In June 2012, a group of Cherokee women traveled to Boston to meet with Elizabeth Warren to present to Warren the genealogical evidence that Warren was not Cherokee.
As reported in The Boston Herald, the group requested a meeting with Warren personally to express their concerns about Warren’s claim to be Cherokee:
Four outraged Cherokee activists who say Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has ignored their emails and phone calls will trek to Boston this week in hopes they can force a meeting with the Democratic Senate candidate over her “offensive” Native American heritage claims.
“It’s almost becoming extremely offensive to us,” said Twila Barnes, a Cherokee genealogist who has researched Warren’s family tree. “We’re trying to get in contact and explain why her behavior hurts us and is offensive, and she totally ignores that. Like we don’t exist.” …
What they want, Barnes said, is for Warren to sit down with them and to stop claiming she’s a Native American.
“We would like to see her look at the documentation and admit there’s no Indian ancestry there and then apologize,” Barnes saud. “Hear us. Acknowledge us. Know that she’s brought us into this. We didn’t bring ourselves into this. This whole trip was planned to get a meeting with her.”
Instead, Warren’s campaign lashed out at the Cherokee women:
“Elizabeth Warren has avoided taking responsibility for her false ethnic claims by avoiding a group of Cherokee women who traveled hundreds of miles just to spend time with her,” says David Cornsilk, a United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians citizen, who has created a Facebook group drawing attention to the Warren controversy. “Warren claimed she wanted to meet others like herself while claiming to be a Cherokee, yet when presented with the chance to actually talk to four authentic Cherokee women representing membership in all three of the federally recognized Cherokee tribes; she flees like a scared rabbit.”
Cornsilk, the managing editor of the independent Cherokee Observer newspaper, says that the campaign has made matters worse by denouncing the visitors: “Rather than recognizing the fact that someone might have the intelligence and wherewithal to come to their own conclusions about her claim and pay their own way to visit her, Warren resorts to the oldest political tactic in her book of dirty politics, by denouncing her visitors as extremists, paid shills of her opponent’s campaign or worse still, incapable of thinking on their own.”
At the Democratic National Convention in September 2012, a group of Democratic delegates and attendees who were Native American, including the grandson of Geronimo, requested a meeting with Warren to discuss their concerns about her claim to be Native American:
American Indian delegates – of which there will be dozens at the convention – have asked her for a one-on-one meeting to explain herself, and to allow for a dialogue, which was the motivation she has previously cited for listing herself in the legal directory as a minority.
“I think she owes us that, she owes the Native American community here at least that,” Stephen Lewis, a citizen of the Gila River Indian community, told the Boston Herald at the convention. “That would go a long way in dispelling that question.”
“If you are Native, there is no doubt, and if one has to research to try and ascertain if they are Native American, I would have great concerns with that and I think naturally I would just wonder if that was a vehicle she would want to use to her benefit,” Frank LaMere, a Nebraska Winnebago tribal citizen, also told the paper. “If that is the case, shame on her.”
“If you’re going to claim that you are American Indian and a descendant of some Native nation then you have to represent,” Sharon Stewart-Peregoy, a Montana state senator and member of the Crow Nation, told the paper. “You have to step up and bring those (American Indian) issues forward. That’s what it’s all about.”
Some Indians attending the DNC – even though they are loyal Democrats – were quoted as saying that Warren should not be supported if she has lied about the situation.
“I wouldn’t vote for anybody that is being dishonest, and it’s unfair to our people,” Harlyn Geronimo, an Apache citizen, told the paper.
Warren refused to meet with these Native Americans:
Asked Tuesday at the convention whether she planned to meet with the Native American delegation and field questions about her heritage, Warren threw up her hands in exasperation.
“I’ve answered those questions,” she said. “I’m here to talk about what’s happening to America’s families. That’s my job. It’s my full-time job.”
Warren also refused to meet with Native American Journalists, as reported by Indian Country Today Media, Elizabeth Warren Avoids American Indian Media.
- ^ William A. Jacobson, Elizabeth Warren wouldn’t even send staffer to meet Cherokee Women, Legal Insurrection, June 22, 2012
- ^ Chris Cassidy, Cherokee, Warren showdown, Source, June 18, 2012
- ^ Rob Capriccioso, Cherokee Women Try to Meet With Elizabeth Warren; Campaign Offends Them, Indian Country Today, Oct. 4, 2012
- ^ William A. Jacobson, Cherokees travel to Mass but Elizabeth Warren refuses to meet them, Legal Insurrection, June 18, 2012
- ^ Rob Capriccioso, Cherokee Women Try to Meet With Elizabeth Warren; Campaign Offends Them, Indian Country Today Media Network, June 20, 2012
- ^ Rob Capriccioso, Elizabeth Warren Facing Criticism at Democratic National Convention from American Indian Delegates, Indian Country Today Media Network, September 4, 2012
- ^ Callum Borchers, Elizabeth Warren campaign says Native American Council has not sought meeting to discuss heritage claim, Boston.com, Sept. 4, 2012
- ^ Rob Capriccioso, Elizabeth Warren Avoids American Indian Media, Indian Country Today Media Network, May 31, 2012