Biography: Greg Sarris Ancestry


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NEW!  A CD containing the documents on Greg Sarris true ancestry is now available upon request, free of charge.  Just email your request to STC101.  Be sure to include your name and mailing address (which will be kept strictly confidential).

One Million-plus!!  Between October 1 and November 20, 2012,  1,007,785 people have seen the Greg Sarris ancestry post on our Facebook page, and it's gone viral.

"Some of the reasons people make false claims (of Native American blood) may be to gain access to resources, obtain a job or to have a voice. False claims are harmful because they allow the stealing of voice."     Zuni Cruz, professor of law at the University of New Mexico and member of the Isleta Pueblo.

"...Greg Sarris isn't telling the real story of our great-grandmother Reinette Stewart Sarragossa Morton.  I loved my great-grandmother, and I simply want people to know the truth…We’re not Indians.”

Velia Navarro's KSRO Interview

Declaration of Velia Navarro

Sarris YouTube video transcript

Family member reveals Greg Sarris is not an Indian:   A relative of Greg Sarris, chairman of the Federated Indian of Graton Rancheria (FIGR) and Native American author who holds the Native American Studies Chair at Sonoma State University, has contacted us to confirm that the family line Sarris claims to have Indian blood has none at all.  STC101 did not solicit this information in any way.  
For almost three decades, Sarris has declared that “Reinette Smith”, the woman he claims to be his great grandmother, was the daughter of famous Pomo Indian medicine man Tom Smith of Sonoma County and a Native American woman named Emily Stewart of Marin County who had both Pomo and Coast Miwok blood.  Sarris even submitted a genealogical chart to the federal government with this information as proof that he was a Native American of Coast Miwok and Pomo blood. Sarris was adopted at birth, but believes his biological father to be Emilio HIlario, Jr., the grandson of Reinette.

Now 68 year old Velia Navarro, Sarris’ third cousin and herself the great granddaughter of Reinette, has exposed Sarris’ claims to Native American ancestry as false.  Ms. Navarro states categorically that Reinette, who was born Reinette Stewart and died Reinette Morton, was “… Irish, Scottish and German…(whose) parents were from Maine and Pennsylvania.”

"We're not Indians"  In her sworn Declaration (link above), Mrs. Navarro explains why she chose to come forward, saying, “I am choosing to speak out at this time because Greg Sarris isn't telling the real story of our great-grandmother Reinette Stewart Sarragossa Morton.  I loved my great-grandmother, and I simply want people to know the truth…We’re not Indians.”

Read Ms. Navarro's sworn Declaration using the link above. (Note: Ms. Navarro has asked that her signature not be displayed publicly to  protect her against any potential identity theft.  A signed copy can be made available to members of the Press and/or legal counsel upon request.)


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GREG SARRIS, noted Native American author and Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria hold the Chair in Native American Studies at Sonoma State University.  He claims to be not only of Coast Miwok and Pomo blood, but also the descendant of a famous medicine man, Tom Smith.  But records dating back 140 years clearly show he has no Native American blood. Greg Sarris's real family tree now (as of May 8, 2010) has 80 historical citations to support it.  Solid research has led to the truth about Greg Sarris ancestry.  There is absolutely no Coast Miwok or Pomo blood in this famiy line. and no evidence of any other Native American blood, either.  This is the real Greg Sarris biography, as confirmed by his own cousin during numerous conversations with STC101.
Wnat to see the documents for yourself?  Email us!  Put "Ancestry" in the subject line.


Records show that Mr. Sarris is not the great-great grandson of Tom Smith and Smith's girl friend, Emily Stewart, an Indian from Marin County..  He is the great-great grandson of Joseph P. Stewart, a barber born in Pennsylvania and Emily B. Stewart, who was born in Maine.

It is impossible not to sympathize with the circumstances of Mr. Sarris' birth. He was born in 1952 in Santa Rosa, California to an unwed 17 year old girl, Mary Bernadette "Bunny" Hartman, who died a few days later. His birth certificate lists Hartman as the mother but does not identify the father. The baby was adopted by George and Mary Sarris of Santa Rosa.

Mr. Sarris makes no claim of Native American ancestry on his birth mother's side. Rather, despite the uncertainty of his actual birth father, and despite the fact that according to Mr. Sarris himself, his birth mother claimed a Mexican boy to be the father of her child, Mr. Sarris claims Native American ancestry on his presumed birth father's side. In particular, Mr. Sarris asserts that his birth father was Emilio Hilario (1930-1983), who appears to have lived his entire life in southern California. More specifically, Mr. Sarris' entire claim of Native American ancestry rests on the maternal grandmother of Emilio Hilario (purportedly Mr. Sarris' great-grandmother), named, according to Mr. Sarris, "Reinette Smith Sargossa". The chart entitled "Genealogies of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Tom Smith Family #17, #284, page 2 of 2", dated 8/7/99, and prepared by Sylvia B. Thalman, asserts that Reinette Smith Sarrgossa was "5/8 Coast Miwok/Pomo", and was the daughter of Tom Smith of Pomo and Coast Miwok ancestry, and Emily Stewart, resident of Tomales Bay who was ½ Coast Miwok. All were presumed to be natives of the Marin County and Sonoma County area.

Despite the lack of evidence, for the purpose of this analysis, let us assume that Mr. Sarris' birth father was Emilio Hilario.

1880 Census Detail - Stewart Family, Eureka, CA

The historical record reveals that a Reinette Sarrgossa did exist, and that she was almost certainly the maternal grandmother of Emilio Hilario. However, Reinette Sarrgossa's maiden name was Stewart, not Smith, and her parents were born on the East Coast. Reinette Stewart Sarrgossa was born in 1881 - 1884, probably in Eureka, California. We turn now to the historical record of Reinette's family, the family of Joseph P. Stewart, a barber born in Pennsylvania.

The 1870 United States Census.

The 1870 Census reveals that Joseph P. Stewart, age 26, and his wife Emily, age 23, were living in Brooklyn in Alameda County, California. Joseph P. Stewart, a barber, is shown as having been born in Pennsylvania; Emily Stewart as having been born in Maine. They have two children: Amanda, age 4, and Emily, age 2.

The 1880 United States Census.

The 1880 Census reveals that Joseph P. Stewart, age 37, and his wife, Emily B. Stewart, age 32, were living on D Street in Eureka, California. Joseph Stewart, a barber, had been born in Pennsylvania; Emily Stewart had been born in Maine. They are living with their five children, including Amanda, age 14, Emily age 12, Mary (sp?) age 8, James H. age 6., and Bertha age 2 Reinette had not yet been born.

The 1890 United States Census.

The 1890 Census is not available because the records were destroyed in a fire in 1921. A so-called "census substitute", the Los Angeles City Directory for 1888 to 1890 shows Joseph P. Stewart in 1888, working as a barber in Leon Bineuad's barber shop on S. Brooklyn Street near Figueroa. That the family had moved to Los Angeles is later confirmed in subsequent census rolls.

The 1900 United States Census.

In 1900 we find William and Amanda (Stewart) Strange, husband and wife, living on Buena Vista Street in the city of Los Angeles. Amanda matches with the Amanda Stewart living in Eureka in 1880; in the 1900 Census she is 35 years old, her father's place of birth is listed as Pennsylvania and her mother's place of birth is listed as Maine. Also living in the Strange household are Reinette Stewart, age 19, and Alice Stewart, age 17. As with Amanda, for both Reinette and Alice, Pennsylvania is listed as the father's birthplace and Maine is listed as the mother's birthplace. The age of Amanda coincides with the earlier records on the Stewart family. The inescapable conclusion is that Amanda's younger sisters were living with the family.

Emily B. Stewart is shown as age 52, widowed and living in Port Hueneme in Ventura County (north of Los Angeles) with her son James H. Stewart, age 24. Again, the birthplaces and ages of Emily B. and James H. shown are consistent with the Joseph P. Stewart family history going back to 1870.


NOTE:  You may have difficulty getting the PDF files of the 1910 and 1920 census to open with your browser. This seems to be happening with Internet Explorer.  We'll be contactng our web server to try to resolve this issue.  If you would like to view these two records in the meantime, either try Firefox, or email us and we'll send you an invitation to where these records and all the other records can be easily viewed.  Thank you for your patience.

1910 Census

1920 Census

The 1910 United States Census.

In 1910, Arthur and Reinette Sarrgossa, husband and wife, are living in Los Angeles County with their two children, Juanita, age 7, and Albert, age 2. Arthur shows his birthplace as Florida. Also shown as living with the family is Emily Stewart, listed as mother in law. Again, Emily's place of birth is listed as Maine and Reinette's father's birthplace is listed as Pennsylvania, consistent with the 1870 and 1880 census records for the Joseph P. Stewart family. Emily Stewart's age is listed as 59.

The 1920 United States Census.

In 1920, Arthur and Reinette Sarrgossa are still living together as husband and wife, and are still in Los Angeles, now with three children, Juanita, age 16, Albert age 11, and Evelyn, age 8. Evelyn's age is consistent with a 1911 birth year which is the birth year of Emilio Hilario's mother as shown on the U.S. Social Security Death Index. Also listed in the Sarrgossa household is Emily B. Stewart, age 73, listed as "Grandmother in law". Emily B.'s birthplace is listed as Maine. Reinette's father's birthplace is listed as Pennsylvania, and her mother's is listed as Maine. This is consistent with the census rolls for the Joseph P. Stewart family beginning in 1870. Arthur's birthplace is listed as Florida.

The 1930 United States Census,

In April, 1930, Evelyn, age 18, is shown living in Los Angeles as husband and wife with a man named Emiliano Hilario, who immigrated to the United States in 1927. Evelyn's age is consistent with a 1911 birth year and with the age of the Evelyn Sarrgossa shown in the 1920 census. Evelyn's birthplace is listed as California, her mother's birthplace is listed as California, and her father's birthplace is listed as Florida. Emilio's place of birth is shown as the Philippines, which is consistent with the record and Mr. Sarris' public statements. Because the 1940 census details will not be released until 2012-2013, from here we must turn to other public records.

Immigration Records and the California Birth and Death indices.

The Seattle Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1957 show Emiliano Hilario entering the United States from the Philippines on July 4, 1927. Both the Social Security Death Index and the California Death Index show Irvine, a community near Laguna Beach, CA, as his last residence. Both the California Death Index and the Social Security Death Index provide more than adequate proof of the Hilario family line, including the birth of Emilio Hilario. That Evelyn Sarrgossa was the mother of Emilio Hilario is indisputable. This is supported by Emilio's birth record showing "Sarragossa" (a common variant or misspelling of "Sarrgossa") as the mother's maiden name. The death indices place Emilio, Emiliano and Evelyn all in the Laguna Beach area prior to their deaths. This is consistent with Mr. Sarris' public statements that the Hilario family lived finally in Laguna Beach, CA. The birth dates shown in the death records are consistent with earlier records on file.

The man Greg Sarris claims to be his birth father, Emilio Arthur Hilario, was born on June 1, 1930, in Los Angeles. Eight years later, the Evelyn and Emiliano had a second child, Arturo Victor Hilario, also born in Los Angeles.

Emiliano Hlario Miscellaneous Records

Evelyn Sarrgossa Hilario Miscellaneous Records

1920 Census showing Evelyn & sister Juanita along
with Reintette & grandmother Emily B. Stewart

RECENTLY DISCOVERED DOCUMENTS: As adds new records, we've been finding more documents proving Reinette Stewart's real heritage, and disproving the outrageous lies Greg Sarris has told about her.  Check the links below to see what more we've found.  

Jos. P. Stewart Voter Registration Roll, Anaheim, CA 1886

Albert Birth Record

Albert WWII Enlistment Record

Albert Death Record

The Public Statements of Greg Sarris.

These records could be dismissed as merely coincidental but for the utterances of Mr. Sarris himself that reveal unequivocally that this is not two families with superficial similarities but is instead one family, the Joseph P. Stewart family, with records dating back 140 years. In his public statements about his paternity, Mr. Sarris mixes fact with conjecture. For example, the record is devoid of any suggestion that Evelyn and Juanita, the eldest Sarrgossa girl, were born and raised anywhere other than Los Angeles. Mr. Sarris states, again in Mabel McKay, that Evelyn was from Sonoma County. Also in Mabel McKay, he describes his version of how Evelyn Sarrgossa met Emiliano Hilario as follows:

" (Violet)‘So how did your grandmother meet your grandfather?'

(Sarris)"'She (Evelyn) left here (Sonoma County) to go live with her sister Juanita, in L.A. She met Grandpa (Emiliano Hilario) there. He'd only been off the boat a year or so.'"

This statement is important for it confirms the existence of Evelyn's sister Juanita in Mr. Sarris' claimed paternal line and it confirms that the Arthur Sarrgossa family shown in the 1920 census is the family connected with Emilio Hilario.

More recently, in a 2008 lecture on tracing family roots that is available on YouTube , Mr. Sarris names his paternal great-grandmother Reinette's three children, Juanita, Albert and Evelyn. This can be found at the 38:00 minutes mark. In this video, Mr. Sarris makes the remarkable statement that the three children were born in San Francisco, shipped off to the Sherman School for Indians, and then all ran away to Los Angeles where they married. Although all of this story is sheer fabrication on Mr. Sarris' part,  by naming Evelyn's sister Juanita and brother Albert, Mr. Sarris has provided evidence in his own words that this is not two separate families we are discussing. It is the same family line of Joseph P. and Emily B. Stewart that has now been conclusively traced back to the 1870's, one that has no Coast Miwok or Pomo blood. (See Velia A. Navarro's Sworn Declaration, icluding her comments on the YouTube video, and the YouTube transcript using the links above)

Indeed, the historical record is devoid of any other Reinette Sarrgossa with daughters Evelyn and Juanita at all in the appropriate locale and time frame.

The 1920 Census is essentially conclusive in and of itself.  There can be no real dispute but that 8 year old Evelyn Sarrgossa is the future mother of Emilio Hilario, Mr. Sarris' claimed birth father.  And here is Evelyn, living with her mother Reinette, whose own parents are shown as being born in Pennsylvania and Maine, and also with her maternal grandmother, Emily B. Stewart, who is shown as being born in Maine.  It goes without saying that it is highly unlikely that any members of the Pomo or Coast Miwok were having children in Pennsylvania or Maine by the 1840's, nor does Mr. Sarris claim this in any of the many public statements he has made regarding Emilio Hilario. He claims only that Evelyn's place of origin was the Sonoma-Marin, CA area.

Over and over again, the record shows a family line easily traced. Perhaps there was an Emily Stewart in Tomales Bay who was ½ Coast Miwok, perhaps not. Regardless, the record is clear: it was a distinctly non-Indian (or at least non-Coast Miwok or Pomo) Emily B. Stewart of Maine who was the great-grandmother of Emilio Hilario, the man Greg Sarris claims to be his father. 

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Excerpts from Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream, by Greg Sarris, University of California Press, 1994

Who watched this story in 2010?  Everyone!  Our web site received over 10,000 hits between the mass news release of this information on February 11, 2010 and February 20, 2010.     Big East Native Social Network  Eastmans Online Genealogy 

And a number of Native chat rooms. Our thanks to the many Native Americans who took the time to phone and email us to let us know that they appreciate the service we've done the Native American community in releasing the Sarris information.

Read the story at  Capitol Weekly  The Press Democrat

  Graton Casino Crime Watch, Rohnert Park, CA
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