Elizabeth Warren: Guilty of Being White

Elizabeth Warren: Guilty of Being White

Elizabeth Warren: Guilty of Being White

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 3 2012 6:19 PM

Elizabeth Warren: Guilty of Being White

Tim Murphy tells the dark, sad tale of Elizabeth Warren's "Native American" fooferah. Short version: Harvard used to list her as a "Native American" member of faculty. She didn't correct them for years. And she's only 1/32 Native American, at least, borrowing the heritage from her maternal great-grandmother. It's killing her (at least right now), in part because "Massachusetts has a large population of political columnists who make teepee jokes."

A theory: These columnists aren't aware of how non-First Nation you can look and still be accepted by the Nation. Murphy points out that Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker is only 1/32 Cherokee. I'm reminded of a recent White House announcement of Native American hires.

There are actually several firsts in this Administration. Hilary Tompkins (Navajo Nation) is the first Native American Solicitor of the Department of the Interior. Brad Carson (Cherokee Nation) is the first Native American General Counsel of the Department of Army.

That would be this Brad Carson.

Carson held Oklahoma's tradtionally Democratic seat in Congress from 2001 to 2005, lost a race for Senate, and then joined the Cherokee nation as its CEO for business. In 2011, the Obama administration nominated him for the Army job. He's 1/8 Cherokee, hence the inclusion in the "firsts."

Well, hence the temporary inclusion. While I noticed an old version of the Carson item at a Native American blog, the new version of the April 27 White House post about this omits a mention of Carson. Was it taken out to avoid... well, to avoid somebody making the Warren connection?

UPDATE: The answer is "no." The reason this was taken down was because Steven Morrello, a predecessor in this role, was part Chippewa. He was a Bush appointee. He also, to be frank, "looks white." It's not just Harvard that makes claims of this nature.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.