There have been protests by Cherokees and other Native American groups over Elizabeth Warren’s continued insistence that she is Native American despite the complete lack of evidence to sustantiate that claim and substantial evidence that the claim is not true.
Now a Harvard graduate, Margo (Kickingbird) DeLaune (Ed. ’81) and her son, Cole R. DeLaune (Dartmouth ’08), have cirulated a letter to Harvard Native American graduates and to the Harvard Law School faculty, denouncing Elizabeth Warren.
The text of the letter appears today at Indian Country Media Network. Here is an excerpt (emphasis mine):
As an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, 1981 alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, veteran scholastic administrator, and lifelong Democrat, I am profoundly disturbed by the emergence of recent details concerning Harvard and one of its law school’s senior faculty members, Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. Over the course of the past month, facts have come to attention that leave little doubt that the HLS bureaucracy and Professor Warren perpetrated nothing less than ethnic fraud….
I urge fellow Native alumni of Harvard, as well as all American Indians presently associated with any of the University’s schools, to denounce the conduct of HLS and Professor Warren.
Ultimately, however, whether the Professor formally obtained her employment in Cambridge thanks to affirmative action is immaterial. An unethical endeavor does not have to succeed in its objectives in order to warrant objection. Similarly, qualification does not automatically legitimize malfeasance.
Warren has predicated her bid for elected office on an advocacy for the disenfranchised, the proverbial “99 percent.” Consequently, her conduct vis-à-vis a historically marginalized Native community is fundamentally pertinent to the ideological consistency of her campaign platform….
A not-insignificant number of her defenders have attempted to double down by maintaining that most Oklahomans likely have at least a minute amount of Indian DNA. What a poetic illustration of the legacy of colonialism: first, the European entitlement to Native territories, and, now, white entitlement to Native cultural identity sans the conditions that confer meaning on that identity….
Perhaps, in the end, we should appreciate Professor Warren for revealing institutionalized deficiencies at our alma mater that may have otherwise remained unexamined. However, we should nevertheless hold her accountable for the damage she has wrought—by either crassly capitalizing on the plight of the American Indian or indulging in the fetishization of a frequently caricaturized minority group….
I have confirmed that the Open Letter was e-mailed on June 8 to a long list of alumni and faculty, including to Elizabeth Warren.
In an e-mail provided to me by Cole DeLaune, one current Harvard Law professor castigated the DeLaunes for engaging in the “left eating its own”:
Do you really think that this is the issue on which the Massachusetts Senate race should be decided? If not, you should be thinking about the ethics of pressing this issue now…. [in follow up email] If you make your critique, and Professor Warren is elected anyway, you will have advanced your cause, at no expense to anyone. But if Republican money uses your critique to defeat her, you will have set back your cause and the cause of the American middle class. That is what creates the ethical issue for you. I’m sure you have heard the expression that “the left eats its own.”
That a left-wing Harvard Law professor demands that Native Americans stop objecting to Elizabeth Warren’s false claim of Native American heritage in order not to damage her campaign is a perfect example of how political ambition has corrupted principle.