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Boston Globe buries correction of Elizabeth Warren 1/32 Cherokee claim

Boston Globe buries correction of Elizabeth Warren 1/32 Cherokee claim

On April 30, 2012, The Boston Globe broke the story that Chris Child of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) had located information about a marriage license showing that Elizabeth’s great-great-great grandmother was Cherokee, Document ties Warren kin to Cherokees:

A record unearthed Monday shows that US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has a great-great-great grandmother listed in an 1894 document as a Cherokee, said a genealogist at the New England Historic and Genealogy Society.

The shred of evidence could validate her assertion that she has Native American ancestry, making her 1/32 American Indian, but may not put an end to the questions swirling around the subject….

Chris Child, a genealogist at the New England Historic and Genealogy Society, said he began digging into Warren’s family history on Thursday, when media interest emerged.

At first, he found no link between Warren’s family and Native Americans in her native Oklahoma.

But Monday afternoon, he said, he discovered a few links. Warren’s great-great-great grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, is listed on her son’s 1894 application for a marriage license as a Cherokee.

Child also found that Warren’s great-grandfather, John Houston Crawford, had lived in Native American territory, but identified himself as white in a 1900 census.

Child cautioned that the search for ancestry often takes a long time and that more information could still emerge as he continues to research the issue.

But he said Warren’s family is not included in the official Dawes Commission rolls, a census of major tribes completed in the early 20th century that Cherokees use to determine tribal citizenship.

As you know, that Boston Globe story created a legend which lives on in the media despite having been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked at every level, and one from which even NEHGS has walked away.

The Globe finally gets around to correcting the story, but buries it in the “For the Record” correction section today:

Correction: Because of a reporting error, a story in the May 1 Metro section and the accompanying headline incorrectly described the 1894 document that was purported to list Elizabeth Warren’s great-great-great grandmother as a Cherokee. The document, alluded to in a family newsletter found by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, was an application for a marriage license,  not the license itself. Neither the society nor the Globe has seen the primary document, whose existence has not been proven.

(Note:  The correction references an article on May 1 which repeated the story; the correction now is appended at the end of the original online version.)

That’s it?  After all the trouble The Globe caused, necessitating countless hours by lowly bloggers to correct the falsehood.

The Globe and the false report of a 1/32 Cherokee connection may have saved Warren’s campaign, as it came at a time when her campaign was in panic and without any evidence to substantiate her claim to Native American ancestry, which she used when a junior faculty member in a law school association directory to obtain “minority law teacher” status.

The false report bought Warren time during which various supportive pundits could opine about what it means to be Cherokee and how dare white people impose their own standards.

This mea culpa should be front page at The Globe.

Related Posts:

Update:  Victor Davis Hanson, Diversitygate:

I guess some of us are on a different planet, because both Warren and Harvard University seem to have been unethical at best and unlawful at worst — if she or anyone from the Law School (no less!) signed forms or affidavits attesting to Warren’s Native American status in accordance with federal affirmative action/diversity guidelines.

And Michael Patrick Leahy, who has led the way on the genealogical research to debunk the claims, has a new post up at, Questions Remain After Boston Globe Corrects Warren Story:

Today’s “correction” by the Boston Globe leaves several questions about their initial reporting of New England Historic Genealogical Society genealogist Chris Child’s statements about Elizabeth Warren’s ancestry unanswered. It states that the May 1 story and the accompanying headline “incorrectly described the 1894 document that was purported to list Elizabeth Warren’s great-great-great grandmother as a Cherokee.” However, as New England Historic Genealogical Society spokesman Tom Champoux has subsequently admitted on May 9, the original source document was not an 1894 document, as the Globe’s correction today suggests. Instead, it was a 2006 family newsletter.


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DINORightMarie | May 15, 2012 at 10:16 am

The in-the-tank MSM strikes again!!


    LukeHandCool in reply to DINORightMarie. | May 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Pretty good day when you get a few hundred thumbs up, eh DinoRightMarie?

    I hope some of these visitors take a minute to join Legal Insurrection so their comments and voices can be heard.

It SHOULD be, Prof.

Heck, even a good creative editor could have couched in it language that made the Glob look half-asped objective.

But not these days. The Mushroom Media is simply the Pravda for the Collective. They don’t EVEN pretend anymore.

But, but, but… Only Romney front page hit pieces are appropriate for any of the traditional liberal rags!

Look for six months of this mud slinging to continue along with liberal fabrications, lies and threats.

I will be resting much easier come mid November..

hang on everyone, this story is now the Drudge headline. Good for you Professor!

Meh, Globe relegated it to a Pyhrric victory at this point unless we can keep this issue alive until November. Lets have these investigations into possible fraud at Harvard and UPenn.

I think it’s time we have that national “dialog” about whether affirmative action has outlived it’s usefulness. The timing is perfect. It takes much prosperity before a society can afford the luxury of sentimental programs such as affirmative action, and because of our economic situation, Americans are in no mood for such touchy-feely silliness. I think the white-guilt factor that propelled obama and the democrats to such success in 2006/2008 is absent.

nordic_prince | May 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

Well, with all the talk about Indians and whatnot, of course it was appropriate for the Globe to bury the corrections – now the right-wing rabble rousers can bury their hatchet, and smoke-um peace pipe, eh?

/non-PC sarcasm

I think all corrections should be on the front page. If I were running a newspaper, that’s where they would be, along with the name of the person who was too lazy to do their job!

Warren is just a little opportunist in a big machine of racial discrimination…codified into law and policy.

THE UNDISCIPLINED DISCIPLINE: “It’s shaping up to be a rough month for black-studies programs; a new turn of the wheel at UNC-Chapel Hill adds credence to Naomi Schaefer Riley’s assertion that it’s time to reassess their value and intent. Academic fraud perpetrated by the head of Carolina’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies, Julius Nyang’oro, has gotten so bad that North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation may be called in to investigate.”

In the late 1970s, the Boston Globe did a story on me. It was ALL LIES. They never contacted me about the story. I wrote a letter to the Editor about the story which was never published.
The Boston Globe, even before the NY Times bought it, was a biased left wing hate rag.

White woman speak with tongue of snake.

LukeHandCool | May 15, 2012 at 11:38 am


I thought Moe4 meant this story was on Drudge.

Drudge links to Legal Insurrection!!

You are the go-to journalist on this story. Congratulations!

So the point of contention is that the supporting document was an application for a marriage license, not the marriage license itself?

Is that enough to suddenly somehow turn Ms Warren’s claim of Native American ancestry from fact to fiction? I don’t think so. It changes the title of the support document, but not its support of her claim.

As supporting documents go, it has to be as least as solid as the author’s referencing of his previous opinions on the authenticity and bearing of Ms Warren heritage are to the current argument.

Bottom line is if Scott Brown had a more substantive line of attack against Ms Warren, he would use it. I hope that’s the part that resonates with Massachusetts voters.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Snertly. | May 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    There isn’t even a marriage application. Read the links. That’s why the Globe and NEHGS are running away from it.

      I have read a goodly number of the links you’ve used to surround this story. The majority are merely speculative, casting aspersions on the level of “if true then…”.

      This seems to be one of the more definitive bits of reporting on the issue from the Boston Herald of 5/2/12: “While Warren’s great great great grandmother, named O.C. Sarah Smith, is listed on a electronic transcript of a 1894 marriage application as Cherokee, the genealogists are unable to find the actual record or a photograhic copy of it, Society spokesman Tom Champoux said. A copy of the marriage license itself has been located, but unlike the application, it does not list Smith’s ethnicity.”

      While this does not constitute iron clad support for Ms Warren’s claim of 1/32nd Cherokee, it comes closer to proving it than disproving it.

      Surely even an associate clinical law professor knows that failing to prove a statement to be true is not nearly the same thing as successfully proving a statement to be false. Yet this is exactly the false dichotomy that your series of articles is based upon.

        gasper in reply to Snertly. | May 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm

        “While this does not constitute iron clad support for Ms Warren’s claim of 1/32nd Cherokee, it comes closer to proving it than disproving it.” You are far behind the story. The lady, Lynda Smith, an amateur genealogist, has already stated she had no supporting evidence for this claim. Plus Michael Patrick Leahy has shown they did not use applications in those days. No application exists. No source documents, no proof. No doubts. Period.

          Snertly in reply to gasper. | May 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm

          But my question is how does a lack of positive proof constitute disproof?

          The answer is, it does not.

          gasper in reply to gasper. | May 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm

          snerfly: Your reasoning is really skewed….to the left. Her ancestral records are no different than the millions of other Americans who are not Native American. So, using your reasoning, they too can claim minority status, because… well, just because. You are basing your argument on the fact that Warren said it was based on family lore, and there is absolutely nothing to support that…. nothing. I have looked at all the records cited here, by the Herald, and by the Globe. But, I guess a state who sent a man back to the Senate for 40 years after he killed a young woman and acted cowardly afterwards will have no problem with professional fraud.

          Snertly in reply to gasper. | May 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

          It’s simple logic. It does not skew left or right. The article’s author repeatedly acts as if Ms Warren were caught red handed in some fraudulent conduct because her claim could not be substantiated in an unequivocal fashion.

          However one does not need a Doctoral degree in Jurisprudence to know that a lack of proof does not constitute disproof. The only time an attorney would pretend otherwise is when he lacks the wherewithal to make a real case.

          The best part of this attempted conversion of molehill into mountain is that it strongly suggests this is the strongest counter-argument to Ms Warren’s candidacy that Scott Brown can muster.

    doubletap in reply to Snertly. | May 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Please, the burden of proof is on Warren. So far Warren’s claim of a very thin blood content is backed by even thinner evidence. This is called fraud. I understand that to some* it is not a “substantive line of attack”, but to others, it is all they need to know.

    *ie: Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, John Kerry, John Edwards, Bill Clinton ect.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | May 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Look at the bright side. The repeated references to the New England Historic Genealogical Society has prompted AdChoices to put an advertisement for at the top of your blog.

lessee-she stated she was the intellectual founder of OWS, and that she is a minority.

neither were true. both were stated for personal gain.

“this chick is toast”:dr. pete venkmann.

Hmmm .. So the WaPo writes an expose on Romney seemingly timed for ObamaRx’s evolution and hides the conflicts.

And the Globe hides its conflicts as well. The MSM at work.

Perhaps O’Connor’s 25 year BS (Grutter v. Bollinger) is overdue for reevaluation? As is ALL race based BS?

RufusVonDufus | May 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

To understand what you are dealing with relative to this woman, just take a look at her picture on Drudge. The blank look on her face tells me all I have to know. Scott Brown is safe and can continue to be a RINO!

This link
has numerous information on interviews, bibliographies, and other related data about Elizabeth Warren. Am I the only one who finds it odd that she never brings up her Native American background? So many references, and not one mention of Native American ancestry except for the recent controversy. Even the articles in the Crimson Red were apparently done without her involvement. The only place she mentioned her Native American association was in the Law Directory, the one source that could benefit her career the most. Otherwise, it’s as if this is a topic she didn’t really seem to want to talk about in public. That tells me she knew the family lore was suspect. But, she stepped into the sunlight and realized too late she would have been better off had she stayed under the shady branches of the family tree.

    GrannyAesop in reply to gasper. | May 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I have thought from the beginning how very strange it was that the Boston Herald even discovered Warren’s claim in the relatively-obscure journal where it appeared, and wondered how the reporter knew to look there.
    None of the stories I have read to date have even asked if someone tipped the Herald to Warren’s implausible self-identification as a minority.
    Who blew the whistle?

      gman51 in reply to GrannyAesop. | May 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      Pay attention, Granny. It was the Boston Globe what started this mess with an adoring piece about pocahontas Warren. The Herald is a better, more honest paper. Well, Pravda is more honest than the Globe, but so is the Herald.

Getting the notice you deserve, Prof. Congrats on the Drudge link.

    LukeHandCool in reply to Daiwa. | May 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Kudos to Drudge on the link.

    In the past I often sent links to posts by Legal Insurrection, Instapundit, Powerlineblog, etc., to Drudge via his tip line, but never saw those stories used.

    I hope this is the beginning of a new trend where Drudge helps expose these great bloggers to a much wider audience.

    The guys writing these great blogs are head-and-shoulders above the know-nothing journalism-school grads that infuriate well-informed news consumers.

“Veritas!” doncha know?

You are doing great work on this issue Professor Jacobson! Thank you.

Bob Belevedere has a post linking to Victor Davis Hanson on this subject. Definitely worth reading. Bob and VDH are both spot on.

stevewhitemd | May 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Now will Harvard investigate Professor Warren?

Again —

One: did Harvard Law School consider and rely on Prof. Warren’s assertion of NA status in offering her tenure?

Two: did HLS consider and rely on her assertion of NA status in offering her a position?

Three: did HLS file documents with EEOC and other government agencies in which they relied on Prof. Warren’s assertions of her NA status?

Four: did HLS request any documentation from Prof. Warren as to her NA status? If so, what did she provide?

Five: when Prof. Warren ‘unchecked’ her NA status, how did HLS respond?

Six: now that HLS has been informed that Prof. Warren’s assertion of NA status may not be legitimate, what will HLS do?

    Yirmin in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    In the late 1980’s I applied to law schools including Harvard. In my application I stated that I was a Cherokee, now while trying to get into the law school is different than trying to work for the law school I do remember that they sent a follow up letter to me and stated that my application would not be considered complete until I forwarded proof that I was a Native American. They wanted my roll number (which was odd, because any real Cherokee would have know that there is no “roll number” the rolls were closed early in the 20th century. So with that in mind I can state that at the time they were clueless about what real documentation of a Cherokee would be, but also know that they certainly wanted to verify that a prospective student stating they were a Cherokee would not be accept on face value they want proof.

    Now the ugly head of reality steps in when you start looking at hiring someone, there are things that they simply do not ask. One is the race of the individual. You can bet that she never filled out any form that was passed around with her resume noting her race, no HR department would have done that.

    Now that being said, there is certainly evidence that they believed she was a minority. Likely based on her yammering about her fake heritage at functions with her husband that was a professor at Harvard Law… You can bet that she wasn’t selected for her pedigree as she came from a lower 50 law school which wouldn’t be hired or even considered unless she brought something else to the table.

    Don’t expect her to be terminated or punished in anyway from Harvard. If that were to happen it would be evidence that she was only hired because of her race and they don’t want to admit to doing that. She is bullet proof, but probably will be a laughing stock for a while.

Dr_Michael_Savage | May 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm

You can tell when you guys on the right are really scared of a candidate. You go right for silly stuff like this instead of attacking her actual policy proposals. I understand how hard it must be to oppose the creator of a Consumer Protection Agency.

You can’t attack Obama’s policies so you decide that he’s a Kenyan socialist…who just happens to have center-right positions in line with most Americans. You can’t attack Bill Clinton’s policies so you say he’s a drug running murderer… who just so happens to have center-right positions in line with most Americans.

Maybe if any of you have evidence that she used this for personal gain you’d have something, but so far I have seen none. She has stated it was her own family mythology that led her to believe in her heritage and everyone she worked for has claimed she was always hired based on her merit.

Her merit is the one thing you seem incapable of refuting.

    Are you off your meds? There’s nothing of any substance in your post. If anything, you’ve got your cons mixed up with your libs.
    You, sir, are the Worsest person in the world today.
    -DRooling Keith Olberman

    spiritof61 in reply to Dr_Michael_Savage. | May 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    1.Genetic fallacy 2.Strawman 3.Ad hominem 4.Deflection 5.Factual Error 6.Absurdity

    Are you on the Harvard faculty by any chance?

    LukeHandCool in reply to Dr_Michael_Savage. | May 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    That was funny. I thought you were serious there for a second.

    You must be 1/32 Snertly.

    Ragspierre in reply to Dr_Michael_Savage. | May 16, 2012 at 8:54 am

    “Her merit is the one thing you seem incapable of refuting.”

    What an odd statement.

    First, her merit to who? She may have merit as a teacher of bankruptcy law to Harvard. That is their business, though they really should examine both her and their conduct in hiring her. (Racial discrimination and fraud are both “bad things” in the law.)

    Her merit as a candidate for Senator? Seems strange to me the amount of crap you Collectivists are prepared to eat for your candidates. Assuming you are from Massachusetts, where that has been the tradition for decades. But the woman is a liar, and an obdurate liar. So, where is it you find “merit” beyond that?

[…] per William Jacobson, contain your shock at the fact that the Boston Globe helpfully buried its correction about […]

DrKarlStalin | May 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm

The “Native American” narrative was a good line. Too bad she didn’t live in Cleveland. She could have claimed that she was a Cleveland Indian. Saul Aulinsky,,,”by any means necessary….”.


If Prof. Warren claims to be ANY part Cheroke, then I am full bloodied Kligon

Either Iowahawk or Treacher has taken to calling Ms. Warren fauxcohontas on Twitter. ~Snort
Great work Professor, and congrats on the Drudge link.

Pouncekitty | May 15, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Why is RACE everything to Democrats? I thought Obama was going to be the post-racial president, yet every minute we’re assailed by charges of racism because we disagree. Disagreement and opposition are two things Liberals and Democrats FEAR MOST! They need useful idiots who think Elizabeth Warren is a victim of discrimination…….you see where this goes? Democrats NEED victims. It’s their trusty voting groups and the more victims they can make the more votes they get… see where this goes?

Holy smoke. signals. I missed the excitement today. At this moment, nearly 700 likes! Yikes! Wow! Hot! Hot! Hot!

Why doesn’t Ms. Warren just get a DNA test that determines heritage. Ancestry dot com is selling the service for $99. Just sayin.

Speaking as a die-hard liberal who was planning to donate money (!) to Warren’s campaign until this informatation about her totally unethical behavior came to light, I thank you for keeping the spotlight on this topic.

Judging from the comments in some other publications, many people have no idea what a minority faculty law directory is. Would it be possible to create a visual representation of the minority faculty listing that Warren volunteered herself for?

If people could see a diagram showing photos of the three people listed before Warren in that minority hiring directory, a picture of Warren, and then photos of the three people listed after her, it would help bring the point home as to what she did. My guess would be that most of those people are still law professers and their photos should be readily available, you would just need to get their names.

People need to understand just how sleazy and unethical Warren’s behavior was!!! I think a visual representation of where she placed herself would help.