Elizabeth Warren Says She Used Native American Heritage to Meet Friends

May 2, 2012 5:32pm

Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren listed herself as Native American early in her career because she wanted to make friends, according to a published report.

Warren said that she listed herself as a minority in the hopes that she might meet what she described as people like her, The Boston Herald reported.

“I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group, something that might happen with people who are like I am,” said Warren. “Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it and so I stopped checking it off.”

Warren, a Democrat challenging Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., has faced criticism since the Herald unearthed a 1996 Harvard Crimson article citing Warren as a minority faculty member. Warren listed herself as Native American in the Association of American Law School directories from 1986 to 1995.

Genealogist Chris Child traced Warren’s Native American ancestry to her great-great-great grandmother, who was listed on a 1894 marriage license as Cherokee.

Although several of her former employers have said Warren’s claimed minority status did not factor into their hiring processes, the story has dominated the news cycle in Massachusetts.


CORRECTION: Warren’s great-great-great grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was referenced as Cherokee Indian on her son William Crawford’s 1894 marriage license application, a 2006 family newsletter showed. The document itself was not an actual marriage license, and it has not been located, according to genealogists at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

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