Elizabeth Warren admitted on Thursday, after more than a month of denying and skirting the issue, that she told both Harvard and U Penn she was of Cherokee descent.
The Boston Gl0be reports that the Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate’s campaign released a statement on Wednesday night, part of which read:
“Growing up, my mother and my grandparents and my aunts and uncles often talked about our family’s Native American heritage. As a kid, I never thought to ask them for documentation – what kid would? – but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a part of who I am and part of my family heritage.”
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, according to CBS News, does not recognize a person as an American Indian, unless he or she has had that status approved by one of the nation’s 566 federally recognized tribes. A Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) can be obtained as well, to prove that a person has Native American blood, though it does not guarantee that person has tribal status.
Elizabeth Warren’s campaign statement went on to say:
“As I have confirmed before, I let people know about my Native American heritage in a national directory of law school personnel. At some point after I was hired by them, I also provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it.”
Warren, however, has neither the CBID document or the tribal status conferred upon her, making the claim she made to be Native American Cherokee not true. A group called Cherokees Demand Truth has also criticized the senate-hopeful’s claims as being “harmful and offensive to us.” A statement on the group’s website says:
“Cherokees Demand Truth from Elizabeth Warren is a group of authentic Cherokees and descendants devoted to sharing the truth about our history. Our mission is to help people understand what a real Cherokee is and to show why Elizabeth Warren claiming to be Cherokee without proof is harmful and offensive to us.”
In an attempt to stem the talks about her supposed heritage, Elizabeth Warren’s campaign also wrote in their Wednesday night statement that:
“The people of Massachusetts are concerned about their jobs, the future for their kids, and the security of retirement. It’s past time we moved on to the important issues facing middle class families in Massachusetts.”