Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Going 'Native': Why Are Americans Hijacking Cherokee Identity?


WASHINGTON — Bring up the subject of Native Americans to any group of Americans, and at least one person will claim to have a Cherokee ancestor, pointing to high cheekbones or straight dark hair as evidence. Chances are, there’s not a single Indian in his or her family tree.

Dubbed the “Cherokee Syndrome,” it is a growing trend in America: More than 819,000 Americans self-identified as Cherokee on the 2010 federal census, alone or mixed-race. By comparison, the combined population of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes — the Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee in Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina — amounts to fewer than 400,000.


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