Elizabeth Warren Used To Play Indian; Now She Plays Charades

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/02/14/elizabeth-warren-used-to-play-indian-now-she-plays-charades/

Elizabeth Warren is right about one thing:  President Donald Trump should stop calling her Pocahontas.

The correct name is Fauxcahontas. That’s the nickname Boston Herald columnist and radio talk show host Howie Carr hung on her during the 2012 campaign. That’s “Faux” as in “false.” The point is that she’s a faker.

And she went right on faking during a speech to the National Congress of American Indians on Wednesday.

The speech is getting attention for “addressing” questions about her alleged indigenous identity. It indeed addressed them, but it didn’t answer them.

To state an observation a law professor might appreciate:  Warren’s speech relies on assertion, and makes no argument. It’s not much of a leap to conclude that she has no argument.

In a 17-minute-plus speech of more than 2,000 words, only twice did she mention the nub of her problem:


“… my mother’s family was part Native American”

There’s the sum total of her evidence for her American Indian lineage. There’s no reference to anything in her family tree.

In fact, the only “hard evidence,” if you will, is her contribution to a 1984 cookbook called Pow Wow Chow:  A Collection of Recipes from Families of the Five Civilized Tribes:  Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole — in which she offered as an authentic Cherokee recipe “Cold Omelets With Crab Meat” in terms identical to a recipe published by a French chef in the August 8, 1979 issue of The New York Times. (As first reported by Carr.)

If Warren really wanted to clear the air about her claim to be “part Native American,” she could sit down for a television interview with a sympathetic questioner – say, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC – and address the details.

Or, she could publish a description of her lineage on the Internet, and describe not only why she believes she’s part native (against the evidence) but why the rest of us should believe it, too.

Of course, she’s had both avenues open to her for almost six years, since this topic first surfaced when she ran for U.S. Senate in 2012. They’re both the road not taken.


“I never used my family tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to advance my career.”

Another assertion.

Does it hold up?

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Harvard Law School came under pressure to hire more minorities as faculty members. A law school professor, Derrick Bell, a black man, took an unpaid leave of absence to protest the lack of a black woman on the law school faculty. Law school students staged sit-ins and occupied the dean’s office. Activists focused on blacks, but they also mentioned the lack of Latinos and Native Americans.

When university officials made an obvious point – that there weren’t that many qualified minorities to choose from – that only irked activists more. In March 1992, some students even tried to get the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to give them standing to sue Harvard Law School for not hiring enough minorities.

This is the atmosphere in which Harvard Law School offered Warren a visiting professorship in 1992, and then offered her tenure in the spring of 1993. (She accepted the offer, which was still valid, in early 1995.)

Harvard Law School used her alleged ethnicity as a shield a few years later.

In 1996, when a black male law professor said there had never been a member of the faculty from several groups, including “Native Americans,” a spokesman for the law school, Mike Chmura, corrected him.

Here’s a paragraph from a Harvard Crimson story in October 1996:

“Although the conventional wisdom among students and faculty is that the Law School faculty includes no minority women, Chmura said Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren is Native American.”

Score one for conventional wisdom.

In January 1998, a story in the Crimson described Warren as “the first woman with a minority background to be tenured.”

And what would that “minority” status be? Why, Native American.

Was it a factor in her hiring?

Warren has acknowledged the obvious — that she told both the University of Pennsylvania Law School (her previous employer) and Harvard Law School about her supposed Native American heritage. Why tell them unless you think it will help you in some way?

And even more to the point:  Why would a Harvard Law School spokesman mention Warren’s supposed “Native American” identity as a defense of the school’s hiring practices if it wasn’t a factor when she was hired?

Warren made a number of promises to American Indians on Wednesday, including this one:  “Every time someone brings up my story, I’m going to use it to lift up the story of your families and your communities.”

Well, we’re bringing up Warren’s “story.” Right here. Right now.

Get ready for a “lift up,” American Indians.

And you can be sure it’s coming.

Elizabeth Warren gave you her word.