By one definition, I’m native American, too. And a Hoosier.
But Warren, who is running for Senate against Scott Brown (for the so-called Kennedy seat), claimed to be part Indian to benefit her career.
A controversy has broken out in Massachusetts over the fact that Harvard Law School has claimed professor and current senatorial candidate Elizabeth as a minority member of the faculty based on apparent (but as yet unconfirmed) Native American ancestry. The Brown camp seems to think this is big news [update: the campaign has called on her to apologize for allowing Harvard to claim her as a "minority"; this, as we'll see, doesn't make any sense, because at the time Warren was claiming herself as a minority, and Harvard was only following her lead], Warren responds that she’s unaware that Harvard claimed her as a minority professor, but that she’s proud of her Indian ancestry. Her colleague Charles Fried, who was chair of the appointments committee when she was hired, claims that Warren’s Native American ancestry never came up in the hiring process, and that he only became aware of it later.
My contribution to this controversy is that there seems to be some disingenuousness going on. Warren says that she could not “recall” ever listing her Native American background when applying for college or a job.
The old AALS Directory of Faculty guides are online (through academic libraries) at Hein Online. The directories starting listing minority faculty in an appendix in 1986. There’s Elizabeth Warren, listed as a professor at Texas. I spot-checked three additional directories from when she was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, including 1995-96, the year Harvard offered her a position. Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Warren.
So, we know one thing with almost 100% certainty: Elizabeth Warren identified herself as a minority law professor. We know something else with 90%+ certainty: (at least some) folks at Harvard were almost certainly aware that she identified as a minority law professor, though they may not have known which ethnic group she claimed to be belong to, and it may not have played any role in her hiring…