Opinion: Tennessee fooled by false claims of Cherokee heritage
"In the United States there are more than 200 ques­tion­able Chero­kee her­itage orga­ni­za­tions. Forty of them are in Ten­nessee, includ­ing a few that were just handed state recog­ni­tion.

In a five-minute Google search for their home pages, it became clear to me that at least three of these recently rec­og­nized “tribes” lack even a basic under­stand­ing of Chero­kee culture.

We just rec­og­nized the Cen­tral Band of Chero­kee. Accord­ing to a press release on their web­site (“Local Chero­kee Prove Jew Con­nec­tion”), group mem­bers recently dis­cov­ered through DNA test­ing that “Chero­kee DNA is totally dif­fer­ent from the Asian Native Amer­i­can tribes … Chero­kees test Euro­pean.” They are Ashke­nazi Jews, a claim sup­ported by a doc­u­ment from 3,700 B.C. that they keep in a vault in Lawrence County.

They feel that to be with­out tribal recog­ni­tion is anti-Semitic, “tor­ture, worse than death,” and part of the “Great Amer­i­can Holo­caust.” (They lament: “Leave it up to Amer­ica to outdo Hitler in get­ting rid of Jews!”) Need­less to say, this is not main­stream Chero­kee thinking.

We just rec­og­nized the Chika­maka Band. Mem­bers are descen­dants of “Chika­maka, Creek, Chero­kee, Shawnee, Catawba, Saponi, Mohawk, Delaware, Choctaw, Chika­saw, and their Tory allies” (Scot­tish, Irish, and Ger­man). Those famil­iar with indige­nous Amer­ica under­stand that although there is tremen­dous diver­sity between tribes, there is sim­i­lar­ity and con­nec­tion within tribes. Enrolling as a state-recognized Chika­maka is like join­ing a church whose mem­bers are Bap­tist, Church of Christ, Catholic and Hindu.

We just rec­og­nized the Chero­kee Wolf Clan. With a $35 pay­ment, mem­ber­ship is open to “any­one who feels they are of Native Amer­i­can ances­try.” They proudly state, “Native Amer­i­can is a way of life and comes from the heart. It is respect­ing all liv­ing things and try­ing to do what is good for all mankind.”"

Get the Story:
Eliana Ramage: State has been fooled by fraudulent tribes’ claims (The Tennessean 7/12)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Groups in Tennessee lack the heritage for recognition (7/9)
Cherokee lobbyist sues Tennessee panel for recognition rulings (7/1)
Cherokee Nation upset by recognition of groups in Tennessee (6/22)
Cherokee Nation defends donation to Republican candidate (6/10)
Lobbyist accuses Tennessee Indian panel of making threats (5/25)
State recognition rules a subject of dispute in Tennessee (3/22)
Editorial: Lawmakers shouldn't decide recognition (5/28)
Cherokee Nation blasts Tennessee 'culture clubs' (5/27)
Editorial: Reconsider Tennessee recognition bill (5/26)
Muscogee Nation opposes Tennessee recognition bill (5/20)
Cherokee Nation lobbies against 'Cherokees' (5/13)