it as indicative of her untrustworthiness, while her supporters insist it is all much ado about nothing. The media has, with few exceptions, been reluctant to cover the story at all, much less dig deep, and even then, has rarely gotten the details straight. So, before passing judgement on Warren, a closer look at the facts is in order.
Is Warren Really a Cherokee?
Given their turbulent, tragic legacy of ethnic cleansing and forced assimilation, the several Native American tribes face a daunting task in the preservation & revival of a fragile, once fading culture. In defining their community, they must balance inclusiveness with dedication to values.
Every Tribe, Band or Nation has its own admission requirements, all based on some ancestral link. While many “official” Indians may look white and have white names, each has made a life-long commitment to immerse themselves in, and work to keep vibrant, their respective culture, language, and national identity.
Warren admits she never formally applied for Cherokee citizenship. A good call, as Warren’s ancestry fails the citizenship test of the three Federally-recognized Cherokee tribes. The largest, The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, has no “blood quantum” standard, but does require the applicant have at least one ancestor listed on the Dawes Rolls, a 1906 federal census of Cherokees. It’s important to stress that what’s being defined is not membership in an ethnic group, rather citizenship in a sovereign nation. The Cherokee Constitution is explicit on this, and the Dawes Rolls enumerated many freedmen who’d joined the tribe, as well as whites who’d intermarried. Warren’s allegedly Cherokee great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Smith, died in the mid 19th century. Neither of Warren’s maternal ancestors alive when the Dawes Rolls were compiled, John H. Crawford and Hannie Crawford, appear anywhere on them.
Warren would also be rejected by the United Keetoowah Band, which, in addition to a Dawes Rolls ancestor, requires its citizens possess at least 1/4 quarter Cherokee blood.
The 1/16 blood quantum requirement often mentioned by the media is for the Eastern Band of Cherokee of North Carolina, which also requires an ancestor listed on the Baker Roll. Warren, at best of 1/32nd Cherokee descent (or, as she most recently intimated, 1/64th), and lacking a Baker roll ancestor, would not be permitted to join this tribe, either.
As a fall-back, Warren could have paid the $35 fee to submit her genealogy to the Cherokee Heritage Documentation Center in hopes of receiving a Declaration of Cherokee Heritage “suitable for framing” that would allow her “to display and be proud of [her] heritage,” while shielding her “from being labeled a ‘wannabe Indian’ rather than someone seeking their true heritage.”
Even here, Warren may have struck out. Frantic efforts to unearth documentation confirming Smith’s Cherokee status have come up with nothing, other than evidence that Warren’s great-great-great grandfather may have belonged to a local militia that participated in the notorious “Trail of Tears”, the brutal relocation of the Cherokee to Oklahoma.
Cherokee historian and genealogist, Twila Barnes, offers convincing evidence that the sole scrap of documentation for Warren’s claim, a marriage license listing Hannie Crawford, Warren’s grandmother’s, race as “Indian”, actually lists her residence as “Indian Territory.” Warren’s “mammaw” was just another white Sooner who stole land from the Cherokee.
Does Warren Have the Right to Call Herself Cherokee?
None of this matters to Warren, who choses to ‘self-identify’ based on vague family lore. “Being Native American has been part of my story I guess since the day I was born,” gushed Warren. “I still have a picture on my mantel … of my grandfather. And my Aunt Bea has walked by that picture at least a 1,000 times remarked that he – her father, my Papaw — had high cheek bones like all of the Indians do.”
The exotic notion of being a secret indian princess must have proved irresistible to the plain, bookish daughter of a janitor. Yet Warren also nurtured this fantasy as an adult, listing herself as “Cherokee” when contributing WASPy recipes like crab dip with mayonnaise to a fundraising cookbook with the kitschy title “Pow Wow Chow.”
Nothing offends actual tribal members more than “Pretendians” who, for cachet, claim Indian ancestry, but have no desire to participate in tribal life. “If you’re going to claim it, you have to help your people out,” admonishes Rhonda LeValdo, president of the Native American Journalists Association. “Don’t just use it when you want to use it.”
In direct response to Warren’s claims, Barnes and another prominent figure in the Cherokee community, David Cornsilk, have formed a group to convey their sense that “false claims like Elizabeth Warren is making are harmful to the Cherokee people.” No one, they feel, “has the right to try to rewrite it or make up fictitious stories so they can fit in it or take advantage of it.”
What did Warren Claim and When?
One can, of course, acknowledge one’s Native American ancestry without professing to Native American identity. Warren, who is at best 3.125% Indian (see update below), has the right to embarrass herself at cocktail parties by saying she’s a Cherokee. Nor is there any law that prevents a person, whose family tree is pure white for four generations, to fancy themselves a member of an Indian tribe. Definitely odd-ball, but not illegal.
Warren’s assertions would have fallen merely into the realm of tacky or kooky, had she not also listed herself as a minority in a professional directory frequently referenced by hiring deans. It has been confirmed that, even while depicting herself as a minority in the law professors’ directory, Warren listed herself as “white” on her U Texas application. Warren has reluctantly confessed to telling two of her employers, Penn and Harvard, that she was a minority. Warren insists this played no role in her hiring, something the schools officially verify. Both Penn and Harvard, though, listed her as a minority on federally-mandated diversity hiring reports.
This is a clear violation of Federal Affirmative Action hiring policy, which stipulates that a Native American is “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.” (My emphasis.) Accepting a recipe cribbed off of Martha Stewart does not count as “community recognition.”
Dances With Lies
Since the story broke, Warren has issued a series of explanations, each one contradicting the previous. Initially, she denied ever listing herself as a minority. When that was proven false, she insisted it was in hopes of being “invited to a luncheon, a group or something with people who are like I am,” but abandoned the practice when no one asked her out. Yet, since she was only listed as a generic “minority” (h/t Legal Insurrection), how did she expect to connect with fellow 31/32nd non-indian law profs to share memories of sticking turkey feathers in their hair as little girls?
Warren next denied she even knew her employers had listed her as a minority. “I think I read it on the front page of the Herald,” Warren responded, when asked about Harvard’s having promoted her purported minority status. When this was also proven false, Warren claimed she’d misunderstood the ‘When did you first learn…?’ part of the reporter’s question.
Faced with persistent demands for clarification, Warren re-shuffled the facts, creating a tale in which, while she had listed herself as a minority in a directory, she’d never told her prospective employers she was a Cherokee. When that was exposed as untrue, Warren insisted she only told Penn (1987), and Harvard (1992) after being hired — each time in passing, to make chit-chat over lunch.
In politics, this is known as “spin”. In the real world, it’s called getting caught making shit up. No wonder wags have dubbed Warren “Lie-awatha” and “Dances With Lies.”
Is Warren Fit For Public Office?
Warren’s performance under this character test is disconcerting for a number of reasons.
First, her inept handling of the accelerating controversy raises doubt as to whether Warren, a life-long academician and political tyro, has the chops for a Senate campaign. Her refusal to promptly to tackle the crisis head-on (her literal fleeing from reporters and slamming doors in their faces evoked memories of John Edwards cowering in a toilet stall), was belatedly followed by series of stumbling, unconvincing retractions.
Second, her rapidly-shifting story indicates a comfort with mendacity all too common among today’s office-seekers. More alarming, Warren’s struggle with truth is not limited to her Cherokee claims, but rather pervades every aspect of her public persona.
Trying to establish her hard-scrabble origins, the wealthy, Ivy-League academic told a story about her grandmother, who “drove a wagon in the land rush to settle territory out west. It was 1889, she was 15 years old…She lived to be 94, to see her youngest grandchild -– that’s me -– graduate from college.…” Except her Sooner “mammaw”, mentioned above, died nearly a decade before Warren graduated. It was Warren’s other grandmother who attended her graduation. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never mixed up my grandmothers.
Warren’s chief selling point is her reputation as a “watchdog” over fraudulent mortgage practices, someone who identifies with and protects struggling home owners “being hammered” by predatory lenders. Yet now comes the revelation that during the 1990’s, Warren made hefty profits ‘flipping’ foreclosed houses she and her brother bought on the cheap. And she financed this enterprise with an interest-free loan from Harvard.
A recently dug-up video clip shows Warren declaring, in all earnestness, that she was “the first nursing mother to take the bar,” perhaps just in the State of New Jersey, perhaps in the History of Western Civilization. As one of her fellow law students observed, since the NJ Bar most assuredly does not track statistics on breast feeding, how can Warren make this claim? Of the few plausible explanations, the least-damaging is that someone at the time cracked wise, ‘Gee, Liz, you must be the first …’ and Warren’s fertile imagination later transformed it into a bullet point for her CV.
Scott Brown and Co. have another five months to poke around for more.
Donnie Darko for Senate
All this leaves one with the impression of Warren as a fabulist disturbingly out of touch with reality. Here is an adult professional, an Ivy-league professor & former head of a federal regulatory agency, who for decades has indulged in a self-aggrandizing childhood fantasy. It leaves one with a queasiness not unlike if, during a stump speech, a candidate gave a shout-out to their long-time supporter and imaginary friend.
When caught lying, your typical candidate at first denies it, then, if that doesn’t work, ‘fesses up and tries to move on. Yet Warren’s inability to admit she’s not really an Indian princess is seemingly pathological:
“It’s who I am, it’s how I grew up. It’s me, part of me, through and through. I can’t change that.’’
“I won’t deny who I am, I won’t deny my heritage.”
“This was real in my life. I can’t deny my heritage. I can’t and I won’t.”
These soul-baring plaints were uttered by Warren just Friday, when, instead of putting the issue to rest, she felt compelled to fly to Oklahoma and stand in front of her childhood home to spin a new yarn about her parents needing to elope because her mother was part (1/16) Cherokee and Delaware. (Now it’s Delaware, too?) It took but a few hours before the breitbarters exposed this as yet another confection of Lizzie’s fertile imagination. For their nuptials, it seems, Warren’s parents traveled all of 14 miles to the county seat, to be wed by the local minister.
A “Liberal Champion?”
Is this is the best the Dems can do? Is an inexperienced, completely un-vetted, thoroughly nutty professor really their idea of a “Liberal Champion” to lift the Mongol Yoke from Teddy’s seat? If so, the Democratic Party is hopelessly inept and on its last legs.
In fact, Bay State Dems did have a viable alternative to the hapless, flawed, mendacious Warren. Someone with a true liberal platform, a confident, feisty, yet endearing charm, a seemingly impeccable background, plus actual experience running for office. Sounds great? No, actually, because Dem big-wigs treated this fellow Democrat like the enemy. Her name is Marisa DeFranco, and this weekend, party leaders took unprecedented steps to ensure that the voters of Massachusetts would have no chance to reject the anointed Warren.
We’ll look next at why Marisa DeFranco so frightened the Dem Machine.
UPDATE ( 6/5/12):
* In response to my inquiries, Twila Barnes confirmed that her research team did a thorough search of the Dawes Rolls and found not a single Warren ancestor on them. Nor can a Warren ancestor be found on any of the two dozen existing rolls, lists, musters or censuses of Cherokee;
* Barnes has also just completed an exhaustive study of Warren’s entire family tree — something Warren herself never deemed necessary — proving that every single Warren ancestor going back for five generations was listed on records as “white.” For those of you who are fractionally-challenged, that makes Warren 0/32nds, or ZERO PERCENT, American Indian;
* Warren, insisting that Aunt Bea’s just-so fables trump cold, hard facts, sticks to her jalousie of Cherokee heritage. In a WBZ interview, Warren declared that if elected, she’d be the first senator from Massachusetts “so far as I know who has Native American heritage”;
* At the blog Cherokees Demand Truth From Elizabeth Warren, Barnes has granted Warren’s long-time wish, an invitation to a luncheon date with a real live Cherokee Indian. To date, Warren has not accepted.
(c) 2012 by True Liberal Nexus. All rights reserved.
It is striking that you had to dig up something so trivial to discredit her & that you have tried to blow up harmless family fictions into mental illness. She must be scaring you witless.
The Native American community finds this matter far from trivial. To discount their concerns is impertinent.
I was initially a supporter of Warren. I now detect a disturbing pattern of mendacity, which is far from harmless, especially when selecting a person for high office. So, yes, that trait of Warren’s does scare me. While I prefer Warren’s platform to Brown’s, this a bridge too far for me.
You, on the other hand, seem willing to dismiss any and all character flaws in a candidate, so long as that candidate is on your “team.” I wonder if there is any line you are willing to draw.
Further, Warren herself transformed those “family fictions” into very real assertions of minority status during her professional career, in clear violation of Federal hiring regulations, a serious breach of ethics for someone later entrusted with running a Federal regulatory agency.
From your description Harvard did that not her. Small potatoes. No money was involved — no benefit to anyone except maybe the Cherokees. Watch that “Who do you think you are” show. People find out all sorts of unexpected things about their distant family.
Why else would Harvard list Warren as a minority unless she told them? I don’t believe Warren was trying to cheat the system, but that makes it worse in a way. She’s a law professor, for chrissakes, so should know it was unethical at the least. It seems clear to me there’s a deep-seated need to be an Indian that overrides Warren’s clear judgment and rational thought. For that reason, I distrust her.
I’m not clear how someone who’s not a Cherokee claiming to be one helps the Cherokee.
It is trivial because it has nothing to do with the job she is running for. All families have myths like this that kids incorporate uncritically. She never benefitted from this mistaken belief –hard to call a lie. Then she didn’t know how to backtrack. So what? Your attack seems mean-spirited. Find something job-related if you want to portray her as mendacious by character. All this says is that she is an amateur. I find that endearing in these times.
Honesty, sound judgment & clarity of mind have everything to do with the job she’s asking for. This is a person who’s lied at least three times to a professional group and employers about her minority status, then lied repeatedly about what she said, when, & to whom. She can’t seem to keep her family stories straight, either. She may have a doctorate from U Texas, but she’s also got a B.S. from MSU.
She is as much a Cherokee as HRC was in danger as she landed under sniper fire in Bosnia. Oh, how we love to distort the truth.
My paternal grandmother was Cherokee…not sure if she was “registered” as such, but she looked every bit a Cherokee. I believe she was 1/2 Cherokee. Should I claim any right to be called Cherokee? Probably not…but it was common growing up to be told we were “part Cherokee.” I hardly think Warren is a shady character because of this, especially in the world of politics. She knew better…and should be embarrassed.
I don’t think she’s “shady” — I think she’s mental.
When I taught in a “bridge” program for “under-represented” (at least back then) students in the mid-80s at UCLA, I recall one student who confided in me about the pressure she was under to identify as 1/12 Cherokee so as to gain admittance. This haunted her, for she kept wondering if that was the only reason she’d been accepted, and it appeared to her to strain credulity as if she’d identify with a fraction of her ancestry so far removed from who she was and how she was raised. Russ Douthat’s remarks, nuanced yet sharp on this issue today, are worth study: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/opinion/sunday/douthat-a-little-bit-indian.html
Colleges are under intense pressure to admit & hire ‘diversity’. While I suspect that Warren’s motivation for her fraudulent minority claims was innocent (albeit delusional), as a law prof herself, she’d have to admit “res ipsa loquitur”:
* Any rational person would have known the claim was false;
* Warren went out of her way to make the claim to prospective and actual employers;
* Warren was aware her employers were listing her as a minority;
* Warren never informed them that listing was in error.
P.S. Erratum. I meant 1/16th! I wasn’t a math major.
Nor biology. Gregor Mendel’s rolling in his grave.
Anytime a politician responds to controversy by dismissing the issue, marginalizing those asking questions and lying to cover things up the voter comes out ahead. Knowing who the politician really is, PRICELESS.
Cherokees can only say why it matters to us. We’ve done that til we are blue in the face. It’s time for America to say why a politician who is so obviously a liar might not be their best choice for congress. Cherokees will worry about the heritage; Massachusetts voters need to worry about the liar.
The issue may seem trivial to America and more particularly the voters of Mass. We Cherokees get that our concerns have always been viewed that way. Her ancestry aside, true or false, the voters cannot escape her response to such a “trivial” matter. SHE LIED. imagine what she might do when confronted with a “major” controversy.
Who in this world has never lied? The question is what she lied about and what the impact of that lie was. This issue fails that test, which is what makes her lie trivial — there were no consequences for anyone.
If you believe that every mistaken statement is a lie, you know nothing much about how the mind works. Hillary Clinton’s mistaken memory of Sarajevo was just memory failure, not a deliberate falsehood intended to deceive others (the definition of a lie).
When you dislike someone for other reasons, there is motivation to blow these issues up into monumental complaints with the hope it will undermine the candidate. If you folks dislike Warren, discuss your real reasons for disliking her. Don’t hide behind human frailties we all share — that gets her sympathy and gets you nowhere.
Its not about who has “never” lied. Its about someone seeking an office of trust and honor who has lied. There is no test, you speak politico-babble I don’t understand. What I do know is that a high profile individual, whether its Johnny Depp or Elizabeth Warren falsely claiming to be Cherokee emboldens others to do the same. You have no clue what harm this is doing to our tribe, culture, history etc. If Warren gets a pass, they all get a pass and that is unacceptable.
Of course I do not believe every mistaken statement is a lie. That’s just too stupid to even address.
I don’t personally know Elizabeth Warren, so its not possible to dislike her for any other reason than the one I have expressed. In fact, I don’t dislike her all. I dislike her false claims. I dislike her lies to protect her false claims. You are defending her for political gain, that is not what this is about. That she is a candidate is merely coincidental. I have known of Warren’s fraudulent claims since the 1980s when she first published her bogus recipes in the book Powwow Chow. Since she’s not a professor of Indian studies, her fradulent claim was pretty low on my list of priorities. There are fakes in other universities who are much worse than she. But her stepping into the limelight made her move to the front of the line on the wannabe list. By attempting to become a U.S. senator, where she could spread her disease of wannabeism, perhaps even introduce legislation to recognize fake tribes or weaken tribal sovereignty, she became an uber-important target.
It is quite obvious Sally, that you do not understand the issues surrounding identity faced by Indian people and the Cherokees in particular. I would be more than glad to educate you so that you can speak on this issue from a perspective close to what we Cherokees know and experience. If you have an interest in learning by reading, pick up the book, Becoming Indian, by Dr. Circe Sturm. I’m sure you’ll find it quite educational.
At first I thought I liked EW, Sally. I was hoping for a liberal to replace Scott Brown in the Senate, and felt optimistic about her candidacy.
But her pervasive mendacity, and insensitivity to the concerns of Americans Indians, as outlined by David, is too much for me to swallow.
It’s specious to compare a campaign trail slip-up like HRC’s Sarajevo comment to Warren’s decades-long pattern of lies and self-deception.
If she just apologized, and admitted she’d been misinformed all these years, it’d all be over. But she can’t, and that speaks volumes about her state of mind.
Character matters. This woman is not fit for high office. So, if forced to choose, I’d rather have a sane Gop than a delusional Dem in office.
Is a Green running in MA this year?
The fact that she submitted something as foolish as “Pow Wow Chow” into a recipe book and claimed she was Cherokee is proof enough. Ethnicity is something that European-ancestory Americans crave; it’s like a fancy bauble that one can claim that “I am Native American”. This notion is absolutely absurd in that Warren has not felt the oppression that society has on a Cherokee, especially within Oklahoma.
“Fancy bauble” captures it perfectly. (Love your blog, btw, but always have trouble logging in to blogspot, so couldn’t say ‘hello.’)
I’m sure in her mind as a child (& today?) Warren wished she could trade her mundane, middle-class, used-MG-driving existence for the exotic life of a Cherokee. If faced with the travails you chronicle, I’d bet dollars to donuts she’d balk.
“A completely unvetted nutty law professor” Who does that remind you of ?, except in the previous case, even the ‘professor’ part was untrue..
Perhaps there was a shortage of viable mates in the settling of the western Plains, but considering the mores’ of the day, I find this whole ‘part Indian” claim that so many make, to be somewhat implausible. Although it makes for nice small talk around the electric campfire.
Soph, for the Democratic Party these days, “vetting a candidate” means ‘checking for tingles running up your leg.’
I find Warren’s unfounded claims to be as unsettling as a candidate insisting they were Cleopatra’s handmaid in a previous life.
Tamer, imo, E.W.’s ancestry claims and Bo’s ‘born in Kenya’ claim to his publicist [and probably his universities } are poisoned fruits off the same P.C. tree.
P.S. I think Shirley McLaine claimed all the really good past lives in the books she wrote during her reincarnation phase.
This is really sad. And weird. My mom is 1/4, and looks it, unlike Warren, & my mom’s grandparents were from NC & OK, but no one in my family has ever claimed to be Cherokee, which I always thought should only be done by actual Cherokees, not people who have a sliver.
Anyway, I think its sad, becuz I had hopes for her, but this really is an instance of delusional behavior.
@socalannie – I appreciate your comment, but please allow me to offer a bit of logic to go along with it. If someone is 1/4 degree of ancestry, that means their grandparent was a full blood. Think about that for a moment. If you were born anytime in the latter part of the last century, your grandparents were likely born early in that century as well. I was born in 1959, my maternal grandmother was born in 1903, my paternal grandfather born in 1907 and grandmother in 1914. That is well within the relm of good documentation of their identity, ethnicity and any connections they may have to a tribe. If someone is full blood, that means that every ancestor previous to them is full blood. All of their siblings, all of their aunts and uncles and every grandparent back as far as we could possibly trace. The net cast to record the names of Cherokee Indians was wide and thorough. Not everyone may have been listed on the 1902 roll, but they were captured by the 1896 roll or the 1894 or the 1890 or the 1883 or the 1880 or the 1876 or the 1867 or the 1852 or the 1848 or the 1835. Its just not possible for a full blood or a mixed blood for that matter, to have been hiding out for that many generations. Such a claim lacks reasonable logic. Claiming to be 1/4 or 1/32 without the necessary proof lacks logic and belies and clear lack of knowledge of the Cherokee experience regarding enrollment and documentation. But the final nail in the coffin of claims of blood ancestry to the Cherokee tribe, whether yours or Elizabeth Warrens is an utter lack of kinship with people who are proven members of the tribe. Remember all of those relatives behind the claim? Not all of them would have abandoned the tribe. If you or Elizabeth Warren were really of Cherokee descent, there would be blood relatives among us to proclaim your kinship. We find descendants of Cherokees all the time whose ancestor separated at different points in our recorded history. Regardless of what blood quantum they may have or how long they were separated, we find their kin living among us. There is a man named Richard who works with us to expose fake Cherokees. His ancestors left the tribe in 1838. When the Trail of Tears was about to commence, his ancestors remained in Tennessee. We had not heard hide-nor-hair of them in over 150 years. He and I met on Facebook a couple of years ago. He stated his ancestry and behold, I found a long lost cousin. We share a common Cherokee ancestor eight generations back! Not only that, but he also shares the same ancestor with about 25 percent of our tribe, including our Principal Chief. Richard cannot enroll with the Cherokee Nation because his ancestors turned their backs on us just the same as my Irish and Scottish ancestors turned their backs on the old country. But the kinship is still there and though its been over 150 years, its easily documented. Such is the way of Cherokee records, its just that easy. I don’t know if you have done any research to stand behind your claim of being 1/8 Cherokee, but until you do, it would be in the best interest of the Cherokees that you only claim what you set an example for Elizabeth Warren and ONLY CLAIM WHAT YOU CAN PROVE. Thank you for listening.
You seem to be excessively worried about this David; although, I don’t know, are people constantly “signing up” or trying to “register” as Cherokee or something? I wouldn’t know about that, as I remarked, we don’t go around claiming to “be” Cherokees, and have never marked ourselves down as minorities, like E Warren has. I only mentioned about my mom becuz that is the topic. I don’t think of her as being much, but she is obviously much more than E Warren, but has never felt the need to brag about it. She’s a typical OK mix, Cherokee, Irish, English, & Bavarian. My Dad is Greek, which makes me half Greek, but I don’t call myself a Greek, becuz I’m not immersed in that culture either. I’m a typical American mix. If anything, I think of myself as a Californian, becuz I grew up in the fabulous California lifestyle, lots of time outdoors on ranches, beaches, mountains, laid back but busy, & happy. That is my culture, one I’m happy to pass on to my own child.
That being said, I have my mothers family trees, from both sides, the Irish/Cherokee dating back 150 years, and the Bavarian/English going back to 1696. The Irish/Cherokee one is handwritten by several of my ancestors. I also have pictures of them, and copies of the old deeds of their property in OK, on which there was oil, and they were ripped off by an oil company. The oil company sent my mom something, demanding that she release any claim to mineral rights on the land, becuz her Aunts sold it. (the Cherokee grandma’s property–I don’t if it was property that was granted, or if they bought it) My mom refused to sign it, but never looked into what the issue was about. So, you needn’t worry about us. Because I mentioned my ancestry on a blog does not follow through that my family is going around bragging about having a sliver of Native American in our makeup, or trying to get something out of it. We haven’t lived the life, and we don’t. That was the whole point of my original comment.
btw, my older sis was traveling around the West last summer with her husband and they stopped in Salt Lake City, and went to the Mormon (?) center with the genealogical records. She looked up our OK/NC family and they listed us as having double the amount of Cherokee that we have always been told. I don’t believe its correct, I think my own records are, which were confirmed to me by my Grandfather & Great Uncles, but I told her to get copies of it anyway. I haven’t seen it yet.
@SocalAnnie – You posted your claim on a public blog. I read it, that’s a public proclamation of Cherokee heritage. Your response is a little bit, well actually, a whole lot disingenuous.
Be that as it may, losing money to an oil company gives you something in common with many Indians, but it sure doesn’t make you one. Not a single bit of proof exists in your entire post. Its just more claims, just like EW. When backed into a corner, she lied. Bad example upon bad example I’d say.
To answer your question yes, there are literally 1000 new applicants per month attempting to get registered in the Cherokee Nation. Many are eligible, but most will be denied; especially the ones that send a smear of blood on a piece of paper, an envelope of hair or a dental x-ray to show their Indian teeth. One woman sent a tape saying her grandfather had taught her the Cherokee alphabet, it went: Ater, Beeter, Ceeter, Deeter, etc. And she was dead serious.
But beyond the thousands who are attempting to enroll and bogging down our systems, the Cherokee Nation has identified over 250 groups falsely claiming to be Cherokee tribes, bands, nations, clans and confederacies, mostly in southern states, but some in odd places like Idaho and Pennsylvania. They suck down millions in federal funds intended for Indian people; and many of the southern states have granted them “state recognition” based on nothing more than the flimsiest of claims or a desire to have Indian tourism in their state. Its quite sickening.
Fake tribes are one of the greatest threats to tribal sovereignty since the termination era ended in 1973. As we speak their numbers are growing and their influence grows exponentially. The U.S. Census reported that nearly 800,000 Americans identified themselves as Cherokee on the last census. Since there are only 300,000 real Cherokees, that’s 500,000, give or take a few descendants, phonies. Someone like EW in Congress might listen to them, give them some kind of status or even turn on the real Cherokee tribes. Fakes/wannabes have reached critical mass. One group out of Florida, calling itself the United Cherokee Nation, have already gone to Washington, DC to ask Congress to terminate the real Cherokee Nation because our government won’t recognize them. Oh, and Florida granted them state recognition without a shred of evidence they are a tribe or have Cherokee ancestry.
So yes, I’m a little excessively worried about this issue. In fact, its as much a worry to me as illegal aliens seem to be to most Americans.
Jesus Christ, my response is “disengenuous”? Ridiculous, and now you’re just being plain rude. I haven’t said “I’m an Indian.” Ever. To anyone. Either has my mother, siblings, or my mothers father, who I’m told was quite persecuted over it. To state my great grandmothers ethnicity is not, not, the same as stating what I am. We’re typical American mutts and we’re just fine with that. I don’t know if its supposed to be “cool” now or something, to have Native American ancestry, or why people would want to bog down your systems or something, but my identity is based on who I am, and what I do, not who my relatives were. There are good things and bad things about every race, every ethnicity. I am neither ashamed, nor proud of my ethnic makeup. It is what it is. I called my mom a few minutes ago & she said her grandmother is certainly on the lists; also, she was supposed to get a monthly check, some kind of stipend from the gov’t for getting ripped off of her families land, but that she had so much pride, she wouldn’t take it. According to my mom, she was supposed to go into town every month to pick it up but didn’t bother, and when she did go into town, some man would chase her down and tell her to come and get her damn checks. My mom saw this happen several times, as she spent as much time with her as possible. My mom also says that in the 30s in OK, there was a lot of prejudice against Native Americans/Indians, but that Cherokee’s were generally treated better than the other tribes and some claimed to be Cherokee, when they were in fact Chickasaw or something, so undoubtedly there are a lot of incorrect records. Sorry you are inconvenienced by that, but you can rest assured you won’t be bothered with actual “claims”
or “registrations” from us.
I have to say though, in all my life, I have never gotten such a huffy response, or challenge, from someone, like a Greek for instance, from telling them I’m half Greek. You seem to think its nervy for me to “claim” to be 1/8 Cherokee…well, how do you know I’m not? How do I know you’re who say you are? You’re a name on a blog, just like me. Back in the 90s, I worked for an herbal company and one of my regular customers was a Cherokee doctor named Chief Two Trees in North Carolina. I told him about my great grandmother, who had moved to OK from NC, and he asked me for the names of her family. He called me back a short time later and gave me a long list of families in NC that were related to her, one of whom is in my generation, and very famous and distinguished. We weren’t surprised becuz he looks exactly like my grandfather and great uncle, and has the same name as them (first, middle & last). I read his autobiography recently and was amazed at all the same names they used as the OK branch. Anyway, threw that in there becuz the Chief, although only knowing me over the telephone, didn’t have the same “how dare you” attitude that you are displaying here. However, David, feel free to not take my word for anything. Whatev…
My last sentence got a little jacked up. It should have read:
I don’t know if you have done any research to stand behind your claim of being 1/8 Cherokee, but until you do, it would be in the best interest of the Cherokees that you set an example for Elizabeth Warren and ONLY CLAIM WHAT YOU CAN PROVE. Thank you for listening.
I’ve always been suspicious of the sheer number of people who’ve told me they have a little of this or a little of that — usually Cherokee — in them. There’s just not enough ancestors to go around to cover all those combined fractions!
Socal, it sounds like, unlike most, you actually did research into your family tree. It’d be great if you shared your findings, either here or with David’s group, to contrast it with the utter lack of diligence by EW.
If I understand David’s concerns properly, by blithely accepting all these claims at face value, we allow spurious claims to gain traction.
This is all too indicative of the “fact-free” society we seem to be living in today. One still hears of obama’s “high IQ” or that he was a “constitutional law professor” as if they are proven facts. It’s a common trap to confuse what we want to be true for what is true.
Our culture also seems now to say, you can be whatever you want, not if you try hard enough, but simply by declaring yourself. I spent years interning, observing, reading, practicing before I felt comfortable calling myself a professional horseman. I’ve lost track of the number of horses & their owners I’ve worked with, yet some 20-yo just out of Pony Club, who’s owned maybe two horses in their life, has the hubris to call themselves a “trainer.” That insults my dedication, hard work and talent, not to mention undercutting my business. With that insight, I don’t find concerns about spurious claims like Warren’s to be “excessive.”
Tamer, you make some valid points, although the fact is, if you tell some one you have grandparents from Greece or Italy or somewhere, no one disbelieves you. I didn’t actually do any work on my family tree, just asked for them from my great uncle; also, I did write down some of the stories he told. I have it all in a box in my closet, keep meaning to get it down and scan it all, in case any others are interested, so thanks for the reminder.
I am shocked about Warren. I don’t see why someone as accomplished as she is, would have to resort to such silliness.
Socal, no one’s doubted your Greek or Italian heritage because: 1) it’s very common; 2) no one’s falsely claiming it for personal gain.
However, pace David, I don’t feel folks should never be allowed to talk about their Cherokee roots until they’ve had it formally certified &/or have received citizenship. Between naive credulity and immediate rejection lies an healthy agnosticism.
Let everyone make their claims as is their wont, and let all of us assess those claims with a critical eye, with reason, and with a demand for evidence commensurate to the level of the claim & its impact, and the claimant’s prominence. What Socal’s provided here leads me to lend tentative credence instead of my usual ‘yeah, right.’ Were Socal to run for office or apply for a job as a minority, I’d insist on more.
A fact on the ground is that many stories of American Indian heritage exist in many families, most unverified. This definitely adversely affects legitimate tribes’ efforts to resist malicious interlopers. Yet most people repeat their family stories without malice. To expect them to adhere to a code of silence is unrealistic.
I’d venture that most families would welcome confirmation positive or negative. I can envision a campaign whereby folks like Socal are encouraged to confirm their heritage, given access to resources, with their results shared online. Then, prominent figures like Johnny Depp & EW could be better pressured for refusing to substantiate their claims.
Tamer, fair enough! I will look into this btw. I’m going to dig out my stuff, get the Mormon files from my sis, and another uncle supposedly has some research he’s done since retiring. I’ve been meaning to put this stuff together for the nieces and nephews for years, so thanks for spurring me on!
I reread Davids comment to me, and I agree that it is very creepy, people sending them their DNA, and other weirdnesses. And I agree the tribes should have every right to keep their memberships & their nations pure. I never realized before that so many people want to claim the bloodline to one tribe or another. And the faux tribes, in FL & KY…bloody weird.
David, I apologize if I offended you, or didn’t take your comment in the spirit it was intended.
Making no undocumented claims, whether its descendancy from royalty, kinship to Elvis, descendancy from aliens or Cherokees is best case scenario, the ultimate goal. We all know from whence we come and we don’t make outlandish claims to make ourselves feel better. Greece is its own country and persons making claims of Greek ancestry, whether proven or unproven don’t impact Greece in the slightest. The Cherokee Nation, on the other hand, its a domestic dependent sovereign. We are trapped in the United States. We could not free ourselves if we wanted to, even by insurrection. We have placed ourselves by treaty under the protection of the United States. This means that the citizens of the U.S. have a greater responsibility to be cognizant of the impact of their actions and words in relation to the well being of the indigenous governments they have taken under their care. Public false claims of Cherokee identity are quite harmful to the rights of the Cherokee people. While it may seem innocuous to some, because America is a nation of individualists, the ramifications are profound. One person going unchallenged in their public pronouncements of Cherokee identity gives the next more power, more cache’ and more boldness to make their claim. Their first thought, “I am not alone.” And most assuredly, the false claimant is not alone. Cherokees are currently outnumbered 3 to one. The situation has reached critical mass, where fake Cherokees are now able to impact legislation in Congress that could adversely impact our people. And in fact, that has already happened. Millions of federal dollars are now expended on fake tribes, mostly claiming to be Cherokee, that the good hearted American people intended to alleviate the poverty and suffering of poor Indians. Your money is being wasted on utter ethnic buggery. SocalAnnie I appreciate your last comments to me. If one person comes to an understanding of this issue and why what Elizabeth Warren is doing is harmful, it has been worth the effort here.
I appreciate the knowledge I’ve gained here, and read up a little on the faux tribes, and hope to learn more about this issue this summer. The past couple of weeks have been insanely hectic for us; however, I have motivated my family to get all the info we have about my Great Grandmother, and we are having a family reunion next month, and will see what we have, and what more we need to find out once and for all what her heritage was. I will let Tamer know what I find out.
We have a very scholarly friend who upon retiring, decided to trace his family tree. He is from the Midwest, fairhaired , blue eyed, and very handsome in his youth.. No matter how far back he went, all he found were nice, lawful, boring farmers and merchants. His search took him overseas, where he finally concluded he was descended from Normans.. Unfortunately, it appeared his family was likely in the branch of boring Normans, who pursued the same sort of livelihood as their Midwestern offspring.. Leaving a lot out here, but that was the gist of it.
She`s a lying bitch. In other words, just a normal politician. That is what they do, they lie so much they believe their own lies. First she claimed to be indian. Trump then called her out on it, since she is not indian at all, obviosuly. Her reaction was then to attack Trump and say he should shut up. It`s always awkward when someone calls your bluff and when it is the president of the united stated calling it….that has to suck. I would feel bad for her, had she not been a lying politician bitch. But since she is, she is worthless. A complete waste of air, food and skin. I hope she falls under a buss, the sooner the better. There`s no room for lying scumbags,