Twila Barnes: Cherokee tribes do not claim fraudulent academic

Andrea Smith. Photo from University of California Riverside

Twila Barnes, a member of the Cherokee Nation, explains why professor Andrea Smith isn't Cherokee even though she claims she will "always be Cherokee":
Most of you have heard the Andrea Smith story by now. She's a member of academia who like Elizabeth Warren, US Senator from Massachusetts, claims to be Cherokee. I've not done Smith's genealogy, so I can't comment on her ancestry, but to do so would detract from the real point anyway. Her false claim, like Warren's, is an assault on the sovereignty of all Indian Nations, but specifically the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

False claim? Can we say that without doing her genealogy? Yes because this is not about who Andrea Smith claims, but instead, who claims her. None of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes claim her, therefore she isn't Cherokee, period.

Despite this, Smith continues to disrespect Cherokees and our tribal sovereignty by saying, "My enrollment status does not impact my Cherokee identity or my continued commitment to organizing for justice for Native communities."

Justice for Native communities? It is impossible to attack our sovereignty and seek justice for us at the same time. A person does one or the other. Smith's words suggest she is taking a pro-Indian position but her actions show this is not true.

Get the Story:
Twila Barnes: Andrea Smith and the battle over sovereignty (Polly's Granddaughter 7/12)

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