Elizabeth Warren and the myth of the Cherokee princess | Haire of the Dog | Charleston City Paper

Friday, May 25, 2012

Elizabeth Warren and the myth of the Cherokee princess

Posted by Chris Haire on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Chances are there's somebody in your life who claims they are part Cherokee. Of course, this is a complete shock to everyone since the person in question looks about as Native American as Kermit the Frog, which is saying a lot.

But it's true, the true believer says. In fact, their momma told them that their great-great-great-great grandma was a Cherokee. And she was told that by her momma, who was told that by her momma, etc., etc., etc.

Of course, it's always a Cherokee; it's never a Catawba, a Sioux, a Seminole, or any other Native American group. And it doesn't matter that the Cherokee never actually inhabited the region that your associate's family has traditionally called home. Ugh.

I feel for these people. And you should too. For they suffer from a particular pervasive malady known as Cherokee Princess Syndrome. It typically strikes white people, women in particular, but it's possible that blacks are afflicted by this as well, although I would think that's rare.

Apparently, Massachusett's senatorial candidate and noted Wall Street watchdog Elizabeth Warren suffers from this malady, and apparently, it's hampering the Democratic candidate's bid to oust Republican Scott Brown from his U.S. Senate seat.

The thinking man's conservative George Will tackles Warren's affliction in his latest column, noting that the candidate has long maintained Cherokee ancestry, claiming that she's 1/32 Cherokee, but has been unable to provide no other proof beyond oft-told family lore.

Will writes:

The kerfuffle that has earned Warren such sobriquets as “Spouting Bull” and “Fauxcahontas” began with reports that Harvard Law School, in routine academic preening about diversity (in everything but thought), listed her as a minority faculty member, as did the University of Pennsylvania when she taught there. She said some in her family had “high cheekbones like all of the Indians do.”

The New England Historic Genealogical Society said a document confirmed the family lore of Warren’s Cherokee ancestry, but later backtracked. She has said she did not know Harvard was listing her as a minority in the 1990s, but Harvard was echoing her: From 1986 through 1995, starting before she came to Harvard, a directory published by the Association of American Law Schools listed her as a minority and says its listings are based on professors claiming minority status.

So, although no evidence has been found that Warren is part Indian, for years two universities listed her as such. She has identified herself as a minority, as when, signing her name as “Elizabeth Warren — Cherokee,” she submitted a crab recipe (Oklahoma crabs?) to a supposedly Indian cookbook. This is a political problem.

Yes, it is, George. But it's also a medical one as well. Elizabeth Warren needs a shrink, stat.

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