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What an illuminating thing it is for Sen. Elizabeth Warren to assert Cherokee ancestry to access affirmative action and burnish her diversity credentials. To support her claim of Cherokee ancestry, Warren provided “proof” from a DNA test that detected a trace of suspected Native American DNA, likely from six to ten generations earlier.
Unlike other ethnicities, there is a legal definition of what it means to be a member of the modern Cherokee tribe. Let’s see if Warren meets it.
Does - Warren - Any - Legitimate - Claim
Does Warren Have Any Legitimate Claim?
Let’s first define our terms. To qualify for Cherokee Nation tribal citizenship, Warren must be able to document a direct ancestor listed on one of the Dawes Final Rolls of Citizens of the Cherokee Nation. She must demonstrate that she descends directly from a person listed on these rolls, which were taken between 1899 and 1906 and documented members of the tribe residing in Indian Territory, now northeastern Oklahoma.
Warren - Generation - Years - Warren - Mother
Warren was born in 1949. Assuming each generation consists of about 20 years, if Warren’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother was the last full Indian from which she descended, this person would have given birth to Warren’s first ancestor that wasn’t full Indian between 120 and 200 years before Warren’s birth––or roughly between 1750 and 1830.
So it’s very unlikely that a woman old enough to bear a child in 1830 would also have been included in the Dawes register 70 years later. For frame of reference, the Cherokee experience with the Trail of Tears transpired in the late 1830s and beyond. It’s likely that Warren’s Indian ancestry was already integrated into European-American culture at this point.
President - Trump - Senator - Outrage - Pocahontas
President Trump has repeatedly provoked the senator’s outrage by nicknaming her “Pocahontas,” drawing attention to her dubious claims of Indian heritage. In July, he taunted her with an offer to...
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