As we reported last month, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren -- for the first time -- admitted she explicitly told two Ivy League institutions she was an ethnic minority before securing employment as a professor. Since that time, however, she’s failed to renounce her “heritage” or provide a single shred of evidence corroborating the claim -- even though Native American groups have staged protests and demanded an apology. Now, as it happens, Harvard graduate Margo (Kickingbird) DeLaune and her son, Cole R. DeLaune, have penned a joint letter denouncing Elizabeth Warren's self-identifying claims.
Here’s an excerpt, via the Indian Country Media Network:
As an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, 1981 alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, veteran scholastic administrator, and lifelong Democrat, I am profoundly disturbed by the emergence of recent details concerning Harvard and one of its law school’s senior faculty members, Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. Over the course of the past month, facts have come to attention that leave little doubt that the HLS bureaucracy and Professor Warren perpetrated nothing less than ethnic fraud. The development of this saga has elicited a disappointing response from all parties involved and reflects not just a single offense of intellectual dishonesty but, rather, a broader and systemic racial masquerade rooted in egregious insensitivity. Media commentary from both polarities has failed to articulate the troubling implications involved in the deceit in which Harvard Law and one of its most prominent contemporary staffers have engaged for over a decade. I urge fellow Native alumni of Harvard, as well as all American Indians presently associated with any of the University’s schools, to denounce the conduct of HLS and Professor Warren.
The spectacle that has engulfed the contest between the liberal folk heroine and Senator Scott Brown illuminates a willful perversion and debasement of equal opportunity ideals, as well as a chance to see elements of critical race theory writ large.
Of course, abstractions favor the Warren camp. After all, what standards can arbitrate cultural authenticity? To parse the politics of self-determination is, at cursory glance, a presumptuous business at best, and Charles Fried, the faculty member who recruited Warren to Harvard, contends that claims to minority status played no part in her hiring.
Perhaps, in the end, we should appreciate Professor Warren for revealing institutionalized deficiencies at our alma mater that may have otherwise remained unexamined. However, we should nevertheless hold her accountable for the damage she has wrought—by either crassly capitalizing on the plight of the American Indian or indulging in the fetishization of a frequently caricaturized minority group. We ask the fellow Native alumni of Harvard, as well as the University’s current Native students and staffers, to join in supporting Senator Brown. Because when Warren directly facilitates a corruption of equal opportunity philosophy and then disingenuously dismisses valid concerns about her behavior as attacks against her family, she demeans the bravery of our Native forebears who fought so valiantly to resist assimilation and to preserve our various ways of life.
The letter was reportedly distributed in an email to Harvard Native American graduates and the Harvard Law School faculty. Put simply, while it’s unclear how much the letter will impact the Massachusetts Senate election in November, it’s another indication that Native Americans across the country -- regardless of political ideology or party affiliation -- are growing increasingly outraged by Professor Warren’s past conduct.
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