Brown Calls for Warren to Release Academic Records to Clarify Native Controversy

Rob Capriccioso

In a new wrinkle to the Elizabeth Warren Native American heritage controversy, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., today released his most direct call for his challenger to clarify the situation.

“Serious questions have been raised about the legitimacy of Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Native American ancestry and whether it was appropriate for her to assume minority status as a college professor,” Brown said in a statement released this afternoon. “Her changing stories, contradictions and refusal to answer legitimate questions have cast doubt on her credibility and called into question the diversity practices at Harvard.

“The best way to satisfy these questions is for Elizabeth Warren to authorize the release of her law school applications and all personnel files from the various universities where she has taught.”

Warren, a former Harvard Law professor and advisor to the Obama administration, is challenging Brown for a U.S. Senate seat this November. She was also previously a professor at the University of Texas and the University of Pennsylvania.

Questions have been raised in the Native American community and in the political world over whether it was appropriate for her to claim minority status when she was a professor, yet at the time she had no genealogical evidence and she was not an enrolled tribal citizen.

Native scholars have also questioned whether her promotion as Native by Harvard officials in the mid-1990s may have played a role in preventing Native candidates who are more entrenched in Indian law and issues from being hired at the prestigious university.

Since the questions began to be raised in late April, genealogists have claimed to find evidence indicating that Warren may be as much as 1/32nd Cherokee, but that revelation has not calmed the storm because it is her past actions that are being examined.

Warren has been perceived in the mainstream press to have thus far poorly handled her response to Brown’s allegations, and on May 2 she recalled a story to reporters about a family member saying all Indians have high cheekbones, which has angered some Indians and generated mockery from some conservatives.

Brown said in his statement that he has “released hundreds of pages of confidential employment records relating to my 32-year career in the National Guard, and I would encourage Professor Warren to do the same with respect to her personnel records and previous applications.”

Brown concluded: “As candidates for high public office, we have a duty to be transparent and open and not hide behind a wall of silence in the midst of public controversy.”

Warren campaign officials quickly responded that they believe Brown is attempting to distract the voting public from more important issues.

“Once again, Republican Senator Brown is shamelessly attempting to divert attention from his record on the issues that really matter in this election, like the cost of student loans,” Warren spokeswoman Alethea Harney, said in a responding statement. “Minutes after Scott Brown voted with his Republican party to double interest rates on student loans, he ridiculously attacked Elizabeth Warren with questions that have already been answered.”

Still, questions do linger about the way Warren handled her past understanding of her heritage, and the Warren campaign has thus far not responded to requests from Indian Country Today Media Network for clarification.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



fslafountaine's picture
Submitted by fslafountaine on
Apparently Elizabeth Warren is being thrown under the wheels of the bus for reasons unknown. Republican Senator Brown is not a friend of the Native American causes, and the Native Americans who are against Elizabeth Warren need to identify themselves and clearly state why this is a momentous issue to Indian Country. I'm a Native American who served my tribe all my legal career (now retired).

charlesshirley's picture
Submitted by charlesshirley on
This article is good follow up on Elizabeth Warren. It also clarifies the main point of the previous article about Warren in ICT: Did other, more qualified, actual Native scholars get passed over for teaching positions at Harvard because Harvard falsely believed Warren was a native? That should be one of the areas that needs to be addressed more. Also, there needs to be follow up on Warren's ancestry investigation. Warren and Warren's campaign hired Mr. Child to find some kind of tie between Warren and her claimed Indian ancestry. So far, Mr. Child has not found any one. He did find an Indian fighter that worked for Andrew Jackson in the Trail of Tears, but Mr. Child has NOT found a real Indian. Also, I am thankful that this article is not filled with the ridiculous comments of Warren apologists who falsely claim that Warren has proved her ancestry and if dare to question her ancestry then we are either a right-winger or insane. We had enough of that craziness during the Ward Churchill fiasco. The focus should be on Warren. She is the one who has been making that claim for decades. She is the one who has the responsibility to prove the ancestry. The burden of proof is on her. And until that burden of proof is met, which so far has not been met, then various native folks who know better need stay on the sidelines. If she is native and she proves it then we should welcome her into the community, but she has NOT, in any way, met that very, very low threshold.

charlesshirley's picture
Submitted by charlesshirley on
Dear fslafountaine: You are wrong. The burden of proof is on the fake Indian Wannabee Elizabeth Warren. She needs to prove her native heritage. Period. You need to state why you think the fact that she has stolen jobs from qualified native law professors is not a problem. That burden is on you. Elizabeth Warren is NOT a friend to Native American causes. She has NEVER spoken out on these issues and you have not provided one example where she has. The burden is on you to prove that she is "a friend of Native American causes." Also, even if you could provide an example of where she has been a friend of Native American causes, which you can't, that does NOT mean we should just ignore the fact that she has been lying about her native heritage for decades. She needs to quit stealing jobs from natives by pretending that she is one. She is just a fake Indian Wannabee.

lmann's picture
Submitted by lmann on
Elizabeth Warren essentially stole her seat , simple and plain. Most people are not aware that the University of Harvard was originally set up to educate and Christianize Nipmuck and Wampanoag. You could say it was the first Indian boarding school. One of my ancestors known as James the Printer was the first Native to translate a King James Bible into a Native language back in the 1640s. I know Many Native scholars who should have been sitting where she was. We paid; and our people continue to pay when such fraud is not confronted. We are REAL people- not cartoons or whimsical flights of fancy people can use.