August 16, 2012

Ryan's wife is part Chickasaw

Republican VP Candidate Paul Ryan’s American Indian Outlook

By Rob CapricciosoOn the family front, Ryan’s wife, Janna, is some part Chickasaw, according to press reports, although she’s not enrolled in the tribe due to lacking historical evidence, and more research is needed to back up these claims. In the age of Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s unsubstantiated claims of Cherokee ancestry–and her reliance on family folklore without any background of having reached out to tribes or Indians, while claiming Indian heritage at institutions of higher education–Janna Ryan’s path here is likely to be scrutinized much more in the days leading up to the November presidential election.

If Janna Ryan is indeed Native, the situation would seem reminiscent of GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2008, whose husband, Todd is Yup’ik and whose children are Alaska Native Corporation shareholders. Evidence currently supports the notion that, like Palin, Ryan has paid attention to his spouse’s heritage, and it seems to inform at least a small part of his outlook.

What is known for sure is that Janna Ryan’s family has deep roots in Oklahoma’s Democratic and Indian-focused politics, with her first-cousin Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., set to become president of corporate development with the Chickasaw Nation at the end of his current term. While Boren is a Democrat, he has put out a statement supporting his cousin, as well as her husband, in the race against President Barack Obama: “Janna and I grew up together and I couldn’t be more proud of my cousin. Like my late mother after whom she is named, Janna is a wonderful parent to their children and will be Paul’s strongest supporter on the campaign trail. Paul has a firm moral compass and has always approached his job as a congressman with diligence and honesty. Having many friends on both sides of the aisle, he is an effective and talented leader. Although we belong in different political parties, I see Paul as a friend, a fellow hunter, and most importantly a family man.”
Comment:  I'm guessing Janna Ryan won't claim to be Chickasaw and no one will pay attention to her heritage in the presidential race.

For more on identity questions, see Justin Bieber Thinks He's Native and Warren:  Conservatives Back Cherokee Protesters.


Shadow Wolf said...

As if the public could careless. Since it's not what you would call "news worthy". Where Ryan's wife is still somewhat a stranger to the public. I am fairy certain, she will not garner the same limelight Elizabeth Warren had over her "claims".

In other words, she'll remain white. And I think we like to keep it that way.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly "news worthy". Plus, I don't know what part of Yupik culture is "be a punchline".