April 28, 2012

Warren questioned about Native heritage

Elizabeth Warren has no reservations on Native status

Brown, Warren spar as records released

By Hillary Chabot and Matt Stout
Elizabeth Warren said yesterday she is “proud” of her Native American heritage and indicated she had no problem with Harvard Law School using her roots to claim her as a diversity hire, but her campaign still could not produce documents proving her lineage.

“I am very proud of my Native American heritage, thank you,” said Warren when asked if she disapproved of the school counting her as a minority woman on the faculty. “These are my family stories ... This is our lives and I am very proud of that.”

The Herald reported yesterday that Harvard Law School officials listed Warren as Native American in the ’90s, when the school was under fierce fire for their faculty’s lack of diversity.

Warren, who will likely face off with U.S. Sen. Scott Brown this fall, said she didn’t know the school has counted her as a minority faculty member until “I read it on the front page of the Herald.”
Scott Brown calls on Warren camp to ‘come clean’

Liz listed self as minority in professional directories

By Chris Cassidy
Despite claiming she never used her Native American heritage when applying for a job, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign admitted last night the Democrat listed her minority status in professional directories for years when she taught at the University of Texas and the University of Pennsylvania.

From 1986 to 1995, Warren’s name is included in the Association of American Law Schools’ annual directory of minority law teachers, according to records obtained by the Herald.

The campaign for GOP U.S. Sen. Scott Brown last night called for Warren to “come clean.”

“This story raises serious questions about Elizabeth Warren’s credibility. The record now shows Prof. Warren did claim to be a ‘minority,’ and that she attempted to mislead the public about these facts when she was first asked about the issue last week,” said Brown spokesman Jim Barnett. “Prof. Warren needs to come clean about her motivations for making these claims and explain the contradictions between her rhetoric and the record.”

But the Warren campaign insisted the candidate did nothing wrong.

“The simple fact is that Elizabeth is proud of her heritage,” Warren’s campaign said in a statement to the Herald. “Charles Fried, the former solicitor general in the Reagan administration, played a key role in her recruitment to Harvard and confirmed that her heritage was not a factor in her hiring. The fact that she listed her heritage in some professional directories more than 15 years ago does not change those facts.”
Elizabeth Warren's Native American Heritage Comes Into Question In Massachusetts Senate Race

By Steve LeBlancThe professor who recruited Warren to Harvard said that any suggestion that she got her job in part because of a claim of minority status is wrong.

"That's totally stupid, ignorant, uninformed and simply wrong," Harvard Law School professor Charles Fried said Monday. "I presented her case to the faculty. I did not mention her Native American connection because I did not know about it."

The story first surfaced last week when the Boston Herald found a 1996 article in Harvard's student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, about student dissatisfaction about the number of women and minority professors on the Harvard Law faculty. In the story, Harvard Law spokesman Mike Chmura referred to Warren as Native American.

Warren said on Friday that she was unaware Harvard had promoted her as a minority professor.

Law school directories from the Association of American Law Schools from 1986 to 1995 put Warren on the association's list of "minority law teachers" when she was teaching at the University of Texas and the University of Pennsylvania.

According to the directories, the list is made up of "those legal educators who stated they were members of a minority group."

Warren's campaign said she was told by older family members that her grandmother and grandfather on her mother's side could trace their lineage back to the Cherokee and Delaware tribes.

"She learned about her heritage the way most Americans learn about their heritage, from conversations with her parents, her grandparents, her aunts and uncles," said Warren campaign aide Kyle Sullivan.
Comment:  No points for the bad pun in the first headline.

We'll see how this story unfolds in the next few days. Until then, I'm withholding judgment.

For more on Native identity questions, see Indian Blood = Black Myth? and Is Chris Brown Native?

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