It's OK If Elizabeth Warren Says She's Native American

Bloomberg/Getty Images
Bloomberg/Getty Images

In his Chicago Tribune column, Clarence Page says that any dispute over the U.S. Senate candidate's heritage serves to illustrate how quickly our old racial narratives are failing to keep up with changing times.


So what if Elizabeth Warren claims to be part Native American Indian? She's entitled, according to historical documents. Besides, Americans never have been all that clear or consistent about what distinguishes one race from another.

Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts is calling on his Democratic challenger Warren to clear the air over questions raised by the Boston Herald as to whether she has used her apparently ancient and diluted Indian heritage to give herself an unfair employment advantage.


At least she's not lying about her background. Historical records seem to confirm that she has Cherokee ancestors. But is her background Indian enough?

That question looms after researcher Christopher Child at the New England Historic Genealogical Society turned up evidence of her Indian blood. A transcript of an 1894 marriage application shows Warren's great-great-great-grandmother listed herself as Cherokee.

Read Clarence Page's entire piece at the Chicago Tribune.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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