By David Cornsilk
These people don’t know real Cherokees, our history, culture, language and genealogies. They cannot speak intelligently to the question of her authenticity because they have no baseline, which is why they use diversionary tactics. Why would they know real Cherokees when all they see are fakes?
In the 1990s, Andrea Smith sought me out as a Cherokee genealogist, on two separate occasions, to see if she had any connections. My research into Smith’s ancestry showed that her ancestry was not connected to the Cherokee people. In the subsequent years, many have challenged her identity including representatives of the Cherokee Nation. In those ensuing years, she has had ample opportunity to come forth with proof of her Cherokee claims. Instead, she has admitted to not being Cherokee or promised to stop claiming Cherokee; but perhaps because the foundation of her work as a ‘woman of color’ depended upon making others believe her claim she would back paddle and like a drug addict, fall off the truth wagon. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed in the evidence of her ancestry that would lead me to believe she is or even might be of Cherokee descent.
Smith’s supporters don't like to be shown so lacking in knowledge of all things Indian; unwilling to admit they got duped by Smith. They are fully invested in her web of lies that they are willing to throw tribal sovereignty and self-determination under the proverbial bus. If they adore Smith's work, more power to ‘em. But do not let your love of one person's work blind you to the dangers false claims of Indian identity carry within it. Andrea Smith and all those like her are nothing more than the latest incarnation of settler colonial violence. Their apologists and collaborators are nothing new either.
When Cherokees left the tribe or chose not to enroll, that was a decision at a specific moment in time. They would be on previous rolls. And most importantly, other members of the extended family, aunts, uncles, siblings, parents, grandparents and cousins would be among the tribal members and on the various rolls and records. Just like white Americans find kin in Europe whose ancestors remained, real Cherokees who can't enroll today have relatives in the tribe. Andrea doesn’t. Not a single Cherokee citizen living today claims her or her family. Either she emerged as a fully formed Cherokee Indian and we must recalibrate our creation story; or the reality is, she isn’t Cherokee.
Andrea Smith isn't just missing from our tribe, but every generation back to the genesis of America, all of those relatives I mentioned are also MISSING.
That fact speaks loud and clear that not only is Andrea Smith not enrolled, SHE IS NOT A CHEROKEE!