Watch CBS News

Keller @ Large: Cherokee Genealogy Expert Challenging Warren's Claims

BOSTON (CBS) - An expert in Cherokee genealogy is headed to Boston to challenge Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's ancestry claims.

Read: More From Jon Keller

While this is not the first time the expert has challenged a public figure's claims of native-American heritage, the circumstances of her trip here, which just so happens to revive an issue the Warren people had hoped was behind them, are not free of partisan fingerprints.

"If somebody as high-profile as Elizabeth Warren can get away with that, then all the others will expect to do that as well," said Cherokee genealogist Twyla Barnes of Missouri. "She has no affiliation with a tribe and no history. It's offensive."

Barnes writes a blog tracking Cherokee genealogy, and is on a crusade against those who falsely claim it, which she claims includes the likes of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, pop singer Miley Cyrus and Cher.

The Scott Brown campaign says they have nothing to do with the Barnes visit.

However, she's being helped with media outreach by Cornell law professor William Jacobson, a conservative blogger who has given money to Brown in the past and is an unabashed supporter of the senator.

A Warren campaign surrogate is skeptical.

"If this is not the work of a Brown operative, it's the first time in this discussion it isn't," said Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh. "I'm sure Scott Brown's happy about it because all he wants to do is change the topic off of his voting record."

While they claim they have nothing to do with the Barnes visit, Brown staffers do plan to meet with her once she arrives.

The Warren camp says they'll consider meeting with Barnes. Barnes said she may just show up at their front door if they refuse to do so.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.