Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker has been saying for months that he is part Native American, but he stepped up the claim at a campaign stop in Forsyth on Sept. 28, telling his supporters he's quarter Cherokee, HuffPost noted Wednesday evening. "My mom just told me that my mom, grandmother, was full-blood Cherokee," Walker said. "So I'm Native American!"
Walker told supporters June 20 that he found out from a 23 and Me test that he's "part Native American" and wanted to be sure to "acknowledge all of my family." His campaign did not respond to HuffPost's request for comment or evidence about his claims to be part Native American or quarter Cherokee, so HuffPost says it "went directly to the source of Walker's claims: his mother."
Walker's mother, Christine Walker, told HuffPost on Wednesday that she grew up hearing stories that her paternal grandmother was "kin to Cherokee," and "I don't know how far back" her Cherokee ancestry went. Her grandmother died when she "was quite young," Christine Walker explained. "I don't know too much about how she was connected."
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"Lots of Americans think they have Cherokee ancestry despite not being able to point directly to a Cherokee in their family tree," HuffPost's Jennifer Bendery writes. But making that claim on the campaign trail can be fraught. Cherokee Nation told HuffPost it has no record of Walker in its database of citizens.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) backed up her familial story about Native American ancestry by releasing a blood test in 2018, but she apologized, repeatedly, after facing blowback from Cherokee Nation and other Native American groups. "Republicans criticized and mocked Warren over it for years, with former President Donald Trump repeatedly and offensively referring to her as 'Pocahontas,'" HuffPost recounts. He also thanked Cherokee Nation for "revealing" her to be a "complete and total fraud."
Trump, who pushed Walker to run and — like other GOP leaders — has stood by him through credible allegations of spousal and child abuse and out-of-wedlock children and paying for an abortion, presumably won't tag him with a dismissive nickname. On the other hand, Walker has a penchant for making puzzling comments on the campaign trail, as The Late Show highlighted Wednesday night, and his race against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) is still tight.
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