Saturday, June 11, 2016

Trump is Right About Elizabeth Warren's Native American Problem

Posted by William A. Jacobson Friday, May 6, 2016
Trump again uses Warren’s weak point to push back against her attacks.

Elizabeth Warren’s claim to be Native American is an issue that just won’t go away.

It dogged her during the 2012 Senate run, but she was able to deflect the issue through the help of supportive media and reliance on supposed “family lore,” Some of that “lore” was downright laughable, like the “high cheekbones” story which itself was questionable.

Much of the “lore,” or as much as was capable of being fact checked considering it was based on several decades-old stories, also was questionable.

Warren turns questioning of her story into an attack on her family, as a way of shutting down inquiry.

There is no evidence that Warren meets either part of the two-part test for claiming Native American status: Actual ancestry plus affiliation with a Native American tribe or otherwise living as a Native American. That’s the test used by two of Warren’s former employers, U. Penn and Harvard, as well as federal agencies.

Genealogical research by Cherokee researchers could not find any evidence that Warren had Native American ancestry, and Warren never claimed to have affliated with a tribe. The family lore stories have been largely debunked, though it is possible what there were some family rumors as there were for many families in Oklahoma.

Very few people understand just how Warren claimed to be Native American, and why. The full version is summarized at, the website at which we accumulated all the research we did on Warren during the 2012 campaign. (Note: Her self-narrative has problems beyond the Native American issue — read, for example, about how she represented major corporations against the interests of consumers.)

The short version is that Warren never claimed Native American status until she was in her 30s, and climbing the law professor ladder.

In the 1980s, Warren listed her status as Native American when entering her biographical information in the national law professor directory that was used for hiring purposes by law schools. There was no internet then, and the paper directory was the source for information about prospective law professor hires. Entering herself as Native American landed Warren on a short list of “Minority Law Teachers” in the directory.

Why would Warren do such a thing?

When this was expose during the 2012 campaign, Warren said that she wanted to meet other law professors who were Native American like her, maybe have lunch with them. The problem is that no one reading the directory would know she claimed to be Native American; that specific status was not listed, only that she was a “Minority Law Teacher.” So she could not possible meet other Native American law teachers through her listing.

Warren claims that she never told anyone at Harvard Law that she was Native American, but when she was a visiting professor at Harvard Law in the early 1990s she somehow ended up on a list of “Women of Color in Legal Academia.”

Soon after permanent hiring, Harvard Law touted her Native American status. Warren claimed when the Boston Herald exposed Harvard Law’s position not to know why she was promoted that way.

Did Warren get the Harvard Law job because she claimed to be Native American?
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