Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Donations for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are being collected in Tahlequah

For those not aware of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe protest, please read this article - Dakota Access Pipeline Standoff: Mni Wiconi, Water is Life.

Donations are needed.

"Anyone near Tahlequah, Oklahoma wanting to help out and donate can bring non-flammable and non-perishable goods to the Cosby Law Office located at 218 S. Muskogee in Tahlequah. A storage unit in Keys has been donated by JR Baker to house the supplies until it can be shipped to our Sioux Brothers and Sisters."* Donations will be accepted for the next week or two.

Monetary donations for food and gas to assist folks in getting these supplies to North Dakota is greatly appreciated. Donations can be made through Paypal at entimeart@gmail.com . Use the "Send money to friends and family" option.

Monetary donations directly to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe can be made at this link - CLICK HERE. 

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

*Information from the facebook page of Cole Hogner.

copyright 2016, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Did Warren invent the story of racist grandparents?

In 2012, while running for the US Senate, reporters at the Boston Herald discovered Elizabeth Warren had listed herself as a minority in law directories that were often used for hiring purposes. It's believed by many that Warren listed herself as such in order to game the system and take advantage of affirmative action. Those beliefs are supported by the fact Harvard used her for diversity purposes and considered her Harvard Law's first "woman of color."

When questioned about listing herself as a minority, Warren said she was Native American and she further elaborated by proclaiming that her parents had to elope because her father's parents despised Indians so much, they refused to allow him to marry her mother, a purported Indian.


The problem with Warren's story is that none of the evidence supports it. Her genealogy shows no indication of Cherokee ancestry. Her parents' wedding doesn't resemble an elopement. And additional evidence doesn't show any indication of her Herring grandparents being Indian haters.

In 1937, Elizabeth Warren's paternal grandparents, Grant and Ethel Herring, made the one and a half hour trip from their home in Wetumka, Oklahoma to Sallisaw, Oklahoma to visit Grant's brother, Frank Herring. Later all of them made a thirty minute drive to Fort Smith, Arkansas to visit Frank's brother-in-law, Carnall Wheeler, and his family. While the women stayed at the Wheeler home to visit, the men spent the day playing golf at the Hardscrabble Country Club.

Democrat American, Sallisaw, Oklahoma, September 30, 1937. Click to enlarge.

That snippet from the Society Pages may seem rather mundane and insignificant but it isn't. While Warren has repeatedly said her paternal grandparents disliked Indians, this news clipping indicates otherwise. The man Warren's paternal grandpa spent the day playing golf with, Carnall Wheeler, was an Indian and listed as one-fourth Cherokee by blood on the Dawes Roll.

Dawes Census Card 999 - Carnall Wheeler outlined in green - Click to enlarge
Section of Dawes Census Card 999 - Carnall Wheeler - Click to enlarge

It was no secret that Carnall Wheeler was an Indian. Upon his graduation from the Virginia Military Institute in 1909, his biography referred to him as an "Aboriginal" and there were biting references to war-whoops and the green-corn dance (rats appear to be new students.) One of his nicknames was listed as "Squaw."

Virginia Military Institute Yearbook, Bomb, 1909

Wheeler's biography is uncomfortable to read because there are racist remarks included but it leaves no doubt that people knew he was an Indian.

The golf outing was not the first time Warren's paternal grandparents met Wheeler. He was in attendance at the 25th wedding anniversary party for Frank and Kitty Herring in October 1936. Warren's paternal grandparents attended that party so they knew who he was. They made a conscious decision to accompany Frank to Wheeler's house in 1937. They could have excused themselves from the visit in a number of ways, but they chose not to do so.

Clearly, Wheeler experienced some degree of racism in his life due to his being Indian. Despite this, there is one person we know who did not have a problem associating with him -- Grant Herring, the grandfather of Elizabeth Warren, the same grandfather she claims was racist against Indians.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading. 

copyright 2016, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Why won't Chief Baker hold Elizabeth Warren accountable?

In a recent Associated Press article that has been widely distributed, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker is quoted as saying the attacks on Elizabeth Warren by Trump and his supporters are "incredibly offensive and distasteful."

While I agree with Baker that Trump and his supporters are doing and saying incredibly offensive and distasteful things, I also believe Warren should be held accountable for her role in the fiasco. Baker’s failure to address the issue of Warren’s fraudulent claims of Cherokee ancestry troubles people and they wonder if he is more concerned about helping the Democratic Party than he is in defending the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation. His past actions may offer the answer to that question.

On April 8, 2016 at the Carl Albert Dinner during the OklahomaState Democratic Convention, Bill John Baker was the keynote speaker. “He gave a stirring speech highlighting ... his commitment to the Democratic Party.”

Click to Enlarge
Recent examples of that commitment are shown in the following two images.

February 27, 2016, while campaigning for his wife, Hillary, Bill Clinton was introduced by Chief Baker who also presented him with a ceremonial blanket.

Click to Enlarge
In June 2016, Chief Baker and the Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. met with Elizabeth Warren, the U.S. Senator who falsely claims to be Cherokee, and Baker tweeted that she is a champion of the people.

Click to Enlarge
And, in 2012, despite the fact that citizens from the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians were speaking out against Warren’s false claim of Cherokee identity, Baker excused it and said he wished everyone felt such a kinship to us.

Because he’s the chief of the Cherokee Nation, concerning the issue of Cherokee identity politics, Baker should be taking a pro-Indian position but he isn’t.

Anthropologist Michael Lambert, a citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians described Cherokee identity politics as a “battle over sovereignty”:

"One of the terrains on which this is being fought is that of how we define “Indian.” The current effort to define Indian as a racial/cultural group is an effort to extinguish Indian sovereignty.  The only way for Indian nations to defend and expand their sovereignty is to make exclusive claim to defining who is Indian and what it means to be Indian. If Indians have sovereignty, then culture, behavior, and belief should have nothing to do with who is or is not Indian. … What does this have to do with non-enrolled Cherokees identifying as such? I see the basis of claims to Indian identity to be political acts. This is, and has been, a battle over sovereignty. One who bases their claim to Indian identity on any basis other than sovereignty is not taking a pro-Indian position.” [Emphasis mine]

Despite her meeting with Chief Baker, Warren has never apologized or retracted her false claim to a Cherokee/Indian identity. Warren has committed, and is continuing to commit, a political act that challenges tribal sovereignty. By ignoring the fact that citizenship in an Indian Nation is a factor in who is or is not Indian, Bill John Baker is allowing a direct attack on tribal sovereignty while offering no defense against the attack. He is not acting in our best interest or in the interest of Indian Country as a whole. Instead, he’s abusing his office to try to influence U.S. politics.

Baker has twice taken the Oath of Office swearing to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the Cherokee Nation. Our Constitution includes the law for determining who is and who isn’t Cherokee. Baker is not defending our Constitution when he turns a blind eye to Warren’s challenge to our sovereignty. Some view his defense and support of Warren as a willful neglect of his duties and as a violation of his oath of office.

Making stereotypical war whoops and using our ancestors’ names to taunt someone is unacceptable, but so is engaging in ethnic fraud and undermining tribal sovereignty. The Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Bill John Baker, had the opportunity to denounce the actions of members of both political parties while also educating the American public about why all of these things matter. Sadly, he failed to do so because it would have required him to put the Cherokee Nation’s interests above his own personal political loyalties. Instead of remaining neutral, he chose a side. If there was any doubt before, there should not be any now. He is “Bill John Baker, Democrat” first and “Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Bill John Baker” second.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading

Michael Lambert quote source -
Sturm, Circe. Becoming Indian: The Struggle over Cherokee Identity in the Twenty-first Century. School for Advanced Research Press, 2011.

copyright 2016, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB