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Cherokee genealogist to Elizabeth Warren — Tell the truth

Cherokee genealogist to Elizabeth Warren — Tell the truth

A reader alerted me to Thoughts from Polly’s Granddaughter, a blog run by Twila Barnes, devoted to documenting Cherokee genealogy and countering fraudulent claims of Cherokee heritage:

I am the wife of a career soldier and the mother of four. I am registered with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and, like my ancestors, have always been proud of my Cherokee heritage. I have been studying Cherokee history and genealogy for a long time and I am interested in anything Cherokee, whether it involves the historical Cherokee Nation or the Cherokee people of today. I have been fortunate to have been mentored in Cherokee history and genealogical methods by David Cornsilk and the late Jerri Chasteen and I hope to pass on what I have learned to others. I adhere to the Standards for Sound Genealogical Practices and believe one should only claim what they can prove through solid historical documentation.

I spoke with Ms. Barnes today.  She is 7/32 Cherokee, has 10 ancestors on the Dawes Roll and many other relatives who are Cherokee including her grandfather (7/8 Cherokee) and mother (7/16 Cherokee).  Ms. Barnes is active in Cherokee affairs.

Here is an image of Ms. Barnes’ great-great-great grandmother, Polly Vann Tadpole, after whom the blog is named and who was full-blooded Cherokee:

Ms. Barnes also has put together a video of her Cherokee ancestors (text here):

My Great Great Great Grandma Polly’s family and descendants include many college graduates, decorated soldiers, accomplished athletes, and nationally known poets, writers, and artists yet we are all just simple people who are a living legacy to a woman who traveled the Cherokee Trail of Tears over 170 years ago. I hope she would be proud of us all. Every photo either contains a family member or descendant of hers.

Because of a family emergency, Ms. Barnes has not been able to weigh in on the Elizabeth Warren saga over the past two weeks.

But now Ms. Barnes is weighing in with A Letter to Elizabeth Warren, here is an excerpt (emphasis mine):

I am writing this letter in the hope it will help end the current situation you have found yourself in. It seems you are being ripped apart in the media because of your claim of Cherokee ancestry and you don’t like it. According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, you believe your opponent is “creating a distraction” by “ridiculously” attacking you “with questions that have already been answered.” It seems you would like the “attacks” against your claims of Cherokee ancestry to stop so I thought I would offer some advice on how to make it stop.

Tell the truth….

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.

But, your ancestors are found in plenty of historical records, and every time, they are found living as white people among other white people. Never are your ancestors ever found living among the Cherokees. Never, never, never, never…….yet you claim they were Cherokee….

So, Ms. Warren, you see, it is not just your opponent who has questions. We Cherokees have questions too and those questions have yet to be answered by you. You see, for us Cherokees, this is not political. This is about the truth.

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.

As indicated in the footnote to her letter, Ms. Barnes has formed a working group of Cherokee genalogists who have been tracking down Elizabeth Warren’s claim to Cherokee ancestry, particularly the Crawford line:

Several people who are experienced researchers in Cherokee genealogy have been working together exploring Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry. They have uncovered many documents that, combined, paint a very clear picture that Warren descends from white people who had no connection whatsoever to the Cherokee Nation. These documents will be posted soon.

With regard to Elizabeth Warren’s continued claims that she is proud of her Native American heritage, Ms. Barnes stated:  “She needs to stop.”

Update:  Twila Barnes was interviewed on the Howie Carr Show this afternoon.  Unfortunately, the embeds are auto-run, and since that annoys a lot of readers, you’ll have to go over to his website.  Carr’s intro, which is right on the money, is here, and the interview is here [link fixed].

“It’s like she’s stepping on the backs of Cherokee people to get what it is that she wants” (2:50)

“Cherokees are talking about her claims and they see the high cheekbone comment and all the other comments as insulting, because they’re stereotypical.”  (3:20)

Re Pow Wow Cookbook: “Pow Wows aren’t even traditionally Cherokee” (3:55)

“I think she’s deceiving herself, she doesn’t have Native American ancestry, she doesn’t have the heritage.” (6:50)

“She did grasp that story and embrace it to try to further her career.”  (7:35)

“I think she owes the Cherokee Nation an apology, I think she owes all American Indians an apology, and I think she owes the American public an apology” (8:35)

Added 5-17-2012: Here’s the audio of the Carr interview without the auto-run:


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I’m not so sure that Squatting Heifer is happy that this story now has another set of legs to keep it going.

Oh well, live by the identity politics sword, die by it as well.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | May 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

There are plenty of sketchy Repubs, as we all know.
But even now after viewing the scene for years, it is shocking how often you turn over a rock for a Dem politician and find a warped and awful human being.

Whether it is Tim G’s tax cheating, Ted K’s mistreatment of women, Hilary C’s financial shenanigans, well the list goes on and on. Now we can add Liz W to that list.


Woman of Color (pink) on toast.

Or Bullspit on a shingle.

    Liz Warren does seem to have a “checkered” past.

    Is “checkered” a color ?

      Ragspierre in reply to Neo. | May 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      More a “pattern”, I think.

      Like a pattern and practice of lying…

        Neo in reply to Ragspierre. | May 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

        To think that our esteemed President Obama nominated this lying sack of -hockeypucks- to be the head of the Consumer Protection Agency .. you know the part of the government that is supposed to protect us from lying credit companies.

        I had no idea that being able to lie like the Son of Satan was a requirement for the job.

LukeHandCool | May 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Time to circle the wagons, Elizabeth.

Your high cheekbones are all very well and fine, but your roots (the blonde ones) gave you away.

“You want the truth .. you can’t handle the truth”

“it’s time for you to put away childish things”

ShakesheadOften | May 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

At least Elizabeth can finally get her wish to meet Cherokees.

She just isn’t going to like what they have to say to her.

Ouch! That’s gotta hurt. Miss Pocawarren is toast if she keep running with this fake Indian story.

I doubt Warren is capable of shame, but she should be completely ashamed.

2nd Ammendment Mother | May 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I’d say it falls into the same category of people who seek jobs or political office claiming to have military background or honors that they never earned.

I R A Darth Aggie | May 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Elizabeth Warren: you in heap big trouble.

I denounce myself. Of course, as we would say in the south you’re in a heap o’ trouble, son.

Excellent investigative journalism, LI. Just excellent.

I’ve known a couple fullblood “Native Americans”. The one young lady had taken a strong dislike to Cherokee “breeds”. Evey other man she met claimed to be part Cherokee. The Apache man didn’t give a sh**.

DanceswithLies speaks: “…Part of the way you fix those things is don’t do those things.”…Part of the underlying social contract…is you pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” (Cherokee kids included)

It’s time to pay up with the truth Ms. DWL. Stop leveraging the lie.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | May 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

It’s too late for her to recant gracefully, but she can’t even seem to be able to acknowledge the work Legal Insurrection, Breitbart, the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, and now Ms. Barnes have done to disprove her story well beyond a preponderance of a doubt. Pretty sad.

I wondered how long it would take for a member of the Cherokee Nation to say something like this. Outstanding.

She doesn’t need to apologize because that would draw attention to herself. Thus far, relatively few people who will vote for her are aware of the truth. It’s been hidden. And those who do know, don’t care. Fraud is almost a normal, even laudable, trait in Democrats. I still see comments touting her 1/32nc Cherokee claims. I see others wondering why it’s an issue at all. As someone said above, they have no shame.

Fauxcahontas is flailing. Macaca baby, macaca.

Elizabeth “Stands In Cow Dung” Warren is a national liberal laughing stock.

Will Obama Stump for her? Only if she revises her claim to being a 1/32 Gay Cherokee.

Please don’t forget dear folks, this is not only about Warren it is about the universities that accepted and used her phoney claim. Harvard has about as much credibility as a mail order diploma mill in Cut And Shoot, Texas (a real place).

So what you’re saying is that your 1/32 Cherokee…

Stop It!

Juba Doobai! | May 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm

But, but, the woman in the photo has high cheekbones … like all Indians do!

Barnes’ blog also includes an extensive list of what she calls Fraudulent “Cherokee” Organizations. These are presumably places where fraudulent Cherokees can go to meet people like them. Just sayin’.

Telling the truth would be one way to stop the bleeding. I tend to believe the damage incurred thus far is fairly extensive however. Warren’s continued charade is only part of her problem and I doubt she truly understands why this is true.

Somehow I can’t see Warren acknowledging that AA gives a perverse incentive for employers and academia to hunt for minority scalps to hang as trophies. Surely she knew when checking that box years ago the intended purpose was to boost those who had been truly disadvantaged by virtue of their heritage. Did Warren hang her head in shame when she witnessed Harvard or Fordham boasting they had hired a “woman of color” or did she truly believe her high cheekbones had somehow hindered her in some way?

On Monday I went to my daughter’s college graduation at Penn. After 150+ years in this country the first descendant of my Irish immigrant ancestors graduated from an Ivy League institution. My great grandmother quit school in the fourth grade to work in a lace mill. Still she raised nine children most of whom she wheeled and dealed her way to making sure they received a college education. I would never have considered my daughter disadvantaged by her high cheekbones nor would we have denied her true heritage in order to gain a false advantage in the system.

Warren is the worst sort of hypocrite. While she wrapped herself in a blanket of stolen identity she would wag her finger at many who overcame far more than she in order to rise to success. Worse still she would sit in silence in one of our country’s oldest and most respected institutions used her “diversity” as proof of their commitment to helping the disadvantaged. Meanwhile, the liberal policies they espouse and promote from their lofty ivory tower leave the same groups they pretend to assist languishing in poverty and dependence.

As many times as I have made the trip from the Philly suburbs down to University City, I am still horrified at the poverty that a lifetime of Democratic policy has yet to correct. In fact, it has almost certainly made it worse. Yet Warren and her ilk would berate anyone who confronted that truth. While PA’s Republican Governor is bravely trying to offer those trapped in Philadelphia’s public schools true choice, Warren and Obama will gladly trade on fear to make sure that doesn’t happen.

My great grandma Ellie pushed and prodded her way to educating her nine children in the Catholic institutions Warren, Obama and Sebelius denigrate on a daily basis. It appears there is no roadblock too cumbersome for these folks to throw in the path of any who hope to make it out of the poverty that makes Native Americans, African Americans and other minorities truly disadvantaged. For those in the middle class who aspire for the promise that brought our ancestors to this country people like Warren will throw an elbow and grab a false advantage.

This is all a truth that even the die-hard Democrats in Massachusetts know on some level. It is really not enough anymore for Warren to admit she claimed a heritage she had no right to claim. She must acknowledge the implications of her actions. I would bet the reservation Warren is incapable of that kind of courage.

    DaveO in reply to Mary Sue. | May 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Not being a lawyer, I suspect if Warren ever admitted she was wrong, she opens herself to legal actions for lying on her applications for employment.

    Her only hope to escape crimial and civil legal action is to be elected to the Senate, or pardoned by the POTUS. Either is highly probable.

    persecutor in reply to Mary Sue. | May 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Congrats to you and your family. This calls for champagne (and a smoke!)!

    Taxpayer1234 in reply to Mary Sue. | May 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    My Irish ancestors haven’t been here as long as yours, but they also worked hard to make sure their kids would have every opportunity. After three generations, our clan has over 30 college graduates, including some Ph.Ds and M.D.s; and 8 veterans.

    Amazingly, Europeans are known for high cheekbones, too. 🙂

      Mary Sue in reply to Taxpayer1234. | May 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      You raised a good point I felt bad leaving out of my diatribe. In addition to my great grandmother’s determination to educate her brood, she also sent two of her sons to fight in WWII. The first member of my family to come from Ireland fought in the Civil War before settling in PA to raise a family.

      As you rightly mentioned, these are the folks who worked to improve the lives of their children and they were grateful to be in America where they knew anything was possible. I believe my great grandmother would have been thrilled to death to see my daughter graduate on Monday. It would have been the ultimate slap in the face to pretend she was anything else but who she was.

Insufficiently Sensitive | May 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Even if I were an elite a Harvard lawyer facing that white-hot indictment, I’d fold my tent and quietly steal away.

I suspect Polly’s triple-great grand-daughter is going to find the Progressive boom lowered on her shortly. Nothing says love like unhinged Progressives going after a critic of one of the annointed.

As much as I enjoy Fauxcohontas’s tribulations, what counts is the number of voters, real and otherwise, who vote for her in November. Teddy Kennedy was also reality-challenged, a known killer, and an accused serial rapist. And every 6 six years voters returned him to DC.

Dressed. DOWN. Talk about being taken out to the woodshed!

Samuel Keck | May 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Gosh! If all this new material is accurate, Hillary Clinton may soon have to forfeit that honorific personally bestowed upon her a few years ago by the Native American community to Ms. Warren.

IIRC, they dubbed the Hillaroid “Walking Eagle.”

I have nothing but scorn and derision for those who steal from the poor box. Elizabeth Warren claimed a status which wasn’t hers to promote herself. Surely they must have been a true member of the minority group who got left behind because an interloper took their spot. Of course the left has no remorse, they have no morals.

When the Cherokee geneologist are finished, I’m sure they will find 0 Indian blood in her. Since Harvard won’t admit they hired her for her minority status, it will be interesting to see what they do about her. Now, are there other “minorities” on the faculty at Harvard? Perhaps they need to be checked out as well.

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

Othello Act 3, scene 3, 155–161

“Warren descends from white people who had no connection whatsoever to the Cherokee Nation.”

That’s not entirely true…

At least one had a connection to the Nation…

Unless we aren’t counting rounding them up for the Trail of Tears…

otto b. alaw | May 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I may be Cherokee. Looking in the mirror my cheekbones
are just below and towards the corners of my eyes. There
is one cheekbone on either side of my nose similar to
the placement of Ms. Warren’s cheekbones. Could be.

Punditarian | May 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I’ve been wondering if Elizabeth Warren’s understanding of her Cherokee heritage might not be analogous to Hillary Clinton’s story about being named after Sir Edmund P Hillary.

She told reporters, on a trip to Nepal, that her mother told her that she had been named after the famous climber. This was evidently intended to inspire her to a life of achievement.

A problem with the story is that Hillary Clinton was born in 1947, when Sir Edmund was unknown to the world; he did not reach the summit of Everest until 1953. It is impossible that Mrs. Rodham read about that exploit and decided to name her daughter after the hero.

However, I think it perfectly plausible that Mrs. Rodham could have told a young a naive Hillary, as a child, that she had been named after the famous alpinist. In repeating that claim to the reporters, she was simply relaying family lore.

Similarly, I think it may be possible that a little white girl growing up in Oklahoma might have been told that she had some remote Cherokee ancestry. And she might have believed it.

But what she could not have believed was that 1/32 Cherokee ancestry truly entitled her to special treatment back East. I think no matter the origin of the claim, her apparently deliberate use of it, and the deliberate use of it by the faculties of the Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, are atrocious.

    Anchovy in reply to Punditarian. | May 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I can understand Hillary’s mistake about her name. After all she was probably still shaken after coming under fire during her visit to Bosnia, or maybe not.

    Remember statements by these folks do not necessarily have a truth value, they have an expiration date.

Jusuchin (Military Otaku) | May 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm

In the words of my generation:


myohmymanatee | May 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm

You got that right. Elizabeth Warren is robbing the real cherokees of opportunities while she siphoned all the special priivileges that Harvard offered to minorities.

[…] William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, who’s owned this story along with the Breitbart team. Her name is Twila Barnes, she’s […]

OMG. Day after day of this is not good. It’s obvious she lied. She’s not going to admit it. I don’t know where else you can go with this. I want to see if polling indicates this is working.

I understand that some of you are outraged by her lies, but it’s going to hurt Brown’s campaign unless something different breaks. The electorate in Massachusetts is very liberal and they are going to feel sympathetic to her. Brown has to show she is incompetent in a variety of ways not just in her heritage.

Yes I know this is unpopular but enough is enough. This is minor.

[…] Cherokee genealogist to Elizabeth Warren: “Your ancestors are found in plenty of historical records, and every time, they are found living as white people among other white people. Never are your ancestors ever found living among the Cherokees.” […]

There is a chance that she once drove a Jeep Cherokee, does that count?

[…] Hat tip to William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who spoke to Twila, and has more on her story here. […]

[…] Cherokee recipes comes as outraged members of the tribe — including a Warren supporter — demanded she release her employment records following reports that she has no documentation to prove her Native American […]

[…] Cherokee recipes comes as outraged members of the tribe — including a Warren supporter — demanded she release her employment records following reports that she has no documentation to prove her Native American […]

[…] looks like a poisoned arrow into Warren’s wobbly U.S. Senate campaign in Massachusetts. Via Legal Insurrection, which has been instrumental in airing Warren’s dirty laundry as a faux American […]

[…] Cherokee recipes comes as outraged members of the tribe — including a Warren supporter — demanded she release her employment records following reports that she has no documentation to prove her Native American […]

[…] Hat tip to William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who spoke to Twila, and has more on her story here. […]

[…] Cherokee recipes comes as outraged members of the tribe — including a Warren supporter — demanded she release her employment records following reports that she has no documentation to prove her Native American […]

[…] Warren, aka Fauxocahantas, is the $500,000 a year Harvard professor, self-identified “mother of the OWS movement” and the […]

[…] Cherokee genealogist to Elizabeth ‘Dances with Liars’ Warren — Tell the truth […]

[…] Elizabeth Warren apparently claimed to be part Cherokee and was listed as a minority faculty member at Harvard and elsewhere until people started demanding proof of her claims, which are now busted. […]

[…] William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, who was among the first to wonder why anybody should take Warren’s word for even her pathetic […]