May 01, 2012

Warren documents Cherokee ancestor

Elizabeth Warren’s embattled campaign: Cherokee tie found 5 generations ago

Cherokee tie found 5 generations ago

By Hillary Chabot
Desperately scrambling to validate Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage amid questions about whether she used her minority status to further her career, the Harvard Law professor’s campaign last night finally came up with what they claim is a Cherokee connection—her great-great-great-grandmother.

“She would be 1⁄32nd of Elizabeth Warren’s total ancestry,” noted genealogist Christopher Child said, referring to the candidate’s great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, who is listed on an Oklahoma marriage certificate as Cherokee. Smith is an ancestor on Warren’s mother’s side, Child said.
And:Meanwhile, Warren’s camp issued statements from five faculty members at the four universities where she’s taught, including Harvard Law School and University of Pennsylvania, to knock down any suggestion she used her Native American background to get hired.

“To suggest that she needed some special advantage to be hired here or anywhere is just silly. She was hired for her great abilities as a teacher and a scholar. Her family tree had nothing to do with it,” wrote Jay Westbrook, chairman of the business law school at the University of Texas at Austin, who hired Warren.

Suzan Shown Harjo, a former executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, expressed outrage yesterday after learning that Warren had identified herself as a Native American on law school records without documentation.

“If you believe you are these things then that’s fine and dandy, but that doesn’t give you the right to claim yourself as Native American,” said Harjo, who said Warren might have taken a job another Native American could have received.
Comment:  Warren wasn't filling a Native "slot," and Harvard apparently didn't know about her Native heritage. So I don't think she took a job specifically from a Native.

Documenting her ancestry would be relevant if she were up for a Native-oriented job, but she wasn't. So the documentation isn't the key issue. The key issue is whether we should consider her Native even with the documentation. I'd say no.

For more on the subject, see Warren Column Uses Native Stereotypes and Warren Questioned About Native Heritage.


Shadow Wolf said...


Wow! Anyone could be a "1/32nd". I can be "1/32nd" German. So according to Warren and other great whites, that makes her an "Indian". In Hindsight, that would make me a white man. So that would imply that I'm white like Rob.


In reality, ff I'm going around to tell people I'm white because I have "1/32nd" of Germanic blood and ancestry. Are people going to believe me? Do you expect the white man to believe that? The answer is certainly a flat out no. I look nothing like a white supremacist because I have "1/32nd" of Germany in me. So my "claims" that I am white and privledged, become "offensive" to whites and they will surely assumed I am out of my mind. So to the white man that would mean my "1/32nd" of Germanic blood is moot.

With Warren, the analogy is the same. But of course, she's white and they can be anything and anyone to which they are not.

Oh and by the way, I don't have "1/32nd" German in me.

Anonymous said...

What about her "high cheekbones" remark? How is that not racist?!

Anonymous said...

Strangely enough, Shadow Wolf, Deutsch comes from an old word for "people", diutisc. (The only English remnant is Dutch.) Its opposite was Walha, "stranger".

Anyway, I call it the Ward Churchill syndrome. Even the most blatant wannabe is allowed to infect others with his memes of wannabedom, so long as he doesn't disagree with whoever's in charge. Exhibit A (And she quotes the Chief Seattle speech! LOL!)

Anonymous said...

The 1894 marriage documents do NOT list a GGG grandmother (O.C. Sarah Smith) as Cherokee. This claim was based solely off of a local genealogical newsletter discussing the family's "Cherokee blood" lore. A reference was made to this document in the newsletter (from a second hand source) and the genealogical society jumped the gun and said "a document has been found!". Now they are backpeddling saying they have an "electonic transcrip" and do not have the original nor will they cite their source. The marriage docs can be found here:

These were the only documents associated with a marriage in Logan County at that date. They do NOT list "Cherokee" anywhere. Additionally, O.C. Smith (b. 1794) IS found on numerous documents outside of Cherokee communities, in White society and listed as White. She is also likely the daughter of Wyatt and Margaret Smith, early White settlers from Chatham NC, who moved into east-central TN in the early 1800s (ironically, after the Cherokee had ceded this territory).

Anonymous said...

Documents aren't always correct or available first of all. Sometimes people know of a Native family member by the elders in their family who mentioned the person. There are numerous reasons why people who are part Native just say they're Native. People are not blood quantum and fractions. It's a family member from way back when a human being. If Warren wants to consider herself Native and also deal with correcting violations against Native peoples in the U.S. then fine. If she's doing it for status & once in uses her white status & forgets about Native issues then you will know exactly what she is.