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Cherokee Nation Members Start Online Effort Against Elizabeth Warren

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, June 1 2012

Self-described members of the Cherokee Nation have begun an online effort critical of Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's controversial claims of Native American heritage, as was first reported by The Republican in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In a blog post, supporters of the effort Cherokees Demand Truth from Elizabeth Warren write that "our mission is to help people understand what a real Cherokee is and to show why Elizabeth Warren claiming to be Cherokee without proof is harmful and offensive to us."

The group links to a 2009 YouTube video criticizing the phenomenon of "fraudulent groups" wrongly claiming to be a part of a Cherokee tribe without federal recognition.

"This is not a political issue to us. We don’t care if Elizabeth Warren is a Democrat, Republican, or an Independent. We do care, though, if she goes around claiming to be Cherokee and has tried to benefit from that claim," one of the organizers writes in another blog post. "While the federally recognized tribes have very specific criteria their members must meet in order to be enrolled or registered, there is no consistent criterion for membership into the fraudulent groups. Many members of these fraudulent groups base their claim of Cherokee ancestry on the same thing Ms. Warren bases hers on … family lore."

One of the main organizers of the effort's website and Facebook group, Twila Barnes, an amateur Cherokee genealogist in Missouri, told The Republican that her group "would like Elizabeth Warren to acknowledge that her family story isn't true."

While the Facebook group now has over 700 members, the Lowell Sun had reported earlier that local Massachusetts Native Americans had defended Warren and noted that there was no evidence she had tried to benefit from the background she claims.

Still, the effort critical of Warren is calling for a protest outside the Massachusetts state Democratic convention this weekend.

Those plans have already attracted the the attention of her conservative opponents, who are also encouraging their supporters to hijack #WarrenDelegate, a Warren campaign hashtag for the convention.

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