Friday, February 3, 2012

Dissecting a Family Myth - One Year Later

As many of my readers know, I have written a series of posts on the Cherokee man named Crane Eater in an effort to ensure the truth is known about him, as opposed to many lies, myths and rumors that are now posted all over the web. It has been a year since my first post on Crane Eater so today, I thought I would write about all the things the year has entailed.

When I originally looked at the information on Crane Eater, the question was, "Were Crane Eater and James Keith the same man?" Within two hours of reviewing the information I had available to me, my conclusion was no. Not only was that my conclusion, I felt very confident in that conclusion based on the documentation and evidence. A descendant of the Keith family seemed very appreciative of my conclusion and left a comment on my blog thanking me for it. I thought that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

Almost immediately after thanking me, the same Keith descendant started defaming me in their blog. It was if I had become the devil incarnate and everything I did was pure evil, simply because their family was not Cherokee and I was the one who said it. The blogger started posting a variety of documents, twisting their meaning to try to prove me wrong. They even went so far as to post on a facebook page that they had a big plate of steaming crow for my friend, David Cornsilk, and me. The sad thing about it all is no matter what this person said, they would never be able to prove Crane Eater and James Keith were the same man because they weren't.

This quest for truth has led to some things I never could have predicted a year ago. Though being removed from the Geneabloggers blog roll due to supposedly not having content that will move the genealogical community forward and apparently having inappropriate posts; and being referred to as being in "The Battle of the Blogs" in the On the Trail of the Trail blog in a post titled "The Crane Eater Conflict" , many positives have come from this "battle." Recently, a presentation was made to the Tulsa Cherokee Community Organization on the topic of this situation with Crane Eater and James Keith, with the research from this blog being used as the example. Because of this controversy, people have started to notice how far a wannabe will go if someone challenges their claim to Cherokee ancestry. Cherokees have started to pay attention because they don't like it when someone steals their ancestors and claims them as their own. Some have even become proactive in speaking out against such claims. Also because of this controversy, I have been fortunate enough to have been put in contact with some of the top Cherokee researchers in the country. Their knowledge and background into Cherokee records and documentation is unbelievably extensive. If a Cherokee researcher has a question, these are the "go-to" people and I am truly blessed to be able to work with them.

Overall, despite the personal attacks and lies posted about both me and Crane Eater, it has been a great year. Many people, both Cherokee and non-Cherokee, have been educated about the serious issue of wannabes, fake genealogies and the attempts people will make to try to "prove" they are Cherokee.  Though at first, I thought it was a "two hour gig" and nothing more, it has turned into one of the greatest opportunities one could hope for when it comes to teaching about those who desperately want to be Cherokee, and therefore will do or say anything they can to "prove" it.

Now, after a year, I have done hundreds of hours of research on both Crane Eater and James Keith, assisted by some wonderful other researchers and genealogists. After these hundreds of hours of research, my conclusion remains the same as after the first two hours of research. James Keith and Crane Eater were NOT the same man. No amount of hoping, wishing or praying will ever make it so. And when this is all said and done, it won't be me or my friend who's...

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

copyright 2012, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

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