Elizabeth Warren Claimed Native American Heritage to Land Harvard Teaching Job-Disputed!
Summary of eRumor:
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) claimed Native-American status and received special treatment when hired to teach at Harvard.
Claims that Elizabeth Warren falsely claimed she was a Native-American to land a teaching gig at Harvard date back her first run for the Senate in 2012. Warren argues that she is in fact part Native-American and never used her heritage to advance her career. Her critics argue that Warren lied about her Native-American heritage to gain special treatment in the Harvard application process.
Ultimately, there’s no way to prove or disprove claims about Elizabeth Warren’s Native-American heritage without a DNA test. There’s also no way to determine if Warren used her Native-American states, either intentionally or unintentionally, to land a job at Harvard.
Questions about Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Native-American roots resurfaced in November 2017 when President Trump once again referred to her as “Pocahontas.” This time, the president drew criticism for referring to “Pocahontas” in a ceremony honoring Navajo veterans of World War II.
Again, there’s no way to settle this years-long debate. But we’ll take a look at how it started, and arguments from both sides of the dispute.
Questions About Elizabeth Warren’s Native-American Heritage Surface in 2012
A fierce campaign for the Massachusetts Senate seat between Elizabeth Warren and Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown in 2012 brought questions about Warren’s claim to Native-American heritage to light. Warren won the election, but questions about her heritage have persisted ever since.
Elizabeth Warren listed herself as Native-American in professional legal directories in the 1980s and 1990s. Warren told the Boston Herald in 2012 that was told about her Cherokee heritage growing up in Oklahoma, and she’d always been proud of it.
But even more questions were raised by a 1996 report in the Harvard Crimson. Warren was identified as the only Native-American professor in Harvard Law School. That led Brown and other to question whether she’d claimed Native-American status to receive special treatment. They pointed to reports that Warren had not listed herself as a minority elsewhere.
For her part, Elizabeth Warren has insisted that she’s proud of her Native-American heritage. She’s also insisted that she was hired by Harvard because of her abilities — not her race.
Do Elizabeth Warren’s Native-American Claims Check Out?
Although Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Native-American ancestry are based on family stories, no clear and direct family links have been provided. And again, there’s no way to determine her heritage without a DNA test — but people have tried anyway.
The New England Genealogical Society released preliminary research in 2012 that found Elizabeth’s Warren’s great-great-great grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was listed as a Cherokee on an 1894 marriage license. However, the organization later backtracked. The society said there was “no proof” that Sarah Smith was a Cherokee, adding that it “has not expressed a position on whether Mrs. Warren has Native American ancestry, nor do we possess any primary sources to prove that she is.”
If the report were true, Elizabeth Warren would be 1/32 Cherokee Indian. Even so, critics argue that would not be enough for Warren to qualify for federal benefits as a member of one of the Cherokee’s four tribes.