Selwyn Duke writes about it here.
One of the laughable aspects of this is that Warren reportedly said that she believed the story of her Indian ancestry based on the fact that her grandfather 'had high cheekbones.' Duke notes this:
''Many critics have called Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren a "racist" for relating a family story about how her grandfather had "high cheekbones like all Indians do." But they're wrong. The comment wasn't "racist."
It was stupid.''
It was stupid, and not just in the way Duke describes it. It is stupid because of the fact that high cheekbones are not a trait exclusive to American Indians; many other ethnic groups have high cheekbones. And it seems, in my experience, that American Whites are the only ones who strangely believe high cheekbones are proof of Indian ancestry.
Here's an example of how many people with mostly White ancestry adopt an identity based on their rumored Indian ancestry (Cherokee, most often, just as Ward Churchill and so many others of White origin claim.)
''The Auburndale resident grew up in a typical American household in Pasco County. But she learned as a girl that her great-great-grandfather was a Cherokee, and that ancestry has always been important to her.
As American Indian Heritage Month begins today, Anderson offers a reminder that not all people who claim American Indian lineage have raven hair and live on reservations. Advocates for Native Americans would like to see the month gain greater prominence, helping others to realize American Indians are not people fixed under glass and relegated to the past.''
The New York Times has this op-ed piece by a 'Native American' professor who makes similar assertions to those in the article linked previously.
''This merits a reexamination of the difficult question of what it means to be Native. Does that make the Chickasaw kid from Buckhead in Atlanta any less Native than the Navajo faculty candidate from Windy Gap? What does a Native even look like? It’s more than long black hair, feathers and beads.''
The article seems to conclude that race is indeed a 'social construct' and that there are no hard and fast rules about who is 'Native American', or who is Cherokee, for instance.
I suppose for a liberal, it's necessary to define things this way, as being 'in the eye of the beholder.' What all the White Indians seem to be saying implicitly is that even a small quantity of American Indian blood makes one 'Native American', even if one is only 1/32 -- and that, based on family legend, not on hard evidence.
But will it be enough evidence for people who define themselves as 'Native American' to collect on any of the money which might be paid as compensation for 'stolen lands'?
''A United Nations investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has called on the US government to return some of the land stolen from Indian tribes as a step toward combatting continuing and systemic racial discrimination.
James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said no member of the US Congress would meet him as he investigated the part played by the government in the considerable difficulties faced by Indian tribes.
Anaya said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and "numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination".
"It's a racial discrimination that they feel is both systemic and also specific instances of ongoing discrimination that is felt at the individual level," he said.''
Did you catch what the UN investigator says in the first paragraph? Whites ''stole'' Indian tribes' land, and must 'return' it. But just as with the slavery reparations demands, to whom will any reparations be paid? To anybody who claims, based on very tenuous information, that he has slave ancestors -- or a 'Cherokee great-great grandmother,' in the case of the Indian wannabees?
How much blood makes one eligible? Are we holding to the one-drop rule when it comes to Indians? Most tribes apparently don't, despite the common belief that it's easy to claim Indian status.
The FReepers discuss the 'stolen land' article and, you guessed it, a huge percentage of FReepers claim to be 1/32 Cherokee or more. A few are obviously joking, but many believe it, apparently, based on family stories and ''high cheekbones.''
It's funny, and telling, that even when a story like that of Elizabeth Warren, or Ward Churchill, comes along, many White commenters shamelessly re-assert that they, too, had a Cherokee great-great-grandmother. Everybody has heard of how this is a very common myth among Americans, yet nobody believes the story to be myth in their own case. Everybody is sure that their family legend is the one that is true. High cheekbones don't lie.
I've mentioned my interest in genealogy, and the fact that I've examined many, many records of various kinds from many families, mostly Southron, and I know that a disproportionate share of Southron people claim to be 'part Cherokee' or occasionally Choctaw or another well-known Southeastern tribe. And many times, in looking at people's records, it is evident that the family stories are unfounded. Most genealogists worth their salt know this, and will warn clients about it.
Sadly, though, most people don't want to accept that the story is most often not true; they cling to it for some reason.
And unfortunately some of the linked pieces play the race card; the story of a Cherokee ancestor is somehow tied to 'racism' or intolerance.
This New York Times article is mostly about people seeking some kind of minority ancestry for the purposes of acquiring some kind of material benefit for themselves. The article is very heavy on racial grievances, predictably.
But here is the issue of the Native American wannabe:
''Tony Frudakis, the research director at DNAPrint, said the three-year-old company had coined the term American Indian Princess Syndrome to describe the insistent pursuit of Indian roots among many newly minted genetic genealogists. If the tests fail to turn up any, Mr. Frudakis added, "this type of customer is frequently quite angry."[Emphasis mine].
I don't know whether Warren truly believes in the distant Native American roots of her family. She claims she chose to identify herself as Native American so that she could 'share the heritage' with others like herself. And there are plenty of them, it seems.
Some want to 'cash in' on some benefit of being of a minority or exotic racial group. Some just want to alleviate the 'hideous Whiteness' of their known family tree. Nowadays, what with Whites being discriminated against and pummeled with stories meant to induce White guilt, it is not surprising that some are trying to opt out of being White altogether. And if you start to believe that race is actually a 'social construct', why shouldn't your own racial identity be constructed by you, based on wishful thinking or shaky family legends? Or 'high cheekbones?'
I guess the actual Indian tribes can forego their usual vetting process for those who want to enroll as tribal members, and just look for 'high cheekbones.' There you go: proof positive.