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View Diary: MA-Sen: Another lesson for Scott Brown, from the children of Massachusetts (90 comments)

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  •  Although she could be mistaken, it is not untrue. (23+ / 0-)
    The New England Historic Genealogical Society provided initial research that shows several members of Warren's maternal family claiming Cherokee heritage. Warren's great-great-great grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith, is said to be described as Cherokee in an 1894 marriage license application. The genealogical society gathered that information through a 2006 family newsletter and said the original application cannot be located.
    •  Yup. Me, too. (8+ / 0-)

      I am sympathetic to Elizabeth Warren on this issue because it is so similar to my own.

      When I was growing up, my father's side of the family discussed our Cherokee heritage. I mostly resemble my Irish-heritage mother. My father, however, was often assumed to be Mexican as he grew up in Southern California in the 1940s and 50s. His mother (my grandmother) looked like a Native American except she was somewhat lighter skinned (her mother was white).
      Her father (my great grandfather, whom I never met) looked like the Cherokee everybody said he was.

      We can't find a birth certificate for my G-GF. We know his name. We think he was born in the late 1880s. That's all we have (that, and his high cheekbones and epicanthic folds).

      All this means that the documented family tree stops with my GMs birth certificate. My G-GF "married off" my grandmother when she was 14. She rarely talked about him and when she did, it was only in terms of him being Cherokee.

      In order to be part of the Cherokee Nation, you  have to prove that you are a descendant of a Cherokee who registered on the Dawes roll. If you can document an ancestor on the Dawes Roll, you are a member of the Cherokee Nation. It does not matter how distant the ancestor is. It does not matter what "percent" Cherokee you are. It does not matter the color of your eyes or hair or skin tone. What matters is whether the documentation exists.

      Absent documentation, that connection is nearly impossible to prove. Even a DNA test is insufficient. Although thousands of Cherokees registered, thousands did not. I don't know whether my G-GF's ancestors registered because we don't know who his ancestors are. Absent the appearance of a birth certificate, we will probably never know.  

      I'd love to be able to prove my Cherokee heritage but I cannot because of circumstances that happened well over a century ago. It is disappointing that such an important part of my history is invisible to me. I expect Elizabeth Warren feels the same way.

      •  Human Genetic Expression is Unpredictable (2+ / 0-)
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        livingthedream, elwior

        Speaking of epicanthic folds - my husband and daughter both have them and as far as we know there is no Asian ancestry anywhere in his family tree. He is Irish on both sides of his family and they have records going back to the 18th century. And yet his dad and siblings and our daughter all have epicanthic folds. Other then that he is standard issue red hair, freckles, green eyed, fair skinned Irish. Maybe there was an Asian ancestor somewhere back in the past or maybe it is unrelated genetic mutation.

        It goes without saying that Scott Brown is an idiot.

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