Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Am I Really Native American?

If you were told your great-grandpa or great-grandma were Native Americans raise your hand. 
Now prove it!

Elizabeth Warren Cherokee Connection?
In this political fury everyone is jumping in to prove or disprove the facts – commonly called Fact Checking.  But, where does family lore come in? Most people have not put effort into fact-checking the family stories. You just believe them; they are a part of who you are. That is until the genealogists come along!  I recently penned this Preface for my own family book that uncovers the fact that 2nd Great Grandpa Tobe was not Native American after all:
For as long as I can remember, I would boast, to any victim who would listen,…[about] the Indian blood I possessed…  To me, these stories were a necessary reality of unproven truths that defined the “me” of me.  I willingly accepted the twisted family stories, spinned them and massaged them into epoch size fairy tales that defied logic.  Perhaps under microscopic review, one could find 20% reality but the other 80% was clearly muddied by the storyteller’s liberty.                                                             
I continued to explain that “In less than two months of research, I came to some “mouth-dropped-open realities.  Tobe wasn’t Tobe,[and] we had no Indian blood…”

So when Elizabeth Warren made the mistake of sharing what she thought was her Native American bragging rights only to find that it was a family myth, I have to admit, I was a bit sympathetic.  I can’t say that the research is all in, but the preliminary documents and arguments have nullified her Native American heritage. At best, it appears that family line might (maybe) yield a 1/64 Native American blood line.

So before any others suffer from the embarrassment of a genealogical morass, know that there are a few key points to remember when searching your Cherokee Connection: 
  1. Just because your ancestor lived in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) does not make them an “Indian”
  2. Facial features and hair texture are not valid arguments for Native American heritage.
  3. Not all Cherokee ancestors were properly listed on the Dawes Rolls, but if they aren’t, they are not considered members of the Cherokee Nation, and you aren’t either
  4. As many Freedmen Indians already know: just because you aren’t officially a member of the Cherokee Nation, doesn’t speak of your bloodline. We’ve proven a few DNA connections to Native American bloodline, but more data is needed to claim tribal status.  
  5. And finally, don’t confuse family lore with fact, especially while the whole country is watching!For 
More Information on the Elizabeth Warren Story visit the following:

 Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible, answers

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith has left a new comment on your post "Am I Really Native American?": Thanks for another great post. We all [need] these important reminders, now and then! Sorry about Tobe! ;-)