The beauty of new media is that there are lots of voices out there with all sorts of expertise in things the average person probably doesn’t know much about. We see that again today when blogger Twila Barnes, whose blog is subtitled “A little Cherokee history and genealogy mixed in with a whole lot of truth,” wrote an open letter to Elizabeth Warren:
Ms. Warren, some of us have independently done our own research and we know you have no documentation supporting your claim of Cherokee ancestry.* We wonder why you believe you have the right to claim Cherokee ancestry and to call yourself a Native American when you have no evidence to support your claim. While you cling to a family story and the inaccurate report that ONE document was found that supports your claim, we real Cherokees understand that those things mean nothing. You see, we Cherokees have lots and lots and lots of documentation supporting our claims of our ancestry. Our Cherokee ancestors are found on every roll of the Cherokee Nation (30+ rolls!) dating back to before the removal and in all sorts of other documentation, including but not limited to claims against the US government for lost property; the Moravian missionary records; ration lists before and after the forced removal, etc…yet your ancestors are found in NONE of those records…
You have claimed something you had no right to claim — our history and our heritage and our identity. Those things belong to us, and us alone. These are not things we choose to embrace when they benefit us and then cast aside when we no longer need them, but that is what you seem to have done by “checking a box” for several years and then no longer “checking” it more recently, when apparently you no longer needed it.
Ms. Barnes concludes by promising that “experienced researchers in Cherokee genealogy” have been investigating Warren’s genealogy and will be publishing their results soon.
Hat tip to William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who spoke to Twila, and has more on her story here.