Elizabeth Warren has claimed Cherokee ancestry, but has she got proof?

Elizabeth Warren Avoids American Indian Media

Rob Capriccioso
5/31/12

WASHINGTON – As the controversy continues to swirl around U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s self-reported Cherokee ancestry, she has dodged several interview requests from the Native American press.

A spokesman for the Warren campaign, Alethea Harney, said by telephone on May 15 that Warren would not do an interview with Indian Country Today Media Network at that time, but “want[ed] to keep the lines of communication open.”

ICTMN had by that point requested multiple interviews with Warren in order for her to clarify her statements on her ancestry, to explain how she highlighted that self-reported ancestry while working in academia, as well as to examine the fall-out that has occurred in Indian country regarding identity issues as her campaign fiasco has stayed in the news.

In the meantime, throughout the month of May, Warren continued to do interviews with the mainstream and local press, including national appearances on MSNBC.

On May 25, after several more requests from ICTMN, Harney responded by e-mail, “Thanks for your request(s)! I will keep you posted. Thanks for understanding. Have a wonderful weekend.”

To date, Warren has done no interviews with the American Indian press. There are dozens of tribal papers and national Native news outlets, including well-respected Cherokee outlets, that she could have reached out to in order to help calm the controversy and alleviate Native concerns about both her background and its impact on Indian citizens.

In response to initial questions raised about her heritage in late April and early May, Warren issued statements saying that she listed herself as minority in academic directories in order to try to network with people like her. However, after becoming a professor at Harvard Law School, she stopped listing herself in the directories.

Many Indians have asked why, if she wanted to meet people like her, didn’t she continue to list herself in the directories. Others have asked why she didn’t attend Native functions at Harvard if she wanted to meet people like her. Still others have asked whether she made attempts to directly reach out to the hundreds of Native faculty around the country. No evidence has come to light to date suggesting she took any of these actions.

Warren has now also failed to connect with American Indians through the Native media—which is sounding alarm bells for Native journalists.

“If she really wanted to include her Native heritage in this election, she should be talking to Native people through our Native media groups, so we can see what she has to say,” said Rhonda LeValdo-Gayton, president of the Native American Journalists Association. “It would also open up the communication lines so she can listen to what issues tribes need help on, get acquainted with the people, and to learn personal stories. I know personally, I am always willing to give an interview with our tribal media groups, do stories, whatever is needed to get those stories out there.”

LeValdo, an Acoma Pueblo citizen, has been taking note of complaints that Warren has not done interviews with the Native press to date.

“Like others before her and probably after her, she uses Native status for her own benefit,” added Ronnie Washines, past president of NAJA.

“Tribes can adopt presidents, adopt actors, and even allow people to have great-great grandparents who are Native, but call upon [the adoptees] to open up to Native media [and it] only compels them to revert to selective access,” said Washines, a Yakama Nation reporter and citizen.

Lori Edmo-Suppah, a Shoshone-Bannock tribal citizen and reporter, said that if Warren is Native, as she claims, “it seems the Native press would be the first she would want to do interviews with.”

Added Edmo-Suppah, “Mainstream media rarely understands the issue of Native identity, so it's no surprise she seeks them first. It's time she be honest about her background.”

In recent days, there have been plenty of revelations for Warren to elaborate on. Among them:

  • The Boston Globe reported May 31 that Warren acknowledged for the first time “that she told Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she was Native American, but she continued to insist that race played no role in her recruitment.” “At some point after I was hired by them, I … provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard,’’ she said in a statement. “My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it.’’ The paper noted that Warren’s statement is “her first acknowledgment that she identified herself as Native American to the Ivy League schools. While she has said she identified herself as a minority in a legal directory, she has carefully avoided any suggestion during the last month that she took further actions to promote her purported heritage.”
  • “A group of Cherokees have organized and launched a website disputing Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Native American heritage,” Politico reported May 30. “Some 150 people purporting to be ‘concerned’ members and descendants of three Cherokee tribes have put up a new website called ‘Cherokees Demand Truth From Elizabeth Warren.’” Reflected Cherokee Nation citizen and group organizer David Cornsilk: “My mom called me David Crockett when I was little, because my name is David. That doesn’t mean I’m related to David Crockett. 1/32 Cherokee means that her great-great-great grandparent would have been a full-blood and if you have someone who’s a full blood, that means that that person’s entire lineage from that point backward are full-blood. And it would be extremely difficult, and in my opinion impossible, to have not had some of those family members captured within that wide net of historic records.”
  • The New England Historic Genealogical Society issued a clarification May 15, saying the group has "no proof that Elizabeth Warren's great-great-great-grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith either is or is not of Cherokee descent" and that the society "has not expressed a position on whether Mrs. Warren has Native American ancestry, nor do we possess any primary sources to prove that she is."
  • The Boston Globe noted the society's clarification in a correction. The paper had taken used the association’s earlier statements as indicating that Warren was 1/32nd Cherokee, but no primary document has ever been found to support that notion. The paper’s reports were used by many other media outlets as evidence that Warren was definitively 1/32nd Cherokee.
  • Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson has claimed that genealogical records show that Warren’s ancestry includes a great-great-great grandfather who helped round up Cherokees in the days leading to the Trail of Tears. Warren has not addressed that claim.
  • Native educators have raised concerns about Harvard’s role in promoting Warren as Native without any supporting documentation, asking whether this action took a position away from any Native citizens who may have applied during the time of Warren’s tenure.

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fslafountaine's picture
fslafountaine
Submitted by fslafountaine on
There are many European-Americans with British or French colonist ancestry who claim Native American ancestry. (I'm excluding European-Americans who immigrated to this country after colonial times.) They have no way of proving their Native American ancestry, except by family traditions or oral history.

husbandofmoonlight's picture
husbandofmoonlight
Submitted by husbandofmoonlight on
We here at North American Intertribal Missions fail to see any controversy other than lack of proof of Native American DNA---regardless of tribal affiliation(s). Since Native American DNA is so very distinct if Ms. Warren truly does have/possess Native American DNA she is a "Native"---regardless of her "tribe". Incidentally, many people during the late 19th and early twentieth century's who were childless often made a "public point" of "adopting an Indian Chld" in reflection of their "National Hero"--Andrew Jackson;who bragged oftne about having "adopted" an "Indan Baby he found in the ruins of the village" he and his men had destroyed in one of the USA's many illegal wars of aggression agains the Native People of North America. Jackson who aside from being the first President to make himslef a criminal of highest rank---by violating the US Constitutional Articles 3 and 6----made himself a "war criminal" as well with the same actions---and now has his image on the $20 demomination bill---and thousands of Counties,Schools,and even hundreds of thousands of "american boys" named after him----this is just one of many reasons why "We here at NAIM refer to the USA as a criminal nation--the Indian Child Welfare Act initially stopped such practices of "adopting an Indian baby"---like "Andy Jackson"---------------therefore there are most likely thousand of "Americans" who descended from those "adoptees" and may not know of their DNA-----still others were told by their ancestors that they had "Indian blood"----while the reality is quite the opposite. There is another aspect of the same "dark history" where "Americans often kept Native American babies as slaves"----another symbol of domination". Then just a few days ago; the "Comanche Nation of Oklahoma" adopted a "hollywooder" who will be "playing an absurdly fictional character"; "Tonto"---in a "new movie" about an absurd situtation where a "Comanche was a 'sidekick' to a 'white guy'---who rides around on a white horse in a mask, doing "good things" for the white folks out there in the "vast wilderness" of the Wild West"-----some people thought it was great----- while others are still laughing. All of that is based on fiction and the "audience" the fiction appeals to----(Americans tend to take their fiction very seriously). While Native America continues to make a mockery of intelligent solutions to their problems---the USA ----mocking them as they do---continues to "cloud the water with mud from the bottom"------with fiction and fantasy-- Sooner or later "science" will catch up to the "fiction"-----and the reality will be exposed-------if anyone has the distinctive DNA from Native American Ancestors---they are "Native Americans"-----it really is that simple. After more than twenty years of the use of DNA results in the US Courts; dominated by conservatives now for more than 30 years; science has begun to find the audience it deserves; fiction is loosing that audience. (conservatives do not give up their hard won control easily except when scientific evidence requires them to since they just "love" fantasy and fiction---but then that is what "conservatism requires" to maintain; fantasy and fiction.) North American Intertribal Missions has compiled a copy of the Interantional DNA results which can be acquired from, DNA_Tribes_soyit_depzfro@cp20.com--------- In the future perhaps the majority of Native America will rise to the occasion and realize that they share an exceptionally unique relationship to the world----and its not in the "regalia" or the "pow-wow circuit"---and NOT---the fantasy history that the USA wants them to accept; but that they are exceptionally unique people with an exceptionally unique history and the rest of the world will follow their lead----but only when the Native American people LEAD them. When "Native America" finally accepts the reality that the USA ---the "Anglo European invasions"----are simply a "mark on the wall of our evolution"----Native America will finally begin to experience true sovereignty-----and independence----instead of "Domestic Dependent Nations status"---and Prisoners of War. DNA "evidence" has forced several states in the early years to accept the DNA of many children who were advocated for----as "Native American"----even when they were not "listed on the rolls" of any Tribe-----* * Ethnologists on an international basis/level describe "tribe" as "established by language, language group or base, and culture"--- Ancestral Origins are defined by DNA-------- it really is THAT simple. Africa contains thousands of "tribes" while their "African DNA" is as unique as the Native American---or Asian---or South Pacific etc. If Ms. Warren truly does possess Native American DNA a simple test can deterimine that with its "quantum"--usually up to +/- 5-8 percentile; if she does not----then she will know to refrain from the mentioning of it. ONLY the Native American DNA will "make" a Native American-----all else in light of the science----is pure fiction. THAT is the TRUTH. "Only the truth will set you free; but only if you know the truth" Thank you for your time. Husband of Moonlight

quinzy's picture
quinzy
Submitted by quinzy on
As they say on our reservations, what is good for the media is bad for Indian country. So let's not jump on the mainstream media bandwagon. When the media attacks a person - in unison and it is always in unison without any dissent from the mainstream media - it almost always has another underlying cause. Like the person may have objected to America's wars. Reminds me of the time the media was pulling down Clinton using Monica Lewinsky. Or when - in unison - the media was pulling down Michael Jackson because of alleged child abuse. When something like this happens, it tells me the person being attacked said or did something right, which pissed off the media. So if the media is so vehemently attacking this Cherokee fraud, she must be saying or doing something right!

marywarner22's picture
marywarner22
Submitted by marywarner22 on
Hmmmmmm. To me, this is simply further proof that her claim of Native American ancestry is completely false. If it was true, why wouldn't she want to connect with the Native American community? This is simply offensive. She should be ashamed of the fact that she has taken advantage of Native Americans in this manner. It is simply a disgrace.

trumpetnative's picture
trumpetnative
Submitted by trumpetnative on
Indian people understand the issue, not the mainstream media. E-Letter from Elizabeth Friend, When I was a little girl, I learned about my family's heritage the same way everyone else does -- from my parents and grandparents. My mother, grandmother, and aunts were open about my family's Native American heritage, and I never had any reason to doubt them. What kid asks their grandparents for legal documentation to go along with their family stories? What kid asks their mother for proof in how she describes herself? My heritage is a part of who I am -- and I am proud of it. But that's not good enough for Scott Brown and the Republican Party. For several weeks now, they have orchestrated an attack against my family, my job qualifications, and my character. Earlier today, Scott Brown even questioned the honesty of my parents -- even though they are not fair game and are not here to defend themselves. Scott Brown wants me to give up my family and forget where I came from. I'm not doing that -- not for politics and not for anything else. I'll hold on to every memory I can. My family is part of who I am, and they will be part of who I am until I die. Despite evidence to the contrary, Scott Brown also claims I got special breaks because of my background. That's not true, and I need your help to fight back: The people involved in recruiting and hiring me for my teaching jobs, including Harvard professor Charles Fried -- the solicitor-general under Ronald Reagan and a Scott Brown voter in 2010 -- have said unequivocally they were not aware of my heritage and that it played no role in my hiring. I did not benefit from my heritage when applying to college or law school, and documents reporters have examined prove it. I let people know about my Native American heritage in a national directory of law school personnel. At some point after they hired me, I also provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. I decided to run for the U.S. Senate because the middle class in this country has been hacked at and hammered at and because Washington doesn't get it. Scott Brown has a very different vision about who we are as a people, and he votes to make sure the levers of power in Washington continue to work for the big, the powerful and the wealthy. If everyone in Massachusetts knew where Scott Brown stands on the important issues, voters wouldn't give him a second term in the U.S. Senate. You know that, I know that, and he knows that, too. That's why he has worked so hard to make this campaign about anything else -- even my heritage. It's why his campaign spends so little time on what Massachusetts voters are really concerned about. On Election Day, we will prevail because our vision is clearer and our ideas are stronger. We are focused on the issues important to middle class families, and our grassroots team will make sure everyone knows about those issues. I need your help to keep fighting the smears, spread the truth, and help us organize to win. Thank you for being a part of this, [Elizabeth Signature] Elizabeth

thechief's picture
thechief
Submitted by thechief on
the problem i see with this theory is that native americans may share the same dna but that does not build a community or a "nation." i have had my dna tested and it showed that i am part west african(i am listed as a full blood indian). that may be true but i have no connection to sierra leone or the ivory coast. my ancestors have no record of it and we have no way family trees that show it. if i went to the ivory coast or sierra leone and told them that i am a citizen because i have west african dna they would laugh at me. i think this is the same situation with these people that have dna but no proof. the only difference is that native american governments are misunderstood by others and their sovereignty isn't respected so anybody can say they are a "cherokee" without fear of being called on it. So until the Cherokee Nation recognizes her as a citizen she is just a white lady to me and is disrespecting their sovereignty by claiming to be a cherokee.

mitchellflint's picture
mitchellflint
Submitted by mitchellflint on
I'll bet she sez her g-g-g-g-mother was a "Cherokee Princess."

husbandofmoonlight's picture
husbandofmoonlight
Submitted by husbandofmoonlight on
Your "african" DNA can only be a result of one of your ancestors mixing their DNA with an African----quite possibly an escaped slave, since in many areas of the South the "excaped" slaves were adopted by the tribes in the areas----- That you contain "W. African" traces is a scientific revelation of your family history----your lack of proper information is common. Since you had/have no control over who your ancestors are/were----you only have control over WHO YOU are------- The "sovereignty" of Native American governments is not "understood or respected" because the Native American people are NOT organized/united for their common good----and many like yourself act upon "partial information"-----when the "people" rise up together there will be no stopping them. Presently---every member of every tribe in the USA---Alaska---and Hawaii are "prisoners of war"---and internationally recognized as such. As for making a "west african claim to citizenship" on account of your DNA---you would need to "show a tribal connection"------- But then; none of the Native American DNA "shows tribal identity"---either. Tribes are described by the "sciences" as based on "language and culture" and nothing else----indeed many people who share the same "close DNA" can and are members of different "tribes" here in the USA and Central and South America--- As for "communities"----the lack of "solidarity" within the entire Native American collective---is the reason why WE are and will remain "prisoners of war in our own lands"----- It was only until the early parts of the 20th century than many of the "tribes of W. Africa---won their freedom from Anglo European domination and the tribes of the Americas could take some lessons from them. "Only the truth will set you free; but only if you know the truth" Husband of Moonlight Attitudes like yours are the reason for this.

wingo's picture
wingo
Submitted by wingo on
I don't even know where to begin. I guess I could start by saying I was told all my life that my gGrandmother was Indian. I was handed a photo of my GreatGrandmother when I was a teenager and that started my genealogical search for my Indian heritage. My gGrand mother was born Caroline Matilda Wingo, b. 1857, Ina, IL ~ d. 1897, Moark , AR.(documention.) She was the daughter of Nathan Wingo & Mary Mitchell. Nathan Wingo & Mary Mitchell were both born in Hamilton county, TN, in the early 1800s(documention & maps.) In the earlier years of researching, my living relatives assumed that Wingo was Native American ~ it's not ~ it's French (Vigneau.) I joined a group of Wingo researchers back in 1998 to track the Wingo lineage ~ lineage goes back to the mid1600s preamerica. I've been told many times that my NA heritage is Cherokee(new information has surface that some of the Wingo branches my also be Shawnee.) It's not for me to say that Mrs. Warren is NA or not ~ but ~ I have been tracking my Native American Heritage for over thirty years, and for Mrs. Warren to pop up and claim she is Cherokee without more conculsive proof, as of now, makes my blood boil. With the explosion of information in the last thirty years and DNA testing now readily available ~ I really can't help to believe that there's not a political ploy behind it.

thechief's picture
thechief
Submitted by thechief on
I don't think you're living in reality. So, if I can some how trace my west african dna to a specific tribe in Ivory Coast or Sierra Leone they will make me a citizen of their country? I don't think it exactly works that way.

husbandofmoonlight's picture
husbandofmoonlight
Submitted by husbandofmoonlight on
I don't think you read the content of the message---try again.But I'll enhance for you. Whatever "tribe" YOU belong to presently here as a Native American is simply a matter of language and culture; YOU cannot prove your membership in that "tribe" by your DNA----so you could not "trace your DNA to any African Tribe"---- either----- Your--mine---any other members of any other DNA group cannot SHOW any "tribal" affiliations since "Tribe" is described and defined (see above)as "language, cultural---and not expressed in the DNA---even when the DNA such as African and Native American is "unique". "Tribes" in effect are "inventions of the members/participants"---DNA is a scientific viewing point for origins of natural composition. As for "living in reality"------how do YOU define "reality"---calling yourself a misnomer such as "Indian"-----or facing the facts? By the way the word "Chief" is a European word describing a "leader"--- if you are a leader---then the "most effective" leadership is that by example. Your "ignorance" of the "facts" is not an acceptable "example"----so; seek the facts/truth----then you will be a "leader" when you express them. Many Native Americans who formerly referred to themsleves as "FBI's" ("full blood indians") after receiving the "facts" that they contained, less than "full blood" DNA results---were forced to view themselves in an entirely different manner. It speaks well of you that you "sought the facts" by having your own DNA classified------try to find the information that those revelations contain and you will be empowered by the "truth"-----and loose your cynicism---. "Only the truth will make you free; but only if you know the truth" Thanks for your time. Husband of Moonlight

thechief's picture
thechief
Submitted by thechief on
I think you are over looking the fact that "tribes" have laws, constitutions, codes, and democracy. To simplify tribes to just a group of people that share culture and a language over simplifies things. For example, in my tribe we have different factions ie. mormons, christians, "traditionalists", NAC and other religious groups. We also have members that speak, spanish our native language and of course english. We all come from different walks of life but we are all members of our "tribe" and all participate in some way shape or form our government. if that means being the public works guy that picks up garbage or the merchant that pays sales tax to the government. So we are all very different but we also are all one people. I think this is where non-natives misunderstand being "indian", they think its only language and culture(going to powwows) but its takes much more to be a tribal member.

lindasimon's picture
lindasimon
Submitted by lindasimon on
Dear Wingo and others, There are so many red herrings in this non-issue about Elizabeth Warren's ancestry, it's easy to adopt complete falsehoods as fact. EW did not get a leg up in hiring or otherwise benefit from having some distant American Indian heritage. Period. I speak as a U.S. voter, not American Indian, but an ally of my local Indian communities in Massachusetts. My photo on this site is of an event I support. The ploy is Scott Brown's, set in motion to sow doubts about EW. That this ploy seems to be working is a sad commentary on the soap-opera quality of our political campaigns. Economic issues are hard to understand, but the tittilation of possible lying perks people up -- this is how I see it in Massachusetts. The media is playing into the hands of the Brown campaign -- where are our fair and independent-minded journalists!? I agree with EW on many issues. I also think she told the truth about the ancestry she believes she has. As EW says herself, she accepted her family's oral history. After the 1950s, when ethnic pride reached many zeniths, EW (and I, and many) found renewed interest and joy in our heritage. I have strong family indications, such as foreign names and stories, that I am a mix of middle eastern and european -- yet how would I prove that? I have no birth certificates of ancestors. The ICTMN says that EW is dodging requests for interviews. If that's so, keep pushing, but I wonder what else you have to ask her. Her position on her ancestry is plain, and she has restated it multiple times. As a Massachusetts voter, I am far more concerned about our economic floor falling away; confiscatory tax rates; the polarization of wealth and power; poverty, racism and equal rights. Thank you.

fslafountaine's picture
fslafountaine
Submitted by fslafountaine on
Whenever I do Google searches on Native authors/storytellers or Native American movie/actors, I get negative news articles about Elizabeth Warren and her Native American ancestry. Someone is paying Google to show these search results. Don't be taken in by rich Republican party donors and strategists. They want to divide and conquer. You will be next on their hit list if you a Native American.

mybuddyrobin's picture
mybuddyrobin
Submitted by mybuddyrobin on
exactly! Also, many Natives that could pass for white, did (my ancestors included)! In addition, in the west, many Native peoples inter-married with the Spanish/Mexican. So while I have Native heritage on both sides of my family, I cannot prove either. In the case of my mother's side (anglo) I cannot even find the tribe or people because it was hidden for so long. But photo's don't lie...family stories and traditions pass generation to generation. I only understood some of my family traditions once I discovered the Native heritage and learned the ways... now they make sense...as does my innate comfort with my Native brothers and sisters as well as the traditions!

mybuddyrobin's picture
mybuddyrobin
Submitted by mybuddyrobin on
thechief, I've read all of your comments and I see a conflict in your theory. Tribes and bloodline/heritage are NOT the same. At no point have I seen Ms. Warren claim tribal enrollment nor entitlement to it. What I see is like me, a woman who has native heritage of which she is proud. Why do you have the right over others to claim your heritage? I'm sure you can find another skin who has more pure bloodline than you...that doesn't make them more entitled. I personally see tribal rights and issues as completely separate and distinct from heritage. Your gggg grandfather as a son of this soil had no more rights or responsibilities than my gggg grandfather from this same turtle island. THAT is white man's words to divide us and steal our land and people from each other. I am naught but a 'drip-drop' ndn. I had my ancestors stolen from me...which in my mind is worse than stealing their land. I want to take nothing from my peoples. I want to learn the ways, and to give back to the children of the brave who stood up to be counted while mine didn't. I honor your ancestors for their bravery! I support tribal rights and holding this government and it's citizens accountable for all the broken treaties, stolen land, stolen monies, stolen childhoods and stolen ancestors. I believe ALL benefits and lands are to be given to the descendants of those who stood up for us all. BUT that does NOT mean that you or anyone else whether skin or white has the right to remove me from my ancestors. Or Ms. Warren from hers.

mybuddyrobin's picture
mybuddyrobin
Submitted by mybuddyrobin on
Perhaps she was jumped on for being so white and having no proof. I have faced that prejudice many times. It is a tough road to travel...being a mutt. I prayed long on it and was blessed to be reconnected with the ways. Through that I was able to hear my ancestors and their words to me was simply... You have nothing to prove to anyone. You know who we are and we know who you are and that is enough. Personally my journey has been into ndn country, but that doesn't mean hers has. I may list English and Spanish as 2 of my heritage lines...but it doesn't mean I eat fish and chips everyday or became a catholic. I am not proud to say one of my Spanish ancestors came with Onate the conquistador. He help to slaughter the Ute people who later his descendant married into..but he did and I have to acknowledge that. At least Ms. Warren acknowledges her heritage... more than most do. It is easier and more popular to brag about Irish heritage, or royal bloodlines! What true benefit does she gain? not much... seriously very little. Also don't forget.. rare is the day that a skin will acknowledge his/her heritage...their non-native ancestors, bad or good.

mybuddyrobin's picture
mybuddyrobin
Submitted by mybuddyrobin on
lame Flint. Nice to see another mutt stand up for who she is. I too am a mutt or as I say 'drip-drop ndn'. I have no proof. I need no proof. I know who my ancestors are, and they know me...that is enough. I take nothing from my people but try to give back when I can. I honor the traditions and am blessed to be able to pray the native way. The ancestors talk about the 7 generations. Where are all of the children of turtle island? Why are they not embraced? Why do we continue to let white man and English ideology define who we are? sigh... and yet the cherokee princess joke persists. It really does us ALL in ndn country a disservice!

mybuddyrobin's picture
mybuddyrobin
Submitted by mybuddyrobin on
Good for you for taking that time. I do have to say that even though that has been your passion doesn't mean that is everyone's. My passion was to learn the ways and traditions... and a little into geneology. My full blood sister, while acknowledging our Native heritage, chose instead to dive headlong into our Latino heritage...but that doesn't make her less Native than I. Also her darker complexion and more Ute looks doesn't make her more Ute than I. We all choose what is important to us...but doesn't take our heritage away from us.
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