-By Warner Todd Huston
As each day rolls on in this investigation of the claims made by Massachusetts Democrat Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren that she has Native American heritage in her background we are finding fewer and fewer reasons to believe her. Sadly, she is dragging down once well-respected groups with her unprovable claims and Boston-based New England Historic Genealogical Society is one of them.
As this story came to the fore recently one of the main sources that buttressed Warren's now faltering claims that she is part Native American came from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). Famously, or perhaps now infamously, NEHGS genealogist Christopher Child substantiated Warren's claim that her great-great-great grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, had Cherokee blood.
This evidence, Mr. Child claimed, is substantiated by a "marriage application" filed with the state of Oklahoma upon which, Child insists, is a section where this supposed native heritage is noted. This document, however, does not seem to actually exist.
Worse, according to the County Clerk of Logan County, Oklahoma, there was no such thing as a "marriage application" in the 1890s, the era in which O.C. Sarah Smith was married. The clerk said that people didn't get "applications" back then, they just got a marriage certificate and that was all -- there was no "application" process. So, not only does this document not exist, it couldn't exist.
Naturally, the NEHGS has suddenly found that it no longer wants to be part of this debate! The NEHGS has shut down any communication about the claims made by its genealogist. William A. Jacobson of the Legal Insurrection blog tried to contact the NEHGS and found that the organization doesn't have the integrity to stand up for its claims. Sadly, Jacobson found that the NEHGS is refusing to reply to any calls to prove that what they’ve said about Warren is true.
It is sad to see the New England Historic Genealogical Society allowing its reputation to be destroyed by its desires to buck up a Democrat running for office. Of course, Child and the NEHGS get a lot of cash from the state and one has to assume that they are just looking to find favor with a Democrat that they might assume will help them get more public money.
But what this all comes down to is Warren relying simply on family lore to claim that she has American Indian heritage. Now, this sort of foolish reliance on mere family myth is fine when a family is sitting around the dinner table or at family functions and shooting from the lip about their past. But basing legal and moral claims on such hearsay is not legitimate.
Warren has done just that, too. She's used her unsubstantiated family mythos for financial gain. Worse, the university at which she teaches has done the same thing. Harvard University has used Warren's faux Indian heritage to sell its programs and likely done so in efforts to get funding, as well.
Family lore is one thing, but when that lore is used for financial gain and it turns out to be based on nothing but lies, this is something else entirely.
Warren is being brazen about it all, too. Far from shying from the discussion she is doubling down on her fake claims of a Native American heritage saying she is “proud” of that heritage… that doesn’t actually exist.
So, what should we call this woman? Is her Indian name Lies Like The Wind? How about Faux-cahontis? Whatever names we call her, "American Indian" isn't among them.