Cherokee Gadfly to Protest Democratic State Convention

“If ancestor stealing was a crime, you would be #1 on the Genealogical Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted List!

–Twila Barnes

For confusion’s sake, Eric Fehrnstrom and the Boston Herald chose well. When it comes to Cherokees, heritage issues are as arcane as they are contentious. Active, partisan disputes in the Cherokee Nation, many of which revolve around genealogy, are intense, and it is not surprising that the right-wing has found two Cherokee gadflies, Twila Barnes and David Cornsilk, to legitimize their smear of the Elizabeth Warren. There is no indication that they support a particular party, but there is ample evidence to show each has a well-defined agenda.

For all American Indians, tribal membership can often be a matter of debate. In some tribes, membership is determined by blood quantum, the degree of ancestry of an individual. Some tribes, for example, require members to have a minimum of one great-grandparent for membership. For the Cherokee Nation, however, the only ancestors that count are those that can be traced to the Dawes Rolls, a sort of census used to allot land to some Indians in place of reservations. Theoretically, a person could be have two Cherokee parents, but if she is unable to trace their ancestry back to the Dawes Rolls, they don’t qualify as Cherokee.

One ongoing Cherokee controversy involving tribal citizenship concerns the Cherokee Freedmen–descendants of African American slaves and their Cherokee masters. After the Civil War, the Cherokee Freedmen were made citizens of the Cherokee Nation in accordance with a treaty made with the United States government; however, in the 1980s, the Cherokee Nation itself amended its citizenship rules and required direct descent from an ancestor listed in the “Cherokee By Blood” section of the Dawes Rolls.

Aside from genealogical issues, there are internecine political battles between factions. Twila Barnes, a Breitbart favorite, has been involved in protesting the eligibility of tribal candidates in Cherokee Nation elections. Along with blogger David Cornsilk, Barnes has formed a group to challenge Warren’s heritage claims. They plan to protest at the Democratic State Convention.

Ms. Barnes genealogical beliefs are controversial, and she has an agenda. Her blog Thoughts from Polly’s Granddaughter has 42 posts dedicated to the topic of wannabes, people who want to claim Cherokee ancestry but aren’t truly of Cherokee descent. She also alludes to her blog, if not her contributions on’s American Indian forum, being banned from the The reason for the banning: racism.

On her blog, Barnes also accuses wannabes of genocide, paper genocide, that is:

Though there are no dead bodies laying around.., there are still attempts at genocide against the Cherokees going on today. It is what I call paper genocide. Instead of killing us outright, they are now trying to erase our Indian ancestors from history and replace them with their white ancestors. By doing so, not only do they get rid of that particular Indian, they also get rid of all of his descendants and replace those descendants with those of the white man.

In addition to her involvement in intra-tribal affairs, Ms. Barnes filed suit in Oklahoma Federal Court. Her daughter had joined her high school’s wrestling team in 2010, they were featured in  an article. A year later, she sued the school for the sexual and racial harassment on the wrestling team. The suit is here. It certainly sounds serious enough, and I can’t help feeling bad for her kids at any rate. There have been no followups to the story.

And if you can believe this prayer request, her husband’s in jail, and she had filed for divorce. Her website, however, says she’s happily married to a career military man.

Recommended by kloechner, kbusch, mski011.


19 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. No different than Lyndon LaRouche's wankers.

    Can we say wankers here?

    If not, sorry!

    Every year, I give no notice or NO respect to the Lyndon LaRouche’s wankers and I will have no problem crossing this picket line either. I am so sick of this stupidity.

    • I saw some LaRouchies at the local Cumberland Farms the other day

      They were set up in the parking lot, complete with the “Obama with Hitler mustache” pictures. I called the corporate HQ and suggested they call the store and ask them to move along – not the brand I’d want my business associated with! Sean Bielat’s supporters were outside Milford’s last town meeting a couple of weeks ago, along with some LaRouchies – wisely, Bielat’s guys were keeping their distance from them!

      All delegates crossing their picket line should sing the Hallelujah Chorus at them…

  2. Twila Barnes...

    …sounds like the Cherokee equivalent of Orly Taitz!

  3. LaRouche candidate

    Karen Brown spoke at out town committee meeting. Her first sentence: “As we all know, Prseident Obama is a Nazi.”

    She never got to her second sentence.

  4. Congratulations!

    You’ve received an attack from Rob “Master of Surreality” Eno!

  5. Wow, I've made the big time.

    I thought I was pretty fair. Just facts. Everything sourced. I left the bad stuff down at the bottom.

    Oh my, what will Howie say?

    • You should be so lucky!

      The only BMGer ever to have been publicly mentioned by The Great And Powerful Howard Carr, to my knowledge, is Ernie Boch III during l’affaire Boch. I had forgotten how good that particular episode was. :D

    • Rob Eno is not concerned with facts,

      Like all tools of the Republican Party, he’s concerned with narrative.

      Facts don’t fit into his narrative, but any singular person(s) who fit it will suddenly be the uber credible sources who prove whatever he wants to say… instead of outliers or people with axes to grind.

      When the Cherokee people, as an entity, vote Elizabeth Warren off the island… then maybe it will deserve some credence. But even then, it won’t prove anything other than the fact that Elizabeth Warren’s grandmother was wrong about her family’s history.

      And, chances are, no one will be able to prove – beyond a shadow of a doubt – whether or not that will ever be the case, because the Cherokees as a people were brutalized and terrorized and little documentation remains from those days.

      So, Rob, if you’re reading this… stop being a hack, or admit the fact that Scott Brown will *never* be able to win on the issues average families are most concerned with.

      RyansTake   @   Thu 31 May 6:50 PM
    • A useful post, I thought

      Interesting and surprising just how contested Cherokee heritage is.

  6. Much ado about nothing

    Elizabeth Warren never touted she was card carrying member of the Cherokee Tribe, in fact, quite the opposite. She mentions these roots as heritage, a true statement. Nowhere has she stated she lived her life in anything resembling a tribal context. She is just proud that the United States can at times people assimilate to demonstrate our diversity while being a unified citizenry. Of course still a work in progress but it seems a laudable goal for this country.

    • All's well that ends well

      The much-esteemed Herald of Louisedayhicksville closes this file with the customary show of fairembalance:

      Plans for a Cherokee protest outside the arena fizzled out, with only three people braving a late morning downpour to blast Warren’s unsubstantiated claim to Native American heritage.

      “I think the rain had a lot to do with it,” said one woman who refused to give her name or hometown, “and there were only two days’ notice.”

      Happy days.

  7. Find another candidate at convention.

    I think this would be different, but she’s not a senator already, in fact she hasn’t been elected to anything, so the voters are probably not going to take a chance on her.

    Marisa DeFranco looks like a pretty bad candidate. The Dems should find a way to get somebody else on the ballot through the convention.

  8. Anyone else notice the Google ads on this post?

    Right now, it’s offering me a handy DNA paternity test kit…

  9. If ancestor stealing was a crime, you would be #1 on the Genealogical Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted List! –Twila Barnes

    But it is a crime isn’t it? I mean, if I gain in employment or special consideration because I claim I am part of a minority group by ancestry and I’m not, I am breaking the law, correct?

    And yet no one is under arrest in this case. No one is under investigation. So I guess…no laws were broken.

    Sucks for the Herald

  10. I heard that three Cherokee

    protesters showed up, but I didn’t see them. Larouchies were also absent, perhaps because they’ve got their ideal Congress already, and they don’t want to be greedy.

    • The three protesters weren't actually Native Anerican per NECN

      They were tea party types carrying signs refencing their faux Cherokee outrage.

  11. Tea Partiers pretending to be Indians

    Finally, they get something right about the original Tea Party!:)

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