Liz trots out claim on fa­mil­iar trail

De­fense of Na­tive Amer­i­can sta­tus comes cam­paign-tested

Boston Herald - - NEWS - — hil­lary.chabot @boston­her­

With an eye to­ward 2020, Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren yes­ter­day tried to head off the on­go­ing con­tro­versy sur­round­ing her claim of Na­tive Amer­i­can an­ces­try in­stead of run­ning from it — the way she did when the Her­ald first pressed her on the is­sue in 2012.

But let’s be clear — the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign trail-ready speech she de­liv­ered be­fore the Na­tional Congress of Amer­i­can In­di­ans con­tained noth­ing new. In fact, much of it is straight from her 2012 play­book.

“I get why some peo­ple think there’s hay to be made here. You won’t find my fam­ily mem­bers on any rolls, and I’m not en­rolled in a tribe,” War­ren ad­mit­ted, much as she did in 2012. And just as in 2012, yes­ter­day she failed to pro­duce any proof of her Chero­kee her­itage claim.

“I never used my fam­ily tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to ad­vance my ca­reer,” she added, which was some­thing we heard many times dur­ing her nascent Se­nate cam­paign — de­spite hav­ing listed her­self as a mi­nor­ity in pro­fes­sional directories.

War­ren again leaned on her par­ents’ back­story.

Her lovesick folks had to elope, she said, be­cause, “my mother’s fam­ily was part Na­tive Amer­i­can. And my daddy’s par­ents were bit­terly op­posed to their re­la­tion­ship.”

And in an­other 2012 flash­back, War­ren blamed her Repub­li­can op­po­nent for mak­ing her her­itage claim an is­sue.

“They’re gone,” War­ren said of her par­ents, “but the love they shared, the strug­gles they en­dured, the fam­ily they built, and the story they lived will al­ways be a part of me. And no one — not even the pres­i­dent of the United States — will ever take that part of me away.”

Trump, who dis­mis­sively calls War­ren “Poc­a­hon­tas,” got off easy com­pared to for­mer

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, who War­ren ac­cused of call­ing her dead par­ents liars. What was miss­ing from War­ren’s repack­aged ad­dress was ac­count­abil­ity for list­ing her­self as a mi­nor­ity in a top law directory for nearly a decade, de­spite ad­mit­ting she’s “not en­rolled in any tribe.” She added, “And I want to make some­thing clear. I re­spect that dis­tinc­tion. I un­der­stand that tribal mem­ber­ship is de­ter­mined by tribes — and only by tribes.”

With that in mind, War­ren should speak out about Har­vard Univer­sity’s de­ci­sion to list her in fed­eral af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion forms as Na­tive Amer­i­can.

War­ren vowed yes­ter­day to cham­pion Na­tive Amer­i­can is­sues go­ing for­ward. She could start by ac­knowl­edg­ing her own un­proven, mis­guided mi­nor­ity claim.

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