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Elizabeth Warren’s drop of Cherokee blood

Elizabeth Warren’s drop of Cherokee blood

Yesterday I posted about how Elizabeth Warren’s campaign acknowledged that she self-identified as Native American on forms she filled out for the Association of American Law Schools in the mid-1980s through 1994, but that she still was searching for the genealogical evidence to support her claim.

According to the Boston Herald (added- Cover here)(h/t Instapundit) Warren found the proof last night, in the form of her great-great-great grandmother being Cherokee:

Desperately scrambling to validate Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage amid questions about whether she used her minority status to further her career, the Harvard Law professor’s campaign last night finally came up with what they claim is a Cherokee connection — her great-great-great-grandmother.

“She would be 1⁄32nd of Elizabeth Warren’s total ancestry,” noted genealogist Christopher Child said, referring to the candidate’s great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, who is listed on an Oklahoma marriage certificate as Cherokee. Smith is an ancestor on Warren’s mother’s side, Child said.

The controversy will not be over, as further reported by the Herald:

Suzan Shown Harjo, a former executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, expressed outrage yesterday after learning that Warren had identified herself as a Native American on law school records without documentation.

“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,” said Harjo, who said Warren might have taken a job another Native American could have received.

On what basis does someone who is 1/32nd of anything claim that 1/32nd as ethnicity or race for any purpose?  And is it believable that Warren had no purpose in claiming Native American status when she was building her career in a field which desperately sought minority, and particularly Native American, members.

The issue, though, is larger than Warren personally and goes to the ethos of Warren’s campaign.

How ironic that the new liberal lioness has resorted to counting drops of blood for her self-identification.

Update:  I’m reminded that my wife’s family are descendents of the Jews who were exiled from Spain and lived in Turkey for centuries (retaining their religion and language) until immigrating to the U.S. in the 20th Century.  What box should my kids check?  Veit?

And Ann Althouse has interesting observations on Warren’s potentially shifting motivations.


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In Australia, anyone asking questions like that could be hauled before the courts:

Ragspierre | May 1, 2012 at 8:46 am

“On what basis does someone who is 1/32nd of anything claim that 1/32nd as ethnicity or race for any purpose?”

Some may have noted that I sometimes “offer” a different perspective than usual, but…

I have observed that we identify with a group that brings us a perceived benefit.

Hence, Warren is “Indian” if she can even tenuously make the remotest connection to being Indian.

Obama, who is half-white, identifies as being “black” because in present-day America that conveys advantages…not disabilities.

Maria Carey…same-same…and so forth.

    Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | May 1, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Mariah Carey…my names curse…

    jimzinsocal in reply to Ragspierre. | May 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Agree with you. And failing any direct bloodline proof the game is the old “I have Native American friends”.
    All the same deal when either is used as a manipulation tactic.

    n.n in reply to Ragspierre. | May 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Which is why these policies must end. Both slavery and discrimination were ended, ostensibly, for the reason of recognition and preservation of individual dignity. The current policies are merely repackaged variants which accomplish the same end. These policies promote corruption of individuals and society. They denigrate individual dignity and as such devalue human life.

The Warren situation goes much deeper than just drops of blood. Look, America is increasingly an interracial society and it is accelerating. When everyone can identify at some level as Indian – Black – Asian – Anglo – Hispanic in one body what is the use of identification via race?

Ultimately racial preferences must fall on this basis alone. Which spells trouble for Democrats in the long term.

Actually, I believe that if you are 1/16th Indiana you can legally (federal) claim Indian status. So Warren fails this test.

That should be Indian, not Indiana. But I went to Purdue, and no boilermaker can spell.

    No, I liked your first observation. Anyone with ancestral ties to Indiana should be all rights be able to self-identify as Indian(an).

    JP in reply to bob sykes. | May 1, 2012 at 9:03 am

    “no boilermaker can spell.”

    Dunno’ about that part, but you sure can drink ’em. Boy howdy, can you ever..

Since my parents came over from Sicily, guess I can claim being an Awopahoe. (With Out Papers).

Gosh, on that line of thought #44 is half Blackfoot Indian. Wonder which foot?

Midwest Rhino | May 1, 2012 at 9:35 am

When Warren, the most elite and privileged, manufactures preferred racial identity, to get a leg up on the competition, the hypocrisy should scream out to even the most liberal.

The left’s war on white males has gone on for forty years … but the headlines are that poor Ms. Fluke can’t afford $9/month for her own contraceptives, and it’s all because of the conservative “war on women”. Rush gets skewered for poking fun at that privileged woman’s phony “testimony” about her hardship.

Now another privileged female leftist is caught playing a role … who will be attacked this time, for exposing her duplicity?


If there was specific legislation passed, or policy written, that mandated Native American representation on university faculties across America…

Wondering if the “self-identifying” loophole was put in specifically for the “hate America” crowd to fill the quotas by exploiting the loophole..

Wondering if there was an influx of Ward Churchill’s and Elizabeth Warren’s onto American universities during the same time period-

Wondering if liberals capitalized on the tragedy at Wounded Knee to further exploit the “America is evil” civil rights movement in the relative calm of that time period that followed race riots/war protests..

Wondering if the liberals carved out a benefit for the Native Americans on paper, but kept it for themselves in reality..

Wondering…if at one time….we’d call them Indian givers..

    I thought of Ward Churchill as well, his 100% fake but true Cherokee claim. He has not one drop of native American blood in his veins.

    Liberals sense of self righteousness is based on grievance mongering to maintain victim status. One never ceases to be amazed at the depths of faux righteousness by a group of such immoral people. That they continually misrepresent themselves to appear or identify with good to the public only speaks to their own knowledge of self depravity.

    A cat does not walk around with signs or blasting bullhorns saying CAT to identify itself. Every animal on the block knows a cat by its smell and shape. A dog is still a dog regardless of the signage stating otherwise.

radiofreeca | May 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

“We are all minorities now”. I think what this really, truly says is that minority status is a privileged status: nobody wants to be white, because they’ll be discriminated against. 🙂

abenson229 | May 1, 2012 at 9:45 am

My wife is big into the genealogy thing and apparently somewhere somehow way back my family is tied into English royalty. Think that means I can crash at Windsor next time I’m in merry old England?

    I R A Darth Aggie in reply to abenson229. | May 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    No, because the current decendants of the House of Windsor are more German than British, as they merely rebranded Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor.

Kerrvillian | May 1, 2012 at 9:46 am

Number One: Giving preference for racial, ethnic or any quality OTHER than actual demonstrated merit or experience should be eliminated.

Does it surprise me that Warren’s claim is even more tenuous than my own? Nope. I’m just disappointed that she clearly used it to get stuff she wasn’t entitled to. That much is clear, or she wouldn’t have ever mentioned it.

I’m 1/8th, per family legend. She is 1/32nd. I outrank her, but I still classify as “Caucasian” or “white”.

The difference is that she used her “family story” at some point in her career. I get my work by relying on my very real work, education and education history.

Shy is a lying sack of snot who used her “1/32nd” Cherokee status to give her an edge over candidates with better education, experience and work. Now she wants us to think she had nothing to do with this misrepresentation of her history though it is clear that she started this ball rolling, she only backed off it once it became evident that she might have to back up her “family history” with actual facts.

Tough luck, Liz. You cheated and you got caught. Now go down to defeat like you deserve.

My kids are already having this problem as my wife is a first generation American, both of her parents are from Mexico and immigrated in the late 70’s later becoming citizens, but my part of the family is Cherokee (my mother and her siblings qualified as members of the tribe based on 1/8th, so I’d qualify under federal law if I pursued it), Hungarian Gypsy, Spanish, French and German. Quite a mix, and I often relish in seeing the census worker’s head explode in a fine diversity-based mist every 10 years when they come to count me and ask which “box” I identify with. This problem will only get worse over the next two generations as many of my generation have no problems with being in what the older generations call an inter-racial relationship. I can only imagine what would happen with my future grandchildren if one of my kids marries someone of African descent… what box do you check? African-American/Hispanic/with 1/64 Cherokee?

    theduchessofkitty in reply to smfoushee. | May 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

    My kids are going to have this problem, too.

    On my husband’s side, there’s old Scott Irish mixed with Cherokee and Swedish.

    On my side, it’s Puerto Rican – what I call the “ultimate mutt”, because it’s Spanish, Native Caribbean, African, French, Jewish, Moor, etc… All in one of Tiger Woods’ “Cablinasian” packages.

    My husband could have had it easier on himself and gone for a little less complicated of a “mixture” when seeking a wife… but he chose me. And I chose him, against the wishes of some fellow Puerto Ricans like myself who wanted me to “keep it in the island” – that is, the DNA. But I knew better, and I reasserted my right to marry whomever the hell I please.

    Nevertheless, it is very possible that my children will never be able to take advantage of any of those designations. Not the 1/32 Cherokee blood of their father. Not the Puerto Rican of their mother. They have a very English (read: white) last name. And that’s how they’re going to be identified ’till Kingdom come.

I’m not good with fractions, but my Great Grandmother was a full blooded Indian (or as near as anyone is these days), from the Miami tribe I believe. I don’t know what that would make me, but I don’t really care. The photograph of her and my Great Grandfather is to funny…she in full Indian garb looking like she stepped out of a time warp, he in a proper business suit of the time. Makes me wonder how those two ever hooked up. I feel no more connection to the native Americans than any of my more dominate German ancestry. I can’t imagine using that distant connection to further myself although I’m not in academia so maybe that is why it would never occur to me.

It only works for the Irish, and then on St. Patrick’s Day.

Well, look at it this way: If she doesn’t get elected she has a whole new career in front of her as a Blackjack dealer.

This assumes her great-great grandmother was full blooded Cherokee.
The Bureau of Ethnology is one resource capable of providing the necessary historical data to substantiate the likelihood her professed ancestor(s) have tribal affiliation, and to what extent.

VetHusbandFather | May 1, 2012 at 10:27 am

People are missing the point. The Government defines a Native American as a person who is affiliated with one of the 561 federally recognized tribal governments. So is Warren affiliated with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma… if not then her claim is false. It’s one thing to say you have Native American ancestors, it’s another to identify yourself as Native American for hiring purposes.

    You’re talking foolishness. The government can set standards for the government. So if she filled out government paperwork incorrectly, she should be prosecuted accordingly. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter.

      VetHusbandFather in reply to irv. | May 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      1) It does make a difference if Harvard is using her identification for federal funding.

      2) Almost all applications include this standard statement:

      Native American or Alaskan Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America, and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

      I would be extremely surprised if her application to Harvard did not contain that exact text. I have Native American ancestors but I still don’t check the box because the emphasized part would be false, the same goes for Warren.

Is it true that her nickname and Harvard was Elizabeth Christmas Warren, ’cause she thought she had a drop of injun blood? (Sorry, self-identified Faulkner fan).

” I’m reminded that my wife’s family are descendents of the Jews who were exiled from Spain and lived in Turkey for centuries (retaining their religion and language) until immigrating to the U.S. in the 20th Century.  What box should my kids check?  Veit?”

Hispanic…oh wait:

When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity

Well, my father has always said that one of his grandparents or great-grandparents was something like 1/4 Lenni-Lenape. That would make me at least 1/32nd Native American, just like Lizzy Warren. Can I get preferential treatment, too?

Thanks to this little scandal, I’ve added a second verse to my “Lizzy Warren” version of the familiar “Lizzy Borden” nursery rhyme. Verse one is as follows:

Lizzy Warren paid her tax;
Just the min, though; not the max.
When people asked what she had done,
You should have seen ole Lizzy run!

Verse two is brand-spanking new, and is as follows:

Lizzy Warren had an ax;
A tomahawk, in point of fact.
But when time came to test its metal,
Lizzy Warren lost her mettle!

If race counts for so much that it can determine whether or not you get a job (“Warren might have taken a job another Native American could have received.”) then claiming whatever blood ties you may have, no matter how small a fraction, is perfectly rational and justified.

Meanwhile, those people who complain that she’s not enough of a given race to claim it need to set forth exact guidelines so everyone can know how to determine what they are. If 1/32 isn’t enough what is? 1/16? 1/8? Explain it or shut up.

    Owego in reply to irv. | May 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    What you hear isn’t the sound of complaining, it’s the sound of laughter.

    It’s not supposed to count, and won’t until we stop counting. The amazing results of six month’s of silence on the subject from Jeremiah, Jesse, Jesse Jr., Al, Maxine, Bill, Jeanine, the CBC, MSNBC, CNN, Harvard, and a small (intellectually and literally) group of other formula-writing, form-filing professionals and bores would be the disclosure that it was important to the silenced “elite” and virtually an historical artifact among the greater mass of hard working Americans everywhere else. Read the posts here. There’s a common thread among them; race doesn’t matter, at least among the Irish, Italian, British, Cherokee, German, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Spanish/Turkish Jews, Lenni-Lenape, and Eskimo folk who posted. It isn’t supposed to. The functional, working citizenry in the country has moved on, it really has. It’s bored with and tired of wallowing in the past and the constant, blaring background racket coming from the amateur and professional “racers” (thank you, Tony Katz).

    The silence would be deafening and productive; imaginative people could get on with solving life’s genuine problems; the rest would just disappear . . . like Keith Olbermann.

Warren may have had another reason to claim Native American heritage during the time frame this all happened. This is pure speculation, but when I heard this story it reminded me of a man I worked with who did the same thing at around the same time.

I lived in Rhode Island and worked for a large company in Providence. By the early 90’s if you were a woman or black and wanted a promotion you didn’t get much help from Affirmative Action because they had met their numbers by then. So if you could claim some other minority status you had a better shot.

After the Foxwoods Casino opened around 1992, there were a lot of stories about people getting rich by just proving they were a tribe member. Everybody expected the Narragansett Indians would get a casino in South County, so I assume this was probably the scuttlebutt all over New England. So a guy I worked with changed his ethnicity from African American to Native American. He joked about it, and it was legit. One of his grandparents was a Narragansett so he qualified. He had nothing to lose so why not?

He didn’t end up rich and he never got the promotion, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to try.

    Browndog in reply to Jaynie59. | May 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Here in Michigan, the Chippewa tribe is forever suing each other over who is a member, and who is not–to get a piece of the casino(s).

More and more, when confronted with those box choices, I have considered checking Native American. After all, I was born here, so I am a native. My parents were born here, so they were natives. All my grandparents were born here, so they were natives. It diverges there, as on the maternal side, the great-grandparents were Scandinavian. On the paternal side, there were natives back to revolutionary times.

But how native do you have to be?

“I have a dream …” and when you finish laughing, answer me this: what happened to that dream?? And why do we put up with institutions which create such preposterous and pathetic ‘opportunities’? And with the people who continue to support such racist idiocy? Why do we not call them on this poisonous tripe, each and every time??

Ann Althouse has pegged Warren and Harvard perfectly.

“… potentially shifting motivations”? Please. The motivation is as constant as gravity: Me. Do what ever you must to get ahead; game the system, weasel-word, dissemble, obfuscate, divide, all characteristics she’ll take to the Capitol, a building full to overflowing with these now. Stay at Harvard.

LukeHandCool | May 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm

You bunch of besieging bullies.

Poor lady must feel like Custer at his Last Stand.

Well I’m related to Attila, the Eskimos, Akenaten, and someone who once lived in Spain. Plus I share 98% of my DNA with every chimpanzee on earth. Gimme my preferences, dammit.

“Ms. Warren, you need to prove your Indian heritage”.


“That’ll do. You’re clearly fluent in the dialect.”

Maybe I was just skimming to quickly but I didn’t see anyone mention the Dawes Rolls.

How did Warren prove her ancestry to the satisfaction of the Feds without that?

Some of the #ElizabethWarrenIndianNames people are coming up with on Twitter are hilarious:

“She Will Sioux” … “Sacajawhiner” … “Running Joke”

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to s_dog. | May 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    To add to the fun, her maiden name is-no kidding- Herring.
    With her claims about OWS I guess that makes her one of the Red Herrings.

    Perhaps her Indian name is Smells Like Old Fish.


Your wife and I share the exact same heritage. My family was expelled from Spain, migrated to Turkey then on to the US in the early 20th century through Ellis Island before settling in Rochester, NY. The family spoke Ladino, a form of Spanish in the house. Not that it is directly germaine to your post but I found it coincidental.

2nd Ammendment Mother | May 1, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Am I the only one who seems to recall that the Cherokee Nation is very strict about it’s membership rolls?

    With the advent of casino’s, they pretty much all are-

    No, all three Cherokee nations are very strict about their requirements.
    “…In order to register with the Cherokee Nation you must be issued a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The white card (as the CDIB is often called) certifies your degree of Indian blood (blood quantum) and the tribe you are affiliated with. To obtain a white card, you must provide legal documents that prove your lineage from an ancestor who is listed, with a roll number and a blood degree, on the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, Cherokee Nation. This roll is commonly known as the Dawes Roll…”
    The Eastern Band requires that a person have a blood quantum of 1/16th or higher and prove they are a descendant of one of the signers of the final roll of the Eastern Cherokee (also referred to as the Baker Roll in 1924)…”
    “…The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians was organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 and the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of 1936. Membership requires a blood quantum of 1/4 or higher and is limited to persons on the list of members identified by a resolution dated April 19, 1949, and certified by the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes Agency and their descendants…”
    The Cherokee nations should sue that fraud for all she’s got.Ethnicity is recorded on birth certificates based upon the mother’s information so let’s see Warren’s birth certificate if she has one. As fraudulent as the mulatto in mom jeans occupying the whitehouse without documentation!!

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