Elizabeth Warren is a law professor at Harvard Law School who should know better than to misrepresent herself in order to obtain preferential treatment, but evidently it didn’t stop her. She is also running for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts once held by Edward Kennedy and now held by Republican Sen Scott Brown.
Warren appears from outward appearance to be more European than American Indian. However, from 1986 through 1995, she claimed to be American Indian in order to obtain minority status as a Harvard law professor. During that ten year period, the professional law school directory had Warren listed as an American Indian.
I do know a family who are of Cherokee descent as the mother was full blooded Indian. She had the long beautiful black hair and high cheek bones typical of a true Cherokee. Her daughters and grandchildren also have the same hair and facial features that mom has. When I think of them and how much the third generation have the Cherokee look and then look at Elizabeth Warren, I quickly conclude that there can’t be enough Indian blood in her to fill a thimble, let alone qualify her as a minority.
Recently, her Indian status has been questioned by Brown’s campaign. At first, Warren tried to deny ever claiming to be a minority until she could no longer dismiss the evidence that surfaced. Warren then endeavored to turn the attack back on Brown by claiming his accusations were sexist and was part of the Republican War on Women. Her campaign manager said,
“If Scott Brown has questions about Elizabeth Warren’s well-known qualifications, he ought to ask them directly instead of hiding behind the nasty insinuations of his campaign and trying to score political points. Once again, the qualifications and ability of a woman are being called into question by Scott Brown, who did the same thing with the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan. It’s outrageous.”
When this didn’t work, she then played the family tradition card that she had always been told that she was part Cherokee in an attempt to slough it all off. But that was not enough to placate those who were questioning her integrity on the issue.
Why is it that so many people in the US claim to be part Cherokee and not part Apache, Sioux, Crow, Navaho, Nez Perce, Comanche, Seminole, Iroquois or any of the dozens of Indians tribes that inhabited America? As a matter of fact, I also grew up hearing that I was part Cherokee, but I did some research and discovered that there is not a drop of Indian blood that runs through my veins and I suspect the same would be true for at least half to three quarters of the people that claim to be part Cherokee.
When Warren’s accusers did not go away, Warren’s staff members began to franticly search the genealogical records for evidence that would exonerate their leader. One report they found suggests that Warrens great, great, great, grandmother was supposed to be a certified Cherokee and another report claiming that her great, great, grandfather lived on a Cherokee reservation, but it did not say if he was Indian or not.
I know people today that live on Indian reservations that are not of Indian descent and none of them claim to be Indian nor do they claim that their association with Indians make them one.
A number of American Indians have taken strong exception of Warren’s minority claim. Among them is Suzan Shown Harjo, former director of the National Congress of American Indians. In response to the news of Warren’s ten year minority claim, Harjo said,
“If you believe you are these things then that’s fine and dandy, but that doesn’t give you the right to claim yourself as Native American.”
My question to Massachusetts voters is, ‘Do you really want someone who knowingly misrepresents herself to represent you? If she can’t honestly represent herself, what makes you think she will honestly represent you?’ I hope and pray you seriously ponder these questions before you go to the polls in November.