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7 Awful Moments From Elizabeth Warren's Native American Heritage Debacle

The Senate race in Massachusetts has centered on questions about Warren's disputable 1/32 Cherokee heritage for nearly two weeks now. Below, damage control attempts by Warren's side that only made things worse.

Posted on May 15, 2012, at 1:34 p.m. ET


Steve Senne / AP

"I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group something that might happen with people who are like I am. Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it and so I stopped checking it off."

Warren said this when reached by the Boston Herald, who broke the Native American story, to explain why she was listed as a minority in the law school directory at Harvard. Warren's campaign has found some evidence that she is 1/32 part Cherokee.



“I don’t know more than that."

— Warren to reporters who asked her to explain why Harvard listed her as a Native American on May 9.


“Native American has been a part of my story, I guess since the day I was born, I don’t know any other way to describe it.”

— Warren to reporters in early May.



“The simple fact is that Elizabeth is proud of her heritage. Charles Fried, the former solicitor general in the Reagan administration, played a key role in her recruitment to Harvard and confirmed that her heritage was not a factor in her hiring. The fact that she listed her heritage in some professional directories more than 15 years ago does not change those facts.”

-- Warren's campaign spokeswoman Alethea Harney in response to the Scott Brown's campaign's calls to "come clean" about the Native American claims.


View this video on YouTube

Warren, to reporters asking for more evidence of her Cherokee ancestry: "My papaw had high cheekbones like all of the Indians do."


One genealogist found that one of Warren't ancestors may have actually helped in rounding up Native Americans for the Trail of Tears. "This is about politics," Warren said. "I am here to talk about what's happening to America's families. America's middle class is getting hammered."


Warren cited a family cookbook as evidence of her Native American ancestry.

The cookbook was called "Pow Wow Chow," and was edited and published by Warren's cousin.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.