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Culture wars Richard Falknor on 05 May 2012 11:35 pm

Senate Candidate Warren: Can Minority “Roots” Have A Dark Side?

UPDATES! See Hans Bader here (DC SCOTUS Examiner) “Elizabeth Warren ‘Didn’t Tell the Truth,’ Professors Say,” and Harvey Silverglate here (Minding the Campus) “Harvard’s PR Machine and the Cherokees.” Bader reveals:“The safest path for many college hiring committee members is to consider race in hiring somewhat, but not admit it.  Using race appeases liberal civil-rights bureaucrats and law-school accreditors, but not admitting it effectively prevents lawsuits by conservative non-profit law firms like the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), which lack the resources to sue over anything but the most blatant and obvious cases of reverse discrimination.” Silverglate declares: “So it was not surprising to read that Warren’s claimed 1/32nd Cherokee ancestry was something first promoted not by Warren, but by a Harvard Law communications officer trying to construct a particular perception of the school. Indeed, the Harvard Office of Public Affairs and Communication, and the communications offices for many of the various Harvard-branded schools, put out a number of publications that ensure the entire university stays on message or, more precisely, on image.”

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Senate Candidate Warren: Can Minority “Roots” Have A Dark Side?

“An Oklahoma native, Warren said this week she used the law school directory to meet other ‘people who are like I am’ with similar tribal roots — even though the directory does not specify which minority professors belong to.  Chris Child of the New England Historic Genealogical Society said Monday he found documentation indicating Warren’s great-great-great-grandmother is Cherokee, meaning she is 1/32 Native American. Hillary Chabot (Boston Herald) via NRO’s Patrick Brennan

We have this bizarre idea at Blue Ridge Forum that America should be color-blind and gender-blind and ancestry-blind in the transaction of public business including hiring and admission at taxpayer-aided schools.

Shedding more light on Massachusetts U. S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s claim of “minority” status, Mark Steyn writes this weekend (“Going Native” in NRO) about —

“. . .Harvard Law prof and Democrat Teepee Party candidate Elizabeth Warren, who can’t understand why anyone could possibly get the idea she’s been passing herself off as a Cherokee for most of her adult life. Well, maybe they got if from Harvard’s daily newspaper. From 1998:

‘Harvard Law School currently has only one tenured minority woman, Gottlieb Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren, who is Native American.’

This may be the drollest diversity scam since an Englishman called Archibald parlayed himself into global celebrity as the Ojibwe Indian “Grey Owl.”

Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee Nation

We wonder whether professor Warren had the Cherokee Nation’s history as slaveholders and suppressors of a slave revolt in mind when “she used the law school directory to meet other ‘people who are like I am’ with similar tribal roots . . . .” 

Did she really do her homework on her claimed (Michael Warren in the Weekly Standard) ancestors?

The “Encyclopaedia of Oklahoma History and Culture” tells us  —


Of the Five Civilized Tribes, the Cherokees were the largest holder of Africans as chattel slaves. By 1860 the Cherokees had 4,600 slaves. Many Cherokees depended on them as a bridge to white society. Full-blood Indian slave owners relied on the blacks as English interpreters and translators. Mainly, however, slaves worked on farms as laborers or in homes as maids or servants. The Cherokees feared the aspect of a slave revolt, and that is just what happened in 1842 at Webbers Falls.

On the morning of November 15 more than twenty-five slaves, mostly from the Joseph Vann plantation, revolted. They locked their masters and overseers in their homes and cabins while they slept. The slaves stole guns, horses, mules, ammunition, food and supplies. At daybreak the group, which included men, women, and children, headed toward Mexico, where slavery was illegal. In the Creek Nation the Cherokee slaves were joined by Creek slaves, bringing the group total to more than thirty-five. The fugitives fought off and killed a couple of slave hunters in the Choctaw Nation.

The Cherokee Nation sent the Cherokee Militia, under Capt. John Drew, with eighty-seven men to catch the runaways. This expedition was authorized by the Cherokee National Council in Tahlequah on November 17, 1842. The militia caught up with the slaves seven miles north of the Red River on November 28, 1842. The tired, famished fugitives offered no resistance.

The party returned to Tahlequah on December 8, 1842. Five slaves were executed, and Joseph Vann put the majority of his rebellious slaves to work on his steamboats, which worked the Arkansas, Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers. The Cherokees blamed the incident on free, armed black Seminoles who lived in close proximity to the Cherokee slaves at Fort Gibson. On December 2, 1842, the Cherokee Nation passed a law commanding all free African Americans, except former Cherokee slaves, to leave the nation.”

All of us have to take the bad with the good when we speak of our personal ancestry.  Massachusetts U. S. Senate candidate Warren, of course, cannot be held responsible for the wrong turns the Cherokee Nation took in its history. But we cannot “fix” our complex past by today’s facile schemes of preferences and quotas.

Hers is just another example why preferences in hiring and contracting and university admissions as well as ‘diversity’ quotas show the fecklessness and often the cruelty of such social engineering.


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