Warren explains Native American listing was to meet people
May 3rd, 2012
02:37 PM ET
2 years ago

Warren explains Native American listing was to meet people

(CNN) – Elizabeth Warren, currently engaged in a heated U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, said Wednesday she listed herself while teaching at Harvard law school as having Native American roots so she could meet others with similar backgrounds.

Warren made the comments while speaking to reporters, according to the website of the Boston Herald. It was first reported earlier this week that the former economic adviser to President Barack Obama listed herself as a minority in law school directories in the 1980s and 1990s.

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"I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group something that might happen with people who are like I am. Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it and so I stopped checking it off," Warren said.

The revelation that Warren listed herself as having Native American roots in the law school directories set off a flurry of reaction from conservatives, who suggested she used the label to advance her career as a law professor. Harvard's campus newspaper The Crimson printed articles in 1996 and 1998 quoting law school administrators hailing Warren's Native American heritage as evidence of faculty diversity.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society provided CNN with initial research showing several members of Warren's maternal family claiming Cherokee heritage. The Native American link extends to Warren's great-great-great grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith, who is said to be described as Cherokee in an 1894 marriage license application. NEHGS gathered that information through a 2006 family newsletter, and says the original application cannot be located.

The society was quick to point out that research into Native American ancestries often relies on oral histories, and that paper documents were not kept for many early generations of Native American families.

On Wednesday, Warren said she was hired at Harvard for her teaching ability, not in an effort to bolster diversity on Harvard's faculty. She also added she was proud of her Native American heritage.

"Being Native American has been part of my story I guess since the day I was born," Warren said. "These are my family stories, I have lived in a family that has talked about Native American and talked about tribes since I was a little girl."

Despite Warren's claim to have embraced her Native American heritage as a child, she has largely avoiding referencing that background on the campaign trail and in her official biography.

Warren's competitor, incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown, told reporters Wednesday that Warren needed to answer remaining questions about the Native American listing.

"I think that she needs to answer the questions that are still lingering out there, that's for sure," Brown said, according to the Boston Globe.

Reached Thursday, Brown's spokesman said they had no comment on Warren's latest comments.

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Filed under: Elizabeth Warren • Massachusetts • Scott Brown
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Iowa48

    A friend of mine was asking why all these Anglos who claim Indian heritage almost invariably claim to be Cherokee. He was wondering if the Cherokee were notoriously peripatetic libertines who got more action than any other tribe. I had to tell him that I attributed it to the popularity of the 1971 song by Paul Revere and the Raiders, "Indian Reservation." with the memorable lyrics, " Cherokee people, Cherokee tribe, So proud to live, So proud to die."

    Another contributing factor of course for the popularity of claiming Cherokee heritage is the ease of spelling Cherokee versus spelling the more difficult Algonquin, Potawatomie, Iroquois, Assiniboine or Winnebago tribes. I think we can all be grateful that Professor Warren did not claim membership in the Federally recognized Oklahoma tribe of Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, as that would have pretty much guaranteed a paucity of luncheon invitations.

    I am inclined to think Professor Warren's heritage is most likely a vestige of her childhood infatuation with Paul Revere and the Raiders.

    May 3, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Nice try Warren... The fact is that you are a FRAUD!

    May 3, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Mensaman

    I'm no right winger at all, but to me Ms. Warren's actions were deceptive, self serving and disingenuous. She could have caused a fuller blooded Native American from missing out on their benefits at school as she skewed the data for the amount of Native American representation at Harvard.
    I don't trust her. I hope another more deserving candidate can represent the Democratic Party in this run for Senate.

    May 3, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Tony in Maine

    Warren is from Oklahoma. That's why Cherokee. It would be odd for her to claim Haida blood. Now, if this is all the rightwingnuts can find, may I suggest they for a circular firing squad again and finish the job the Tea Party began a couple of years ago. The Whigs await you in the trash bin of history.

    May 3, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "I hope another more deserving candidate can represent the Democratic Party in this run for Senate."

    No you don't. Man, what does it take for us to convince you guys how obvious the pretense is?

    May 3, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Harvard's campus newspaper The Crimson printed articles in 1996 and 1998 quoting law school administrators hailing Warren's Native American heritage as evidence of faculty diversity.
    =============================================================================================
    So did she take any action to correct the record or tell the truth back then? No. This woman is just another slimey well healed liberal trying to use the laws mean't for minorities to gain an advantage and look like one of the unwashed masses that she looks down her nose at. Fraud, fraud, fraud.

    May 3, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    About time this was reported. Just another democrat phony.

    May 3, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Warran will win in the Dem landslide coming in Nov, than no more republican clowns till 2016, thank god and the teaparty bafoons!!!!

    May 3, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Terry G

    More BS from over educated wacko's

    May 3, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. yolanda

    Heap big dung heap.

    May 3, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. !ST SGT

    She did it like Obama so she could draw more free benefits just like he and his people does. They are continually on handout from the government. So this is the reason some people will vote for him and all ethnic groups will follow suit. Whether it is good for America or not. WHICH IT IS NOT.

    May 3, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.
    the teaparty bafoons!!!!
    ==========================================================================
    The word is BUFFOON... You are an embarrasment to your cause and a disgrace to the failed liberal union run public school system. Now please don't be a BUFFOON and continue to post and prove it.

    May 3, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. PaulCat

    Does she have a Swiss bank account?

    May 3, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. Dean

    She's full of something...and it's not Native American.

    May 3, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    And I'm sure the incompetent fraud in the Oval Office has similar items in his past that are being hidden from the light of day. The LSM will never do their job and get the facts.

    May 3, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Wirad.e Palladin, S. F.

    The real fraud is Sen. Brown, MA, allowing his daughter to stay on his government health care plan under the affordable care act, and then telling people he wants it repealed. What a typical worthless republican.

    May 3, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    !ST SGT

    She did it like Obama so she could draw more free benefits just like he and his people does
    -------------------------------------------------
    Oh Lawd!
    Look who's out! lol!

    May 3, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. Wirad.e Palladin, S. F.

    Aren't flip flopping, lying, tax evading, money launderers frauds? I thought so too.

    May 3, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. Wirad.e Palladin, S. F.

    The senator Brown hypocrisy evidently was not reported on Fox foreign owned media with a 10% hint of Saudi. Hitler would have been proud of Fox media.

    May 3, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Wirad.e Palladin, S. F.

    The incompetent in the oval office went back to Texas in January of 2009. The current president has averted a republican near depression, eliminated bin Laden, brought our troops home from Iraq, saved the auto industry, and created 4.5 million jobs.

    May 3, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Mikey

    @!ST SGT – Are you aware when you look at total taxes collected and total government benefits paid, almost all the "blue" states are net contributors to the Government and almost all "red" states are net beneficiaries. That m eans the people most likely to be receiving handouts are the people who scream the loudest about other people getting benefits.

    May 3, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Democrat Class Warfare ..... wrote:

    And I'm sure the incompetent fraud in the Oval Office has similar items in his past that are being hidden from the light of day. The LSM will never do their job and get the facts
    ----------------
    Exactly where Fox News steps in, who do the research, reports their facts, and let's viewers decide.

    May 3, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Fair is Fair

    About time this was reported. Just another democrat phony
    -------------------------------------------------.
    Warren never said that she lied. She stated the reasons why she claimed Native American heritage. However foolish her reasons they do not make her a liar.

    (From the article):
    The Native American link extends to Warren's great-great-great grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith, who is said to be described as Cherokee in an 1894 marriage license application.

    May 3, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. a little sad

    Fair is Fair

    About time this was reported. Just another democrat phony.

    Why? She is part Cherokee, so why is making the claim "phony"?

    May 3, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Chutzpah

    I don't get it... she says she has Native American roots and The New England Historic Genealogical Society confirms it. What is this but another showy tantrum orchestrated by the GOP?

    May 3, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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