Elizabeth Warren's Native American claims...a trivial mistake...or ethnic fraud? [Letter to the Editor]

Editor's note: The following letter is in response to Richard Latimer's June 20th blog post entitled "Scott Brown's Phony Feminism".

To the Editor:

It was only a matter of time until Richard Latimer unleashed his poisoned pen on our Junior Senator! And it was a corker, replete with the usual name calling, distortions of fact, and winding up with another rehash of his favorite of all time topics.....Jeff Perry!

I do congratulate Mr. Latimer for his receipt of the  "Voted Most Irritating" Award. It could not have gone to a more deserving person.

Mr. Latimer says "Look at the facts.  The allegations about Liz Warren involve a trivial, mistaken claim about having some Cherokee blood, a claim she in fact reasonably believed based on family lore."

Just how trivial was Elizabeth Warren’s claim? Just how mistaken? Or coldly calculated to hammer other Middle Americans in her path to the top?

When the Oklahoma Heritage Hall of Fame elected Elizabeth Warren to membership in 2011, their website provided a biography which stated "Warren, who can track both sides of her family in Oklahoma long before statehood..."

Elizabeth Warren knows and has known her heritage all along. Her plaintive story about Aunt Bea and Pa-Pa when the story broke was as phony as her claim to Native American status. She suddenly was very proud of her heritage, but it was never mentioned when the Boston Globe published her extensive puff piece biography in February, 2012. Why was her treasured Native American heritage not mentioned there along with the minutiae of her middle class upbringing? Elizabeth Warren no longer needed the Cherokees after she reached the pinnacle of success at Harvard, so it was conveniently dropped.

It is clear that Elizabeth Warren DID tell the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University that she was Native American, and that she listed herself as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools Directory from 1986 through 1995. The University of Pennsylvania, where Warren taught from 1987 through 1995, listed her as a minority in a "Minority Equity Report" posted on its website. The report  said she was the winner of a faculty award in 1994, and designated her as a minority. In 1996, Harvard University was claiming one Native American woman on its Law faculty, and a 1997 Fordham Law Review publication listed her as the "first woman of color" hired by Harvard Law School.

Does anyone really believe her excuse that she was hoping to meet people like herself for lunch? If she is so proud of her non existent heritage, what has she done in addition to plagiarizing French restaurant recipes to publish in Pow Wow Chow? Elizabeth Warren has never reached out to Native Americans and she continues to ignore them today.

There is ample evidence that Professor Warren’s Native American claims were not mistaken, as they appear at significant points in her career when minority status carried benefits, which she chose to unethically receive.

On July 20, 2011, the Coalition of Bar Associations of Color adopted a resolution calling for the tightening of standards on who constitutes a "Native American" at Law Schools.

The resolution was passed to ask law schools to require further proof of their "Native American status".  They argue that law schools have been complicit in the committing of academic fraud to pad their minority status numbers.

Part of the resolution read:

WHEREAS, the fraudulent self-identification as Native American on applications for higher education (academic ethnic fraud) is particularly pervasive among undergraduate and law school applicants;

WHEREAS, it is well understood and documented within the Native American legal community that a large percentage of individuals in law school who identified themselves on their law school application as Native American, were not of Native American heritage and in fact had no affiliation either politically, racially, or culturally with the Native American community;

WHEREAS, non-Native Americans who have no affiliation with any Native community nor any Native identification will be deterred from committing ethnic fraud with the requirement that they provide additional information regarding their identification with the Native American community;

WHEREAS, the ABA and ABA accredited law schools perpetuate this academic ethnic fraud by refusing to require sufficient documentation of Native American citizenship and refusing to enforce academic fraud, despite decades of requests by the Native American community;

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Coalition of Bar Associations of color requests that all ABA accredited law schools punish application ethnic fraud as it would any other application or academic fraud;

What Mr. Latimer calls "trivial" is not trivial to Native Americans whose heritage is being usurped by those who use the system to cheat their way ahead.

The Coalition of Bar Associations of Color calls it "ethnic fraud".

Thank you,

Les Molyneaux
Hanover, MA

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