After we called attention to the fact that Elizabeth Warren’s Wikipedia page had been cleansed of its section on her (false) claim to be Cherokee, a vigorous debate took place among editors of Wikipedia since the expungement of the information violated Wikipedia’s rules.

The section was restored, but in a less comprehensive fashion than previously existed. As I noted, while the restored section was incomplete and did not deal with the full scope of Warren’s conduct, at least the restored section was more balanced and gave links to sources reflecting criticism of Warren.

I thought maybe we were done, and Wikipedia would have a somewhat balanced entry on this important part of Warren’s political persona.

Someone or some people who edit Wikipedia, however, continue on the mission to cleanse Warren’s Cherokee controversy. The section has been removed again as of late last night. Here is a comparison of the prior and current (as of this writing) tables of contents. Notice the section on Cherokee self-identification is gone now:

Elizabeth Warren - Wikipedia Contents 1-10-2013 - circledElizabeth Warren - Wikipedia Contents 1-11-2013 935 Eastern

What remains about the controversy has been put in the middle of the 2012 Election section, where it is less likely to be seen, and worse yet, has been rewritten in a manner much more favorable to Warren.  Important criticism of Warren by Twila Barnes, the Cherokee genealogist, has been dropped, as has reference to Warren’s recent failure to list herself as Native American with the Senate.

The new text focuses heavily on Warren’s defense of herself without any contrary views quoted other than the Brown campaign. The following now is the entirety of the discussion  (as of this writing, more information is being added by Warren supporters as I write):

In April 2012, the Boston Herald reported that in the 1990s Harvard Law School had, in response to criticisms about the lack of faculty diversity, publicized Warren’s law directory entries from 1986 to 1995, in which she had self-identified as a Native American.[47][48][49] Fact-checking efforts by the New England Historical Genealogical Society and the Washington Post found no evidence of Cherokee lineage in Warren’s family history.[50][51] Warren’s three siblings have backed her claim, stating, “We grew up listening to our mother and grandmother and other relatives talk about our family’s Cherokee and Delaware heritage.”[52] The Brown campaign, called on her to “come clean about her motivations for making these claims and explain the contradictions between her rhetoric and the record”,[53] and from several Cherokee groups.[54][55] Warren maintained that Native American ancestry was a part of her family folklore, and that she had self-identified as a minority in the law directory listing in hopes of meeting people of a similar background.[56][57] She denied receiving any professional advantage or preferential treatment as a result of her claimed ancestry.[53][58] Charles Fried, a Harvard Law professor who was involved in Warren’s hiring, said that her heritage was never mentioned and played no role in the decision.[47]

It’s a little hard from the History of the page to tell exactly who is doing it, but it appears to include someone using the username ExclusiveAgent with some others supportive of the effort.  The Talk page for the Warren entry reflects the ongoing editor fight, with someone with the username FurrySings arguing strenuously for material to be added favorable to Warren, specifically a claim of Delaware ancestry through a distant relative named Ina Mapes which already has been debunked by Twila Barnes’ Cherokee genealogy group.  As I’m writing this “FurrySings” is adding in more text favorable to Warren.

This is an ongoing fight to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Warren’s history, a history which many people will know only from Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, a reader alerted me to the absurdity that Wikipedia lists Warren under the article “Multiracial American” and the subsection “White Native Americans” based on the demonstrably false statement (in the Talk section) that Warren “is part Cherokee and European”:

Elizabeth Warren Wikipedia White Native Americans photos

We are going to form a working group to monitor and address the ethnic cleansing of Warren’s Wikipedia page and the incorrect inclusion of her as a “multiracial””White Native American.”

We encourage readers to alert us if any other inaccuracies are found.

Update 1-30-2013 — We created our own, Announcing


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