Pocahontas Is Not Cherokee

President Trump’s nickname for Senator Elizabeth Warren was a jab at her claim to Native American ancestry. She swore she was 1/32 Cherokee. Yet one of her cousins who researched her family admitted it was only a rumor. She has persisted yet refuses to substantiate her story with evidence.

The real Pocahontas was not Cherokee either.  She was a member of the Powhatan Indian Confederation in Virginia. Contrary to popular belief she did not marry John Smith.  She married John Rolfe and had several children with him. She has numerous descendents today through that marriage.

A multitude of people today allege Native American ancestors based on family rumor/legends.  Their claims are often based on some physical characteristic which they contend are typical Native American traits such as high cheek bones, a prominent nose or black hair. This is a sign of ignorance because Native Americans have a variety of looks. They are as varied as any other racial group.

I have a daughter-in-law who professes she is part Native American. Her delusion is based on her long black hair and the fact that she lives in North Carolina the original home of the Cherokees. An investigation into both sides of her family showed there is no Native American ancestry. Despite the evidence, she still insists it must be true. It is a wish, not a fact.

Elizabeth Warren continues to defend her story about Native American heritage. “These are my family stories, I have lived in a family that has talked about Native American and talked about tribes since I was a little girl.” Her allegation is consistent even though the Cherokee Nation labeled it a fabrication. They should know since they have extensive records of tribal members.

Investigations confirm beyond a doubt that Warren doesn’t have Cherokee or other Native American ancestry. Research turned up historic evidence that her ancestors were afraid of Indians. One news story revealed her great grandfather even shot an Indian.

Warren has concocted a series of a series of fabrications to cover up her lack of credible proof.  Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes checked her family history in 2016 and wrote her stories lack credence in light of historical records.   As the story goes, liars create more lies to cover their lies.

Henry Louis Gates, the prominent Harvard professor, has examined these family legends among his guest on his TV show “Finding Your Roots”. Gates employs professional genealogists and DNA tests to determine where the truth lies. In his shows he demonstrates how family rumors morph into legends which are mostly false.

For instance, actor Morgan Freeman pronounced he had Choctaw Indian blood on the show. His DNA test displayed no Native American DNA. Freeman accepted the results and realized that his family stories were just tales.

Don Cheade, another prominent actor, insisted he was part Chickasaw. His DNA test equally exposed no Native Americans in his family tree. Moreover, Gates investigation of Indian records revealed a surprise.  Cheade’s African ancestors were actually slaves of the Chickasaw nation. A sizable portion of Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks and Seminoles had slaves and fought for the Confederacy. As Gates pointed out, “bro your family got it wrong.”

Another example is Chief Iron Eyes Code. He was a part time actor. He dressed up in Indian garb. He was so convincing that people accepted him as a Native American. An investigation uncovered that he was actually an Italian American by the name of Espera Oscar de Corte from Louisiana. His family changed their surname to Cody when they moved to California. Like Warren, he pretended he was a Native American throughout his life.

Recently, the Cherokees in Oklahoma sent a tribal member to Warren with a DNA test kit. If Warren insisted she was a Cherokee they wanted her to verify her ancestry. Warren sent the kit back. A barb was that she refused the spit test because her spit was really venom.

Census records show her parents, grandparents, etc. were all classified “white”. Indian sources don’t have any records of her family ancestors. Yet she was accepted to Harvard based on her supposed Native American ancestry. Harvard’s requirement for being accepted as Native American was never applied to Elizabeth Warren. Their definition stated you had to be an authentic Native American who maintained a “cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.” This test was ignored. They never checked with the Cherokees or made any effort to verify her tribal affiliation. This was a colossal failure on their part.

Warren has concocted a series of a series of falsehoods to lend credence to her allegations. Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes investigated her family in 2016 and wrote her stories don’t make sense in light of historical evidence.

The Cherokee Nation recently sent a tribal member with a DNA test kit to give to Warren with the proviso that she take the test and demonstrate beyond a doubt her Cherokee ancestry. But Warren sent the test back.

Just this month a New England liberal newspaper wrote she should take a DNA test or stop making her claim. She steadfastly vowed she would never take a DNA test. Why not? If she was so sure she was a Native American why not take the test?  Her refusal makes her look foolish and delusional.

Despite the lack of evidence there are people who accept her claim on face value.  Mark Twain had it right when he wrote, “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.”

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About camden41

Retired public school administrator Retired history professor: Taught Western Civilization, American Civil War, United States History, Economic History, Ancient & Medieval Foundations, American History Since 1945
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