In a move that could be laying the ground for her run for President, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) apologized privately to a leader of the Cherokee Nation for previously having claimed to be part Cherokee, and for taking a DNA test to try to prove her Native American ancestry. Warren famously released the results that showed that she is actually about as Native American as any descendant of European immigrants, with a possible native ancestor only appearing six to ten generations back in her bloodline. Warren had long claimed that her mother was of mixed Cherokee and Delaware extraction.
Many of Warren’s critics claimed that her private apology wasn’t good enough, as she had long publicly claimed to be Native American. And while Warren has at times claimed that her status as a Native American had nothing to do with her successful career as a law school professor, recently unearthed information belies that claim.
In her application to the Texas State Bar in 1986, Warren stated that her race was “American Indian.” That proves unequivocally that she claimed Native American heritage, and that her previous insinuations that her employers touted her race without her knowledge may not be true. Both the law schools at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University trumpeted her supposed Native American heritage as an example of the diversity of their law school faculty.
The question that remains now is whether Warren has done enough in the eyes of her detractors on both sides of the aisle to maintain her relevance as a Presidential candidate. With a field of candidates that is growing ever more crowded, and in which many are racial minorities, Warren’s gaffe will undoubtedly come back to bite her. And not only is it an albatross around her neck, it will also continue to haunt the Democratic Party, which is increasingly having to deal with racial issues of its own.
Image: Edward Kimmel