The Cherokee Nation and GOP Racism

The Cherokee Nation has joined Trump in a racist attack on Elizabeth Warren.  What the Cherokee said is that she should not claim a tribal heritage based, on DNA, She has never made that claim.


This is a sad story of Cherokee history of racism. The Cherokee were slave owners and fought for the Confederacy. They later refused to acknowledge “black” people as Cherokees, regardless of DNA evidence of origins, because “black” people had not been tribe members .. just slaves. This is a big deal because Cherokee land rights include oil and gas. A Federal court overrode the tribal government and forced them to enroll black Cherokees.

Now they are acting fully racist. Senator Warren has, of course, NEVER claimed to be an enrolled member of the Cherokee tribe. I suspect she would also respect their rights, stripped of racism, to define who is and is not a tribal member. Under their limited sovereignty, many other claim this right as well.  Her pride in her family tradition, now supported by DNA, is no more the business of the Cherokee then my pride in having ancestors who lived in Spain before the Christians conquered it. 
Curiously, one might think that the sovereign right would extend to people who do not have “blood” ancestors in a tribe. I know that the tradition of many ,, perhaps most .. Northwest tribes includes the ability to accept outsiders as tribal members.
This, of course, is also the Jewish tradition.  So. lets get Donald Trump’s DNA!

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  1. Mark Adams #

    Exactly how does one strip out the racism when the whole Indian nation and sovereign nation is based on race? (Yes it was entirely possible to become a member of a tribe by marriage, likability, or temporarily for trading.
    The underlying question is whether Warren has used some implied association with the civilized tribe for a step up. Like on a college application form or at work to get a promotion, ect. I may well have more Indian DNA possible from the Kickapoo Tribe and tribes from Canada than Warren. I don’t go around claiming it, and for a good part of my life and in many places I have lived Chers “Half Breed” gets the heart of matters. And I do believe there was a similar discussion way back in the day on how a non tribal member could not sign that song, ect. Created a stir at the time. She did look mighty fine on that Indian pony though. I don’t think the Cherokee nation was particularly amused then.

    I would think for one that makes much of the current situation in Israel, and the settlements and all that and supportive of the Palestinian positions that certainly there is a similar themes, and you may have very similar and much higher amounts of DNA to people living in the region Jew and Arab. By the way DNA really does not support this whole concept of race, as at the DNA level we are all pretty much the same, just sharing the same markers in different variations. The fact members of different tribes can make babies together is far more truthful about being human than all this silliness over Warren being anything more than an American of these United States.

  2. theaveeditor #

    First, the family legend is HER family history. And there is zero evidence that she ever made anything more of it then anyone with pride in their family might have. On my own part I have offered referred to my Sephardic heritage and the legend that my family in those days was Black.

    As for tribes, I agree with you. Tribal identity is not necessarily genetic. It can be a result of self identification and or the standards of the communist or tribe. Descendants of Koreans in Japan can not become registered under “Japanese” names. OTOH anyone can choose to become a Jew.

  3. Roger Rabbit #

    Warren isn’t the racist in this story, Trump is, and anyone who can’t see that is deaf and blind.

  4. theaveeditor #

    Indian tribes were never based on race … the concept is European and only appeared in the Americas when it was brought with the cross and horse. Trbal membership depended on different concepts depending on the people. Some were very clannish. some incorporated pother tribes based on shared myths, etc. Read any good anthro texts?

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