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African-Native American Research Forum Archive

Re: Why Must We Be Wannabees?


A word of caution. You harp on the many depredations suffered by the Cherokee so much and so often in your posts that it has become not much more than a tired litany, and that's too bad. Some might even construe from what you say that these are the elements that define the Cherokee.

In fact, two centuries of slavery, along with loss of languages, cultures, and homeland are not defining for African Americans. The Holocaust is not defining for Jews. People can "become" African American without their ancestors having paid "dues." Obama has... People can convert to Judaism.

On another matter, genealogy is not science. It's not much more than a string of plausibility arguments. The only real science in genealogy just appeared recently with the rapid advances in DNA sequencing, which had as its initial phase the sequencing of the human genome and even this science is clearly in its nascent stage.

Sometimes there is documentation, scribbled by someone, to support the genealogist's plausibility arguments. Sometimes there's only oral tradition. Most of human history depends on oral history or oral history that was written down decades or hundreds of years after the fact. If someone wants to believe their oral history, why not let them do it? It's not going to get them into the Cherokee Nation. Your sanctuary is not really threatened. Their proclamations don't threaten the Cherokee Nation, because the vast majority of Americans know nothing about tribal sovereignty and don't care. It's all mythology to them one way or the other. They can't even find Oklahoma on the map and they are not going to rise up and force the people you describe as wannabes into your nation.

As you know, I've been an amateur genealogist for two decades, but I understand the difference between the nature of genealogical research and the research carried out by a biologist or a mathematician, which I am professionally. If someone has a "story" let them have it. You'll still have your "authenticity," recognized by the USA. And I do write that last bit recognizing the irony.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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