Warren, a national leader in the field of bankruptcy law, hasrepeatedly pointed to statements from deans and recruiting facultyat the schools where she has worked that said her heritage was nota factor in her hiring. In a CNN interview Monday, she called the issue a diversion. “It”s now the case that people have gone over mycollege records, my law school records, every job I”ve everhad to see that I got my work,”” she said. “I gotmy jobs because I do my work. I work hard.
I”ve been a goodteacher.”” Warren continues to say that she is proud of her Native Americanheritage, but she has relied on family lore without documentingthat claim, and more recent attempts by others to do so have notbeen substantiated. Two weeks ago, the New England Historic Genealogical Society citedsecondary evidence that Warren could be 1/32 Native American, butno primary document has been found. For Brown, the strategy offers several benefits. It allows thesenator to shift the subject when he faces potential criticism, andit puts Warren on the defensive when the first-time candidate isstill trying to introduce her message of economic populism tovoters. Beyond that, any impression that Warren gamed the system could hurther with conservative Democrats and other swing voters who aresuspicious of affirmative action programs.
But the intense focus onWarren”s family history and credentials could also backfireon Brown if voters decide he is getting too negative or dodgingissues. The story over Warren”s claim to being part Native Americanfirst emerged in the Boston Herald on the day that Brown and Warrenreleased their tax returns. Those returns showed that Brown hadearned $1 million through the sale of his memoir, which contrastedwith the pickup-driving image he had crafted for himself. Last week, a half-hour after Brown cast a tough vote to helpRepublicans block a Democratic proposal that would have keptstudent loan rates from rising, Brown himself offered his strongestcomments about the Native American controversy yet, calling onWarren to release her personnel records and challenging herintegrity. Engraved Silver Charm
The central question in the controversy has been to what extent, ifany, Warren claimed Native American ancestry to further her career. It is clear that Harvard and UPenn publicly billed her as a NativeAmerican. Harvard Law School officials made the claim in thestudent newspaper, the Crimson, in the 1990s, several years aftershe was hired, when the law school was under fire for a lack ofdiversity on its faculty. Penn made the claim retroactively, in a 2005 “Minority EquityReport”” identifying her as a minority who won afaculty teaching award in 1994. China Silver Charm Necklaces
The award was open to all faculty,regardless of minority status. There is no proof Warren called herself a minority when applyingfor jobs at the law schools, and hiring faculty at each have deniedit was a factor. But without personnel records, the Globe and othernews organizations have not been able to verify whether, how, when,or why she may have told school officials that she had NativeAmerican ancestry. Yet she did list herself from 1986 through 1995 as a minority inthe Association of American Law Schools desk book, which iscommonly consulted by hiring deans. Bangle Bracelets for Women Manufacturer
Warren said she did so to meet others like herself, but thedirectory does not specify which minority she or otherself-identifying faculty members belong to, so there would havebeen little opportunity for other law school teachers to recognizeher as a Native American based on the listing. Portions of Warren”s applications to college and law schoolreviewed by the Globe do not list her as a Native American orminority, and on a personnel document at the University of Texas,where she taught on and off from 1981 through 1991, she listedherself as white. The question of Warren”s genealogy has not been conclusivelyanswered, and Warren herself has reiterated that she relied only onfamily stories. The Cherokee Tribe has said it encourages those making claims to dothe genealogical research, given the number of specious claimsmade. It does not appear that Warren or her family would qualify fortribe citizenship, given that her ancestors have not been found onthe Dawes Rolls, a census of the “Five CivilizedTribes”” compiled in the late 19th and early 20thcenturies.
Earlier this month, the New England Historic Genealogical Societycited a contemporary document suggesting a distant relative, O.C.Sarah Smith, had been listed as a Cherokee in a marriage licenseapplication, potentially making Warren 1/32 Cherokee. But the society does not have the original document, and the Globehas been unable to contact the author of the claim, Lynda Smith,who cited it in a family newsletter. On Monday, the conservative website Breitbart.com reported thatSmith could not locate the original document and was not standingby the claim. Tom Champoux, marketing director for the New England society, saidhis group has stopped looking into the issue, not wishing to beenmeshed further in political controversy. “There appears to be no primary source document indicatingO.C.
Sarah Smith was a Cherokee,”” Champoux saidreacting to the Breitbart.com story Monday. “We didn”tclaim we had it. We claimed that we found a reference from familyresearch that indicated they believed their family wasCherokee.”” The issue may remain unsettled, given the inexact nature ofgenealogical research and the question of whether ancestors listedthemselves accurately, given the risk Native Americans faced. Try BostonGlobe.com today and get two weeks FREE.
Noah Bierman can be reached at .