Warren explains delay on her ancestry answers
By BOB SALSBERG | Published: June 2, 2012 Oklahoman 0
BOSTON — Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren said Friday that she didn’t reveal until this week that she told past employers about her American Indian ancestry because she needed more time to recall actions and events of years ago.
Elizabeth Warren, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, speaks to reporters May 2 in Braintree, Mass. AP file photo
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The New England Genealogy Association said it found indications — but not proof — that Elizabeth Warren had a Cherokee great-great-great grandmother, which would make her 1/32 Indian. There are 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes, each with its own rules for membership, according to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. Some tribes require a “blood quantum” measurement of as much as one-half or one-quarter Indian ancestry; others require a certain place of birth or residence.
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, the Harvard Law School professor and consumer advocate also addressed in greater detail other questions related to her family heritage, which has not been documented. She spoke on the eve of the Democratic State Convention in Springfield, Mass., where she was expected on Saturday to receive the endorsement of delegates in her bid to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown.
Media reports surfaced in April that Harvard Law School officials counted Warren as American Indian during the 1990s. At that time, the school was under attack for not having a diverse faculty. Warren then said she was “proud” of her heritage. During a visit Thursday to Springfield, Brown called on Warren to release her employment records. Asked about her claim that she learned about her American Indian ancestry from her mother, The Republican newspaper quoted Brown as responding:“My mom and dad have told me a lot of things, too, but they’re not always accurate.”
Warren said her parents should be left out of the campaign.
“Scott Brown’s comments about my parents are totally out of line,” she said.“I resent him questioning their honesty. My mother and father are not here to defend themselves and should be off limits.”
Warren has maintained that she learned of her heritage through family lore. In the interview, she detailed further what she and her brothers had been told by their parents, the late Don and Pauline Herring.
“My mom and dad were deeply in love,” said Warren, who was raised in Oklahoma.“My father wanted to marry my mother, his parents objected, because she was part-Cherokee and part-Delaware.”
“My parents eloped, in order to marry. It’s something my brothers and I grew up with. We always understood the difference, between our father’s family and our mother’s family,” she said.
She never sought proof of ancestry, Warren added, because she had not felt it necessary.
“My mother was proud of who she was, and it was an important part of who she was. Any my mother is an important part of me