Matthew’s Cherokee Heritage

Matthew & Kate Scraper on their wedding day.
Dr. Randy & Wanda Scraper
Robert & Vida Scraper
Frank & Bessie Scraper with Children
Capt. Arch Scraper

I have a wonderfully diverse family, made up of ancestors from around the world…

The vast majority of the Citizens who live within our At-Large District share that distinction. My primary ethnic identifications are Cherokee, Scottish, Irish, and Norse. Amateur genealogy being a hobby of mine, I would LOVE to tell you their stories. However, for my purposes here, I’ll focus on my Cherokee heritage. You can learn more about that, and about me, below.

I am registered as 1/16 Cherokee with the Cherokee Nation. You can read my bio here.

My father, The Rev. Dr. Randy L. Scraper (⅛ Cherokee) is an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church, now retired. He is a graduate of Baker University, 1971, Bachelor of Music Education degree. His graduate work includes a Master of Arts in Theology degree from Oral Roberts University, 1978; a Master of Divinity degree from St. Paul’s School of Theology, 1980; a Doctor of Ministry degree from Oral Roberts University, 1984 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Graduate Theological Foundation, 2008. He has done additional graduate work at Asbury Theological Seminary. Dr. Scraper is an accredited member of the International Association of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis at the Viktor Frankl Institute in Vienna, Austria. In the Fall of 1968, 

Rober Dale Scraper (1923-2007). My grandfather was ¼ Cherokee. Robert Dale “Bob” Scraper was born July 31, 1923 near Asherville, Kansas and died March 28, 2007 at the Hiawatha Community Hospital where he had been a patient since late February. Bob was the first of two children born to Joseph Franklin and Bessie Ruth (Dickie) Scraper. He graduated from Asherville High School in 1942. Bob served with the 427th Field Artillery Battalion of the US Army during World War II from 1943 to 1946. He served an18 month tour in the Philippines before being discharged with the rank of Tech
SGT, fourth class. Bob spent most of his working career in agriculture related fields. In 1963 he started Mid-America Testing Service, a company which serviced and repaired electronic moisture testers used in grain elevators. Bob retired in 1985.

Joseph Franklin Scraper (1899-1967). My great grandfather was ½ Cherokee. The son of a Trail of Tears survivor, he was born on the family allotment in Scraper Hollow, just outside of Tahlequah. A dispute over the inheritance of his father’s property found he and his brother following his mother to Kansas shortly after his father’s passing. “Frank” (as he was called) would make a life for himself farming just outside of Beloit, Kansas, where my grandfather would eventually be born.

Archibald Scraper (1816-1904). My great, great grandfather was a full blood Cherokee with an honorable legacy of service within the Cherokee Nation. One of the original members of the Keetoowah Nighthawk Society, “Arch,” (as he was known) would not only survive the Trail of Tears but he also served as a delegate to Washington representing the Cherokee Nation in 1865, 1867, 1868, and 1869. He would continue to serve our people as a representative of the Goingsnake District in 1869 and 1870 as well as an Associate Justice of the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court in 1877. Archibald would likewise serve as Director of Public Schools during the Zeke Proctor trial which was convened at his home in Scraper Hollow. As if that were not enough, Arch also distinguished himself by serving honorably in Col. John Drew’s Regiment during the U.S. Civil War. 


The Scraper (ᏗᏑᎦᏍᎩ) (1780-1854). My 3x great grandfather is the man with whom our family’s surname originates. In early 2020, I took a pilgrimage to the site of his home, originally called “Scraper Mountain” in northeast Alabama. You can read more about that journey here. Scraper served with Major Ridge in the Creek War of 1812.

“I’m not half Japanese and half Lithuanian Jewish. When I’m singing a Japanese folk song, I don’t sing with half my voice, but with my whole voice. When I’m taping together my grandparents’ Jewish marriage contract, worn by time but still resilient, it’s not half of my heart that is moved, but my whole heart. I am complete and I embody layers of identities that belong together. I am made of layers, not fractions.”

Yumi Tomsha

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