Elizabeth Warren, Democrat in a key Massachusetts Senate race, is under fire from Native Americans for claiming to be of that heritage on applications for teaching jobs at law schools.
Warren, whose blond hair and fair skin belie any trace of Native American ancestry, claimed to be a minority status on applications to access jobs at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, according to a wcvb.com report." At some point after I was hired by them, I also provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard," Warren said.
The issue has gained national attention because listing one’s self as a minority on university job applications may or may not result in a job applicant receiving special treatment under affirmative action policies, especially in the era Warren used that status.
"My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I'm proud of it and I have been open about it," Warren recently said about her heritage.
Warren grew up in Oklahoma but the Democrat has not produced documentation for her ancestral claims made on applications. Instead, she claims her heritage is validated through family lore.
A group of protesters led by Cherokee Indians upset about Warren's heritage claims are planning to protest outside the state Democratic Convention in Springfield on Saturday.
In an email from Twila Barnes, an amateur Cherokee genealogist in Missouri has taken the lead with a new website targeting Warren; it states that the Harvard Law School professor's endorsement from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was disrespectful to Native Americans in light of the controversy.
"Elizabeth Warren and others like her must understand our history belongs to us and no one has the right to try to rewrite it or make up fictitious stories so they can fit in it or take advantage of it. Only those who meet the requirements under Cherokee law should claim to be Cherokee," said Barnes.
According to Barnes, the group will be assembling at 10 a.m. on Saturday outside the MassMutual Center where Democrats from across the state will be present, voting to endorse a Senate candidate to officially take on Brown.
Warren’s claim to be Native American on job applications has raised questions about her integrity and shifted the focus of her campaign in recent weeks.