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No, Elizabeth Warren cannot prove she’s Native American merely by taking a DNA test

No, Elizabeth Warren cannot prove she’s Native American merely by taking a DNA test

“Q. But you would not call yourself a racial minority? A. The legal qualifications, no.”

Elizabeth’s Warren’s Native American/Cherokee Controversy is not going away.

As she prepares for a 2020 presidential run, Warren tried to deal with it by doubling-down on claim to be Native American in speech to Native American group.

I called it an attempt by Warren to “bear hug” Pocahontas, to try to get so close to the issue that she turned a negative into a positive.

Warren thus sought not just to deflect the historical evidence as to her own conduct, but to reset the media narrative to one in which Warren would not be an exploiter of Native Americans, but their champion.

Politico has characterized it as part of Warren’s stealth campaign to shed ‘Pocahontas’.

Did it work? By all appearances, no.

Despite Warren’s tactics, or perhaps because of them, the Editorial Board of The Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts called on Warren to resolve the issue by taking a DNA test:

… Since the news of her background came out, rather than renounce her claim, she has taken the course of fully embracing it — championing native causes, speaking to native groups of their pride and deriding their treatment at the hands of the U.S. government.

…. Therefore, we offer a simple suggestion that could not even have been contemplated when Warren first listed her heritage on an employment form.

The same technology that can match a perpetrator to a crime with virtually 100 percent certainty could settle the question of her heritage for all time.

There are now so many commercial DNA heritage-tracking labs in business that they advertise on television. The going rate for one of the most popular tests is $99. All the senator needs to do is spit into a tube, wait a few weeks and get her answer. No matter if the test came up negative or positive, it would constitute a plus for Warren and her political hopes.

Were she to test positive for Native American DNA, it would permanently resolve the issue — while possibly shutting down President Trump.

Should the test come up negative, it would be an opportunity for the senator to perform an act rarely seen among politicians: an admission of her error and a full-throated apology to Native American tribes and anyone else offended by her spurious claim. By facing the truth and taking responsibility for it, she would disarm her enemies and show potential voters that she was human and capable of mistakes, just like them. Handled properly, it could become a testimonial to her integrity and truthfulness at a time when that quality is in short supply among the nation’s leadership.

So we call upon our senior senator to screw up her courage and take the spit test. If she already has but is keeping the results under wraps, we urge her to be forthcoming with them. She has nothing to lose but her Achilles’ heel.

This demand for a DNA test has been made by one of Warren’s 2018 Senate race challengers as well as others. Joan Venocchi at The Boston Globe also made the argument, Taking a DNA test could solve at least one of Elizabeth Warren’s problems.

This claim that all Warren need do is show any Native American DNA, no matter how small, reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of Warren’s claim to be Native American for employment purposes. Under clear EEOC and Harvard standards, Native American ancestry would not be sufficient to claim Native American status for employment purposes, which is what Warren did.

I addressed this issue in 2012, At debate Elizabeth Warren needs to disclose if she made false federal filings:

There is a standard and long-standing definition of Native American for employment reporting.  That definition, as currently used by Harvard and presumably used by Harvard during all or most of Warren’s employment, requires a representation of actual Native American ancestry and cultural identificaion either through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

This is the same definition used by the EEOC.

Warren never has had any proof to demonstrate actual origins in the original peoples of North America.  It is an objective test.  Family lore is not proof of actual origin.

But equally or even more important, Warren never even pretended to meet the second and necessary part of the test, identification through affiliation with a tribe or community recognition.

Warren does not claim and never has claimed tribal membership, or involvment with any Native American community. Warren never sought tribal membership, never participated in Native American groups on or off campus. Warren never even participated in Native American Bar Associations or legal issues.

We do not know what the Harvard and federal forms filled out by Warren said at the time she signed them, because neither Warren nor Harvard will release the records  of what Warren signed and what Harvard filed with the federal government based on Warren’s representations….

But we have every reason to believe that the definition now on Harvard’s forms was on the forms when Warren signed them, and if that is the case, then Warren misrepresented herself to Harvard and participated in having Harvard make false federal filings.

It seems likely Warren was aware of this legal definition, as she admitted in an interview in 2012 that she did not meet the legal definition of being a minority (under EEOC definitions, American Indian is one of the “Minority” listed groups.)

Q.  But you would not call yourself a racial minority?

A.  The legal qualifications, no.

Warren’s claim to be Native American when filling out forms for a law professor directory used for hiring purposes in the 1980s and early 1990s landed her on the short list of “Minority Law Teachers,” a distinction she had admitted she did not qualify for under the legal test:

If Warren can show she truly is a descendant of the original peoples of North America via a DNA test, that’s the start, not the end. She will not have proven she was justified in claiming Native American status for employment (and career advancement) purposes. She still would have to prove the second part of the test, that she maintained cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

Regardless of DNA, Warren cannot show cultural identification. Until her recent speech, Warren never associated with Native Americans.

Demanding Warren take a DNA test is politically understandable. A negative result would completely eliminate her claim to be Native American.

But a positive DNA result would not retroactively justify Warren misusing Native American identification to try to advance her career.

UPDATE 3-10-2018: Doesn’t seem like Warren is anxious to take a DNA test, but ultimately it wouldn’t prove what she would want to prove. I think she knows that.


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notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | March 9, 2018 at 7:13 pm

By Harvard’s definition of “native American” for employment, Lizzie is more likely to prove she’s a Martian, than Cherokee!

Stay after her Professor!

    Based on the LEGAL definition of “native American”, I, my children, and Elizabeth Warren are all “native Americans” because we were BORN in the U.s. My wife, on the other hand, was born in a foreign country, and is a NATURALIZED American.

      oldgoat36 in reply to Alan McIntire. | March 10, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Alan, good point, and maybe part of what Lizzy used to justify her false claims in her own mind. In line with this reasoning, many tribes have moved away from calling themselves Native Americans and gone back to using Indians, very likely for similar reasons.

Fake Indian.

Usurper of other people’s opportunities.

Corrupt fraud.

Fake oath-taker.

Obnoxious a-hole.

Fauxcahontas is all she’ll ever be.

Anything prejoratives missing?

My money says she’s already taken the test under various false names. Probably multiple times at different testing labs. Each one coming up snake eyes.

If any test result had been good for her phony assertion of being a native Indian we would have heard about it. Endlessly.

Like with the One and his SATs, his LSATs, his college grades. If they had been even just decent, we would have heard about his incredible brilliance. But not a peep. Meaning he’s basically a flunkie who’s been coasting through life on AA. His wife has done the same. AA only gets you so far.

    Tom Servo in reply to fscarn. | March 10, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    this was my first thought as well – if she could have come up with DNA proof, it would have been an easy to make all of her critics shut up. She had a shot, since a whole lot of Americans have got some native American DNA and don’t even know about it.

    But she went double or nothing and crapped out. So now she’s stuck having to make lame claims like she’s doing while making excuses for never doing any tests to prove it.

    oldgoat36 in reply to fscarn. | March 10, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Given the heat this has brought to bear against her, I totally agree that she had the test done and it showed nothing. Her problem is she has fought so hard to keep this that walking back isn’t possible for her.

    She gamed the system, became wealthy using a heritage as a stepping stone, and got away with it for a long time. Harvard, like most institutions and companies, hunger for being able to hire a Native American/Indian.

    At my job years ago, one employee was listed as Native American, though he himself never really pushed anything with it. He has 1/8 Native American heritage, and he belongs to a local tribe. The Union found this out and shopped him around using his heritage to get him a better deal, all without his knowledge, because it boosts the Union ideal of having diversity like that. I’ve known this man for a number of decades now, and we’ve talked about this subject. He hated the information being used as he felt that while it got him some good bargaining power, he felt it cheapened his heritage and his own value.

    Liz cheated, (shocked at that, aren’t you? lol), got away with it and became wealthy in part due to it. It helped push her political career as well till all this came down. Harvard and Liz sealing the documents is pretty close to proof that she gamed the system, neither want that to be shown as it reflects poorly on both of them. This is her albatross, and she has no way to escape it.

Even if Lizzy does have some amount of Cherokee DNA, she did not know that when she claimed it. She lied to get the Harvard job and then, years later, she lied about having lied. Having accidentally told a lie with a tiny fragment of truth to it does not change the fact that shes a liar and a fraud.

I always thought the nickname for Warren was “Fauxcahontas” from the get-go. Seems more appropriate for a disingenuous and deluded person claiming a fake heritage.

    oldgoat36 in reply to UJ. | March 10, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    That is my preferred tag for her. Different areas have used Pocahontas as well, which is probably why Trump latched onto that, as NYC tended to call her that. I think the Fauxahontas tag more accurately reflects her cheating through a phony heritage claim.

It’s must be tough being scared to leave empty glasses lieing around lest a James O’Keefe operatro pick it up.

( Big hint. )

Not sure how good the DNA tests really are. I took the 23 and me version, mostly match family lore, but small amounts of Native American, West African, East Asian Etc. Not in family lore. Possibly right, yes. Amount was small enough to be 4 or 5 generations or more back. I would not take, less than 12 percent as proof of Native American origin. I.e. A great grandparents worth.

Having a scrap of Native American DNA is extremely common. Intermarriage was approved of among the colonists, and that was over 300 years ago. More recently you can find many people who are a mix of things like Irish Italian German and American Indian. Having a little bit of native American DNA does not make someone an American Indian in the plain sense of that word.

If she’s only 1/16th Indian, what does it matter? Obviously she has not faced any racial discrimination.

They really need to make her take a test to prove she’s not an idiot.

Shrieking Crow plenty mad she was caught.

Yes. The issue is not whether she has anything more concrete than “family lore” to back up her ancestral claims, but whether she used a counterfeit ticket to board the Affirmative Action gravy train.

While she is a fraud like Rachel Dalziel (sp???) unlike Rachel Dalziel, Fakeahontas didn’t actually care about bettering the lives of the peoples identity she stole!

    gonzotx in reply to mailman. | March 10, 2018 at 9:51 am

    And Rachel has a show coming on Netflix, just like the fraud and Mrs Magoo obamas. I will unfortunately have to cut Netflix, they have totally jumped the snake. So many programs have come out as anti white , anti American, anti Trump, I have had to stop watching, not just Netflix, all of them. One wonders how they stay in business, selling to foreign countries is very lucrative. So they don’t go give a $hit about the American business model.

Being that Warren has been facing this issue of fraudulently using her claim as an Indian in order to get a hiring advantage at Harvard for so long and that she not only remains a US Senator, but a highly powerful Senator with aspirations of the Presidency, speaks far more about our political system than it does Warren. After all, it does beg the question of why voters would continue to support her in light of her blatant dishonesty

    oldgoat36 in reply to Cleetus. | March 10, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Remember what state she is a Senator for, and it was for “Teddy’s seat”. Being a leftist bastion, it isn’t a high bar to cross if the politician has that magical D with their name. Nationally it could make a bigger difference.

Close The Fed | March 10, 2018 at 7:31 am

Dear Professor:

Thanks for the backgrounder on the cultural identification requirement. I was wholly unaware of it.

I’m part American indian, but I don’t associate with any indian groups or tribes.

One would think that an institution which hired her under those false pretenses would be upset at being used.
Harvard seems to be hiding a lot these days and not caring a whit about it.
It’s only when it happens to do with being white, male, Christian that they raise an eyebrow.

    oldgoat36 in reply to lc. | March 10, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Harvard was fine with it, obviously, because they could check off the diversity box. Them keeping the records sealed show they know she used it for her being hired, and they don’t care. It helped them back then, so it’s all good as far as they are concerned.

No DNA test will make up for her taking advntage affirmative action provisions she did not deserve. Perhaps all Americans should take advantage of affirmative action based on what their grandmother may have told them.

They don’t need to meet any legal proof. For the average Liberal, they could care less about legal mumbo-jumbo or even big percentages or small ones. All they care about is that there is one drop Native DNA, to prove she’s not lying. It only costs $99 to get 99% proof as to her family origins. It is naïve to think that with the tens of millions in campaign funds at her disposal all these years, that nobody anonymously sent in a DNA sample from her. I guarantee you 100% that it came back without a trace of native American lineage. If “Native American” appeared on the form anywhere, she would have released the results.

Being recognized as an Indian in the federal system requires that federally recognized tribe recognize you. Unless your parents or grandparents are enrolled every tribe has a process you have to go through to call yourself an Indian in the legal sense. Even if your parents are enrolled you still have to take the steps.

If Warren had any ancestor on the Dawes rolls we’d know about it by now. She doesn’t. DNA from ’23 and Me’ means nothing. It’s about who your ancestors are officially and sometimes things like where you were born. She has no affiliation, exposure, or ties to any tribe. At best she is a ‘wanna be’, at worst an outright fraud.

Henry Hawkins | March 10, 2018 at 11:22 pm

$5 says she long ago took a DNA test on the down low and it didn’t show what she needed it to, so now she’s stuck. As long as she refuses, she’s politically screwed outside of Massachusetts. Good.

harleycowboy | March 11, 2018 at 3:34 pm

If the police can get DNA from a cigarette butt, then getting it from her drinking glass would be a piece of cake. Are there any servers out there???

    Henry Hawkins in reply to harleycowboy. | March 11, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Wait till her next speaking engagement and after it’s over and she’s left, meaning security has left as well, you snatch the cover off the microphone she used. It’ll be covered in her spittle. This is how we took out Democrat presidential candidate Pat Paulsen.