Entries in Native Americans (4)


Scott Brown Challenges Elizabeth Warren’s Native-American Ancestry

Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown issued a statement on Tuesday calling on Elizabeth Warren -- his likely Democratic opponent in the state's hotly contested Senate race -- to release her law school applications in response to the questions about the recent revelations that she self-identified as Native American based on her tenuous Cherokee bloodline.

“Serious questions have been raised about the legitimacy of Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Native American ancestry and whether it was appropriate for her to assume minority status as a college professor,” the statement said.  “The best way to satisfy these questions is for Elizabeth Warren to authorize the release of her law school applications and all personnel files from the various universities where she has taught.”

Warren has faced questions about reportedly listing herself as a minority in law school directories in the 1980s and 90s since the allegations emerged two weeks ago.  Chris Childs, a genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, traced Warren’s Native-American roots to her great-great-great-grandmother, who was listed as Cherokee on an 1894 marriage record.

Warren, 62, released a statement through spokeswoman Alethea Harney saying that Brown was attempting to “divert attention” from his voting record.

“Once again, Republican Senator Brown is shamelessly attempting to divert attention from his record on the issues that really matter in this election, like the cost of student loans,” Harney said.  “Minutes after Scott Brown voted with his Republican Party to double interest rates on student loans, he ridiculously attacked Elizabeth Warren with questions that have already been answered.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which oversees Democratic Senate races, released a similar statement.

“At the exact same moment that Scott Brown was voting with his fellow Republicans to block low interest college loans for Massachusetts students, Brown shamelessly resorts to tired personal attacks aimed to distract voters” said DSCC spokesman Matt Canter.  “Brown’s latest bait-and-switch illustrates just how personally desperate he is to avoid the real issues in this race -- like making college more affordable, protecting Medicare, holding Wall Street accountable -- because on the issues that matter most to voters Scott Brown sides with Republicans and special interests and against the middle class.”

Since the story broke, several of Warren’s past employers have come forward to say that their hiring decision was not influenced by her minority status.  Nevertheless, the cries from her opponents to further investigate the matter have continued.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mass. Senate Race: Warren’s Cherokee Ancestry Stirs Debate

US Senate/US Congress(BOSTON) -- To hear her opponents tell it, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren cheated the system for years.

Warren, 62, listed herself as a minority, based on a far-back Cherokee bloodline. How far back? Warren’s great-great-great-grandmother was listed as Cherokee on her 1894 marriage license, genealogists discovered.

The story has dominated the political news cycle in Massachusetts since it first broke last Friday. And to be sure, Elizabeth Warren has had a horrible week since then.

But amid all of the inquiry into Warren’s ancestry and all of the questions as to why she did in fact self-identify as Native American, two overarching questions still remain. First and foremost, did Warren actually use her heritage to get ahead in her career? And what’s the lasting damage from the story?

There’s no doubt that Warren has an impressive resume. She has taught law at numerous prestigious universities, including Harvard, where she currently serves as the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law.

In 2008 she was tasked with heading the Congressional Oversight Panel to oversee the Troubled Assets Relief Program (more commonly referred to as TARP). She is credited with being the driving force behind the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She made Time Magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People In the World in 2009 and 2010.

Many of Warren’s past employers have come forward on her behalf, stating that their decision to hire her was in no way based on her heritage.

“When the Harvard Law School faculty voted in the early 1990′s to make Elizabeth Warren an offer of a tenured professorship at our School, the decision was based on three factors:  our goal of adding a top-notch academic expert in debtor-creditor law to the regular faculty; her excellent scholarship in that field; and her fabulous success as a teacher.  Her Native American heritage was not a factor in the discussion or the decision,” said Robert Clark, former Dean of Harvard Law School.

The only person who could answer the question as to whether Elizabeth Warren used her ancestry to get ahead is Elizabeth Warren. But Warren’s comments on the topic have not helped her case very much. First Warren explained that she listed herself as a minority in the hopes that she might meet what she described as “people like her.”   When pressed again about the subject by local reporters, Warren said her Aunt Bee used to envy Warren’s grandfather’s “high cheekbones” -- which Aunt Bee used to describe as a physical characteristic of Native Americans.

Still, there is an advantage to identifying as a minority within the realm of academia, says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and a fellow professor.

“It is an advantage to be qualified as a minority if you’re looking for a job, or you’re looking to get a counter-offer,” Sabato said. “So to an academic looking at these facts, it appears fairly obvious why she did it.”

Whether or not Warren truly intended to game the system, Sabato says that damage has been done by this story, and it’s not insignificant.

The good news for Warren? Election day is still six months away, and in politics, six months is practically a lifetime.

“It’s May, the election’s in November, and everything seems vitally important on the day it happens” Sabato said. “And two weeks later we’re trying to remember the details.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Elizabeth Warren Used Native American Heritage to Meet Friends

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren listed herself as Native American early in her career because she wanted to make friends, according to a published report.

Warren said that she listed herself as a minority in the hopes that she might meet what she described as people like her, The Boston Herald reported.

“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,” said Warren. “Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it and so I stopped checking it off.”

Warren, a Democrat challenging Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., has faced criticism since The Herald unearthed a 1996 Harvard Crimson article citing Warren as a minority faculty member. Warren listed herself as Native American in the Association of American Law School directories from 1986 to 1995.

Genealogist Chris Child traced Warren’s Native American ancestry to her great-great-great-grandmother, who was listed on her 1894 marriage license as Cherokee.

Although several of her former employers have said Warren’s claimed minority status did not factor into their hiring processes, the story has dominated the news cycle in Massachusetts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Congress to Examine Use of "Geronimo" in Osama Bin Laden Mission

MILpictures by Tom Weber(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Indian Affairs committee will hold a hearing Thursday on racist Native American stereotypes, a hearing that will now also address the Osama bin Laden mission and the code-name Geronimo.

While the hearing was scheduled before the mission, a committee aide Wednesday said the linking of the name Geronimo with the world’s most wanted man is “inappropriate” and can have a “devastating” impact on kids.

“The hearing was scheduled well before the Osama bin Laden operation became news, but the concerns over the linking of the name of Geronimo, one of the greatest Native American heroes, with the most hated enemies of the United States is an example of the kinds of issues we intended to address at Thursday's hearing,” Loretta Tuell, the committee's chief counsel, said in a statement.

“These inappropriate uses of Native American icons and cultures are prevalent throughout our society, and the impacts to Native and non-Native children are devastating,” Tuell said. “We intend to open the forum to talk about them.”

The Senate committee is chaired by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. Thursday’s hearing will examine how Wild West shows, Hollywood films, and Indigenous-themed sports mascots have shaped the perception of Native Americans, according to a press release.

The Obama administration has indicated that the Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden did not use “Geronimo” as the codename for him, but rather it was the code for the act of capturing or killing him.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio