I recently came across this article penned by Jesse Washington of the Associate Press. The article, “Who’s an American Indian?,” examines the claim by senate candidate Elizabeth Warren that she is part Native American.
It’s a fascinating story that touches on the pervasive myth that we all have a Native American ancestor lurking in the branches of our family trees. I know for Black people, that mythical Indian ancestor is always linked to the relative with the ‘good hair.’ Like, “She has good hair because our great-grandmother was part Cherokee.” Sometimes ‘good hair’ is just referred to, in the Black community, as “Indian hair.”
But I digress. Elizabeth Warren is very much a White woman, so she’s not interested in ‘good hair.’ Some people allege she’s claiming Native ancestry to gain campaign votes. Read the story and see for yourself. I think a critical point that Washington makes in the report is that there is a difference between claiming Native ancestry (which many people may have) and calling yourself a Native American because your great-great-great grandmother on your daddy’s side, was part Cherokee.
What do you think, dear readers? Should Warren have kept her mouth shut about her heritage? Do you think if you’re going to claim Native ancestry you should have to do something to prove your allegiance to the tribe? I’m totally listening.