Fauxcahontas' 1/32 Cherokee claim debunked

It’s official: Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren isn’t even 3 percent Cherokee.  Michael Patrick Leahy at counts coup:

The slender thread upon which Elizabeth Warren’s claim that she is 1/32 Cherokee rests—a purported 1894 marriage license application—has been exposed as non-existent. Based on a review of the original marriage records found in the files of the Logan County, Oklahoma Court Clerk’s office in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and the statements of ReJeania Zmek, the Court Clerk of Logan County, Oklahoma, it is likely that the ephemeral 1894 marriage license application never existed.

“In modern times we keep marriage license applications,” she said. “The way they’re issued now, you do the application, then you do the license. We currently do keep records of marriage license applications,” she said, explaining that this practice didn’t begin until around 1950.

Leahy offers a scan of the documentation – or, rather, non-documentation – at the link above, showing us a marriage license with blank columns for the race of both bride and groom.  It looks like the “Cherokee marriage application” myth was launched entirely on the basis of an unsubstantiated claim in a family newsletter from 2006.

The only other evidence the Warren campaign’s mad scramble for documentation has produced is a cookbook edited in 1984 by Warren’s first cousin, and entitled Pow Wow Chow: A Collection of Recipes From Families of the Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, & Seminole.  There doesn’t appear to be any documentary evidence of actual Indian heritage on the part of Warren’s cousin, either.  And here I was, wondering if this story could get any sillier. 

The fundamental absurdity of the entire Fauxcahontas saga stems from attempting to claim minority status based upon a single ancestor three generations removed.  If Warren’s parents or grandparents included any Native Americans, we wouldn’t be digging through sketchy paperwork from 1840 in search of proof.

The collapse of the “3 percent Cherokee” claim, which was already a patently absurd basis for Warren to seek special treatment as a diversity hire, led blogger William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection to ask some pointed questions about the professional genealogist who initially supported her:

I reached out to Christopher Child, the well-known genealogist who was the source of the claim, and his employer, the prestigious New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), but they have gone silent, refusing to comment on, defend or correct their claim that Warren was 1/32 Cherokee… The fallout from Elizabeth Warren’s claim to Native American status threatens to drag down not only her campaign, but also the credibility one of the premier genealogical societies.

At this point, any media organization that uncritically repeats Warren’s claim to even the tiniest bit of American Indian heritage is committing journalistic fraud.  It must, at a minimum, be noted that no verifiable evidence for this claim exists.

Warren herself is still at it, hilariously declaring on CNN, “You know, I’m proud of my Native American heritage.  I’m proud of my family. It’s now the case that people have gone over my college records, my law school records, every job I’ve ever had to see that I got my work. I got my jobs because I do my work. I work hard. I’ve been a good teacher.”

Well, okay, but the one thing people who have gone over Warren’s records have not been able to “see” is any evidence of the racial spoils claim she’s been making for her entire professional life.  She appeared on CNN to call for JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to resign from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  As far as I know, Dimon has not been profiting for years from risible claims to preferred minority status, based upon “family lore” and Grandpa’s high cheekbones.

Besides the entertainment value of watching a preening moralist get her comeuppance, the Fauxcahontas incident is fascinating because it illustrates just how lazy so many of our government and quasi-official systems are.  The detective work performed by the bloggers who tore Warren’s claims to pieces could have been undertaken by Harvard University, or skeptical journalists, at any time.  Various layers of prestige and “credentials” were invoked to make actual documentary proof unnecessary.  A lot of people took a lot of other peoples’ word for something that had a significant monetary value.

It doesn’t usually work that way for most of us.  The vague assurances of “experts” are no substitute for duly notarized paperwork when we apply for jobs, loans, and various other benefits.  But Elizabeth Warren said something that Harvard wanted to hear, so little further investigation was deemed necessary… until now.