Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker boldly claimed in January during a campaign rally at the University of Georgia that he had just learned through his mother that he is “40 percent Native American.”
The former NFL player repeated the assertion multiple times in the months that followed, each time adding a fresh twist and claiming to have just learned of it.
According to Jennifer Bendery of HuffPost, Walker claimed to be “proud to be Black but… I may not be Black” because he had just learned “my mother is part Native American” at a south Georgia meet-and-greet in the same month. Walker also described himself as “other” and said he found out “a year and a half ago” at another May event. Similar assertions were made by him, but he added that he discovered the information through a 23andMe ancestry test during a June 20 campaign event in College Park. “I don’t care what color you are,” Walker said after stating he wanted to “acknowledge all of my family.”
At a campaign event last month, he made his most audacious declaration yet, claiming that his grandmother was “full-blood Cherokee.”
“My mom just told me… so I’m Native American. I was like, ‘Oh, hello,’” he said, describing himself as a “super mutt.” Speaking on stage to his supporters at the Sept. 28 event in Forsyth, he said: “I don’t know what I am, but this was so funny. This was so funny. I said, ‘Mom, why you never said anything to us?’ She said, ‘Back in my days, a lot of the Native Americans were treated worse than Blacks.’”
Walker and his team have not shown any proof for their assertions, and so far, Bendery’s research has not turned up any connections between Walker and the Native American community.
The largest of the three federally recognized tribes in the United States, Cherokee Nation, informed HuffPost that Walker was not listed in its database. Both the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians declined to comment when HuffPost requested them to do so.
Christine, Walker’s mother, told the website that she was unsure as to whether an immediate ancestor was a true-blooded Cherokee.
She explained that “her grandmother was believed to be related to Cherokee peoples in some way, but she didn’t know how.” She told HuffPost that “I don’t know how far back” the family’s Cherokee heritage went. “See, my grandmother, she passed when I was quite young. I don’t know too much about how she was connected.”
When reached again for the comment, the Walker campaign remained silent.