While DNA testing can prove paternity, tribal members are skeptical as to whether it can prove Cherokee heritage.
By Teddye Snell
Donald Yates, principal investigator for DNA Consultants in Phoenix, believes through the appropriate DNA testing, Cherokee descendants can be linked to a large number of Middle Eastern lineages.
On its website, cherokee.dnaconsultants.com, the company states it has been studying Cherokee DNA for 10 years and believes that with the results of the Central Band of the Cherokee in Lawrence County, Tenn., they have the largest sample collection in the world.
According to Cherokee Nation tribal law, to be considered a Cherokee citizen, proof of enrollment on the Dawes Rolls is required to obtain a CDIB card. The Central Band of the Cherokee in Tennessee is not a federally recognized tribe, but is a 501(c)4 nonprofit educational organization.
One tribal official believes DNA testing does not necessarily make one a Cherokee.
“Cherokee is a cultural, social and political designation,” said Julia Coates, at-large Cherokee Nation tribal councilor. “There is no biological definition of ‘Cherokee.’ There are several large biological populations in the American hemisphere, but to my understanding, each contains numerous distinct cultural groups.
What Coates finds most troublesome about the website is that it is maintained by the Central Band of Cherokees.
“This is one of six ‘wannabe’ groups that have been seeking Tennessee state recognition, which the Cherokee Nation has been aggressively opposing, both legislatively and in the courts,” said Coates.
“Unable to demonstrate that they have any legitimate political or historic basis to be regarded as a ‘tribe,’ it may be that there are political motivations behind these attempts to demonstrate a Cherokee heritage through biological methods.”
For more on the lost tribe of Israel, see Indians Inspired Mormonism and Lamanites = "Filthy People." For more on the Cherokee, see Fradulent "Cherokee" Organizations and More Than 200 "Cherokee Tribes."