Warren: My Mother Was So Cherokee She Had to Elope
One side was Cherokee and the other side was Delaware. I never had any reason to doubt them. I never asked for any documentation. It’s who we were.
Ms. Warren offered, in her defense, a never-before-heard tale about her parents:
“In the 1930s, when my parents got married, these were hard issues,’’ Warren said. “My father’s family so objected to my mother’s Native American heritage that my mother told me they had to elope." [emphasis added]
McGrory described the unusual circumstances surrounding the interview:
Thursday afternoon, my phone rang with Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren on the other end of the line, ready to talk. Finally.
On the phone, she spoke sometimes expansively and without the slightest hint of apology about her conviction that she has maternal roots from the Cherokee and Delaware tribes. “I know who I am,’’ Warren said. “I know my heritage.’’
A moment later, in response to a question over whether she took any professional advantage of her self-identification as Native American, she said, “I won’t deny who I am, I won’t deny my heritage, but I didn’t ask for anything because of it.’’
Ms. Warren continued to triple down:
As kids, my brothers and I knew about that. We knew about the differences between our two families. And we knew how important my mother’s heritage was to her. This was real in my life. I can’t deny my heritage. I can’t and I won’t. That would be denying who my mother was, who my family was, how we lived, and I won’t do it.
Asked what made her mother’s family distinctly Native American, Warren laughed and replied, “It was exactly what I said.’’
Asked how Harvard learned she was Native American, Ms. Warren evaded:
Mr. McGrory pressed on until Ms. Warren abruptly ended the interview:
Warren maintained that she never personally wrote herself in as Native American on any documents at Harvard, though she lacked specifics in how she informed school officials of her ancestry. “I’ve never seen any Harvard forms,’’ she said. “I don’t have forms on what they report to the federal government. I know that at some point after I was hired, I let them know.’’
Asked how Harvard came to list her as a Native American while she was a visiting professor in the 1992-1993 academic year, essentially a trial run before she was offered a tenured position, Warren replied, “I don’t recall telling them. But I never tried to hide it. I don’t want to mislead in any way on this.’’
When the question was repeated, Warren said, “I don’t know.’’
In fact, Warren had for many years listed herself in the Association of American Law Schools directory as a minority, beginning in 1986, shortly before getting hired at Penn Law. She had previously identified herself at the University of Texas Law School, her first teaching job in the 1980s, as Caucasian.
She stopped listing herself as a minority in the law directory in 1995, shortly after she accepted a tenured post at Harvard - one that she at first declined. Asked about the timing, Warren said only, “Listing is about identification.’’
At that point, 30 minutes into the interview, aides were beseeching her to end the call because she was late for a speech.
“Nothing happened,’’ she said, in reference to the law school directory.
And with that, Elizabeth Warren was gone.
Ms. Warren’s parents, Donald Herring (1911-1997) and Pauline Reed (1912-1995), were married in Oklahoma some time before 1937. To date, this is the first time that Ms. Warren has offered the story that they were forced to elope because her father’s family so objected to her mother’s Native American heritage. Breitbart News is searching for evidence to corroborate what appears to be Ms. Warren’s bold claim about the circumstances of her parents' marriage.
This morning, Breitbart News contacted a man named Mr. John H. Herring of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who may be Ms. Warren’s 75-year-old brother. Mr. Herring did not acknowledge that he is Ms. Warren’s brother, but he did not deny it either. Mr. Herring was unable to confirm Ms. Warren’s story. Mr. Herring ended the phone call quickly, stating that he had to go to the emergency room and would talk to us later.
Breitbart News will continue to investigate Ms. Warren’s claims that her parents were forced to elope because of her father’s family’s objections to her mother’s Native American heritage and will report those facts as they are discovered.
Michael Patrick Leahy is a Breitbart News contributor, Editor of Broadside Books’ Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, and author of Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement.