The $69 Question Senator Warren Chooses to Ignore
For just $69, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren could settle the question of her ancestry once and for all.
That is the sale price (regularly $99) that Ancestry DNA is charging for searching your family genealogy.
Millions of Americans have done it, either through Ancestry, 23andMe or some other ancestry research organization.
Better still, she could walk down the street in Cambridge and consult with fellow Harvard educator Henry Louis Gates Jr., who hosts the popular and fascinating PBS television program “Finding Your Roots.”
The Gates program traces genetic code and bloodlines that confirm or debunks long held beliefs about ancestry.
Either way it could determine claims by Sen. Elizabeth Warren that she has Native American roots, was descended from Cherokee Indians, and was not your typical white person, as Barack Obama would say.
This claim gave the blonde, blue-eyed Oklahoma native minority status. She listed herself as a minority in the legal directory of the Association of American Law Schools from 1986 to 1995. She was also listed as Native American in federal forms filed by Pennsylvania and Harvard law schools, where she was hired.
So, despite her denials, Warren benefited in the hiring process at these institutions which at the time were seeking minorities to add to their staffs.
Most likely, though, an intelligent person like Warren has already taken the DNA test, especially after her unsubstantiated claim became a campaign issue for the U.S. Senate in 2012 when she defeated incumbent Republican Scott Brown.
Rather than documenting Cherokee Indian roots, the DNA test just might have found that Warren was just another typical white person of Irish, English, or Scottish ancestry.
The issue could have been buried a long time ago if Warren had been more transparent and honest.
Instead she is trying to have it both ways by splitting hairs. In an ingratiating speech last week before the National Conference of American Indians, Warren attacked President Donald Trump for calling her “Pocahontas.”
She then gave the audience a history lesson about Pocahontas, as though American Indians need to be told who Pocahontas was.
While still clinging to her unsubstantiated Cherokee roots (“My mother’s family was part Native American”) Warren added that she could not prove it even if it is true.
“You won’t find my family members on any rolls, and I am not enrolled in a tribe. And I want to make something clear. I respect that distinction. I understand that tribal membership is determined by tribes -- and only by tribes. I never used my family tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to advance my career,” she said.
In other words, although she is part Native American through her mother, she will not join any tribe. The reason she will not is that they will not accept her.
This is like me saying that my ancestors came over on the Mayflower. That’s what my mother told me. I can’t prove it, and I do not look English, but what the hell, it’s what I was told and what I believe.
And if she didn’t use her family tree to get ahead, why then did she list it in the legal directory that was used for hiring purposes? And why did she allow the two universities to list her as a Native American on federal hiring forms?
“O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,” Sir Walter Scott once noted.
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