Tuesday, June 17, 2014

When the Past Meets the Present - Part 1

While the above quote applies to humanity as a whole or to nations of people, I believe it also applies to us as individuals. It's why I believe the study of our own personal history is important. We all have family stories, and while that might be fine and good for sitting around the dinner table, if those stories are inaccurate or untrue, and we allow them to become engrained into our very being, they could lead us to make poor decisions based on lies and deception. Over time, that can become problematic and harmful. This harm is magnified if one who has been influenced by false family stories becomes a leader of a nation of people and he allows those false stories to play a role in the decisions he makes for that nation of people.


In 1896, a family group of approximately 54 people applied for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation and were rejected. They appealed to the US Northern District Court and were again rejected. That should have been the end of it, but it wasn't. In 1907, they filed Eastern Cherokee applications, attempting to get some of the money due the Cherokees for their land in the east. Once again the family was rejected. Still, this was not the end of it. To this day, though they have not one iota of proof to support their false claim, this family still says they are Cherokee. While we Cherokees are used to this type of claim and tend to roll our eyes when we hear these claims and then go on about our business believing the claim is more annoying than it is harmful, we can't do that this time. 

This time, the false claim is being made by our very own chief, Bill John Baker, and his mother, Isabel Baker. While Baker has Cherokee ancestry on his father's side, he has none on his mother's side but that doesn't stop him from claiming he does, according to sources who wish to remain anonymous. It also doesn't stop his mother from claiming it, as you can see in this comment she made in September, 2012, on Facebook:

In the 1896 claim that was appealed to to the US courts, in the case known as RM Walker v the Cherokee Nation, the ancestors of Isabel Baker claimed descent from a Cherokee man named John Rogers. They were very specific about which John Rogers they claimed.  He was white and well documented. They don't descend through him. 

By the time of the Eastern Cherokee applications, Isabel Baker's family were still very specific about which Cherokee John Rogers they claimed, but this time, it was a different John Rogers. He was a chief and also well documented. They don't descend through him either, but ironically, Cara Cowan Watts, Cherokee Nation council woman, does. (Yes, you read that correctly. Chief Baker's mom's family falsely claimed to descend through Cara Cowan Watts' ancestor!)

The Cherokee people have watched this administration closely and often wondered why our chief refuses to defend our sovereignty in these perilous times when the number of fraudulent groups are growing each day; when the BIA is considering weakening the federal recognition process; and when states consider giving fake tribes state recognition.

Stay tuned as we explore the ancestry of Chief Baker, through his mother's line, and examine whether Isabel Baker's family's false claim of Cherokee ancestry from the past has influenced her son's ability to make good decisions concerning our Nation's sovereignty today.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

copyright 2014, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB


  1. I'd think one of the top priorities of any leader of any tribal nation would be to protect sovereignty. No wonder if he he doesnt fight if he is allowing his own mother to claim Cherokee when she is not.

  2. Hard hitting and truthful as always!
    Thank you.


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