Elizabeth Warren is not Native American.

Her claims to be either Cherokee or Delaware have been thoroughly refuted by a team of Cherokee genealogists who tracked Warren’s family ancestry. Even Warren’s so-called “family lore” stories are in serious doubt.

Yet from the moment Warren’s claim to be Native American for employment purposes first surfaced in late April 2012, Warren has used the lack of documentation to her advantage by claiming, in essence, that she’s an undocumented Indian:

Growing up, my mother and my grandparents and my aunts and uncles often talked about our family’s Native American heritage. As a kid, I never thought to ask them for documentation – what kid would? – but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a part of who I am and part of my family heritage. (emphasis added)

There is so much deception in that statement, starting with the fact that Warren didn’t claim Native American status as a kid. She claimed it when she was in her 30’s and in the law professor job market.

I had forgotten about that Warren quote until recently when I noticed a definite pattern emerging in media coverage of Warren.

Trump has effectively branded Warren as a fraud by calling her “Pocahontas,” That term mocks Warren not for being Native American, but for her fake claim to be Native American.

It’s not a term we use (just as we don’t use fauxcahontas or other similar terms) because (i) it’s demeaning to the Native Americans who were the victims of Warren’s ethnic misappropriation, and (ii) it provides the perfect distraction for Warren and her supporters to avoid discussing the substance of what Warren did to rip off Native American identity to try to gain an advantage in the law school hiring market. But just like “Low Energy” Jeb and “Little” Marco, it’s effective at defining Warren’s personal character flaw.

Last week Trump tweeted about Warren:

And in looking over the reaction, I notice that issue of “documentation” come up in media coverage.

Here’s how several media outlets described Warren’s problem (emphasis added)

WaPo:

Warren’s claims of Cherokee and Delaware Indian heritage first attracted national attention during her 2012 Senate run. While she had family stories, she did not have any documentation of her Native American ancestry to prove it, even though Cherokee groups demanded it…. Trump capitalized on Warren’s inability to verify her story with documentation, particularly after Warren questioned his honesty.

The Mirror:

Warren faced scrutiny of her claim to Native American heritage when it came up in a 2012 congressional election campaign. Her opponent Scott Brown questioned the claim, and her integrity, in a series of attack ads.

She says she has Cherokee and Delaware Indian heritage, but does not have any documentation to prove it.

She said at the time: “Being Native American has been a part of my story, I guess since the day I was born, I don’t know any other way to describe it.”

The Independent:

Ms Warren has claimed Cherokee and Delaware Indian heritage, although she has not been able to provide documented proof of her ancestry.

The media is treating Warren the way it treats illegal immigrants by using the term “undocumented immigrant,” as if the problem merely is missing paperwork.

But it’s more than missing paperwork for Warren. She never has come clean to her deception, in which she got herself listed as a Minority Law Teacher and Woman of Color in Legal Academia. And she never has released or authorized the release of her complete hiring files at U. Penn. and Harvard Law.

She had no right to those statuses, and she’s smart enough to have known it at the time.