May 20, 2012

Warren ineligible to be Cherokee

Is Elizabeth Warren Native American or What?Elizabeth Warren is not a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

Elizabeth Warren is not enrolled in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

And Elizabeth Warren is not one of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee.

Nor could she become one, even if she wanted to.

Despite a nearly three week flap over her claim of "being Native American," the progressive consumer advocate has been unable to point to evidence of Native heritage except for a unsubstantiated thirdhand report that she might be 1/32 Cherokee. Even if it could be proven, it wouldn't qualify her to be a member of a tribe: Contrary to assertions in outlets from The New York Times to Mother Jones that having 1/32 Cherokee ancestry is "sufficient for tribal citizenship," "Indian enough" for "the Cherokee Nation," and "not a deal-breaker," Warren would not be eligible to become a member of any of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes based on the evidence so far surfaced by independent genealogists about her ancestry.
To be specific:[T]o enroll as a member of the Cherokee Nation, an individual must have had a direct ancestor listed among the more than 101,000 people enrolled on the "Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory" between 1898-1914, now known as the Dawes Rolls. The Cherokee Nation is very strict about this, even keeping descendants of siblings of men and women on the rolls out of the tribe, as well as descendents of Cherokees who were living out of the area at the time the lists were drawn up in what was then Northeastern Oklahoma.

"If she does not have an ancestor listed on the Dawes Rolls, she cannot be considered Cherokee through this tribe," explained Lydia Neal, a processor with the registrar's office of the Cherokee Nation.

O.C. Sarah Smith died long before the rolls were drawn up, too far in the past to make Warren eligible for membership in the tribe (assuming Smith was Cherokee).

No direct-line relatives of Warren are listed on the Dawes Rolls, according to Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (the doubled name is not a typo), the independent genealogist who identified Michelle Obama's slave ancestors in 2009 in a project with The New York Times.
Comment:  For more on Elizabeth Warren, see Native Question Warren's Claims and Warren Has No Firsthand Evidence.

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