Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren has been under fire for occasional claims of Native heritage, and the latest Associated Press report brings to light more conflicting records. While teaching at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, which she did from 1987 to 1994, Warren was identified as a minority professor. But on an application to Rutgers Law School and an employment record at the University of Texas, Warren listed her race as “white” and did not indicate, when given the opportunity to do so, that she was a minority.
Warren’s campaign is trying to downplay the controversy, while that of her competitor, Republican Senator Scott Brown, is calling for the release of more records. A spokesperson for Warren said, according to the Associated Press, that “At every law school where Elizabeth was recruited to teach, it has been made absolutely clear she was hired based on merit; on her accomplishments and ability.” According to a story in the Boston Herald, University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephen Burbank has said that “her appointment was based on the excellence of her scholarship and teaching” and her claim of Cherokee heritage “played no role whatsoever in her appointment.”
According to a Massachusetts genealogist, the only evidence of Warren’s Indian heritage thus far discovered is a document identifying her great-great-great grandmother as Cherokee, which would make her 1/32nd Native American. Warren has called her claims a matter of “family lore.”