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.
"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.
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