Looks like the wingnuts are all aflutter because, according to “family lore,” very, very white lady Elizabeth Warren may have some Native American ancestry, and Harvard and / or other educational institutions that employed the professor may have listed her as a minority in faculty directories.
I think this sort of thing happens more often than we think. I doubt very much Warren ever tried to benefit from Affirmative Action or organize a Trail of Tears reenactment as the more disreputable wingnut outlets are claiming.
However, as a pale, freckled white lady of English, Irish and Scandinavian stock who could pass for Warren’s kinswoman, I can attest that I grew up hearing rumors in my own family of a Native American great-great-grandmother, and that I took some pride and comfort in the thought that perhaps all my forebears didn’t appear to be carved out of cream cheese.*
Not that, aside from the need to seek shade during daylight hours, there’s anything wrong with being a pale and freckly WASP. But if you subtract being the beneficiary of hundreds of years of privilege, it’s kind of boring.[*H/T: Steel Magnolias; X-posted at Rumproast]
Not that, aside from the need to seek shade during daylight hours, there’s anything wrong with being a pale and freckly WASP.
Some of us pretty much burst into flames when exposed to direct sunlight. I wish I had some darker ancestors…
Isn’t she from Oklahoma, the state that was once a territory set aside for native Americans (sort of a bantustan, in a sense)?
This also reminds me of all the southern whites who claim to be 1/64th Cherokee (but are actually 1/64th African American).
I understand the sentiment—I’m genetically half eastern-European Jew and on the other side there apparently was a bastard somewhere along the line who had some unclassified swarthiness—but the faster people start understanding that as species go humans are very, very similar genetically to one another, the better.
c u n d gulag
Don’t just be proud of your Native American heritage.
Be proud of your Russian heritage – after all, that’s where the Native Americans came from!
And we should all be proud of our African heritage – because that’s where we ALL came from.
Except, of course, those from “Cloud Coo-Coo Land,” who believe God created Adam 6,000 years ago, and Eve came from his Rib-shack.
Well, the one good thing is that it’s easier for you to generate vitamin D. (Speaking as someone who’s definitely on the pasty side.)
@c u n d gulag:
Romney believes humanity originated in Missouri…
Villago Delenda Est
Being from Oklahoma, which used to be, basically, one huge reservation for Native Americans, kinda tilts things in Warren’s favor for having some Native American ancestry.
My maternal grandfather once told me, as I tanned easily in his Orlando area back yard back in the early 70’s, that this may be due to some Native American ancestry in the family. The other ancestors of course were your usual hodgepodge of northern European types, mostly English…one ancestor served in the Continental Congress.
Now, the wingnuts will be wingnuts, of course. Fuck them.
And, rirr, I also “burst into flames when exposed to direct sunlight”.
Serious question — why do they care? Why does this matter, politically? I’m at a loss….
Suppose she might have *possibly* received some benefit for her Native heritage. Still isn’t nearly as beneficial as the benefit of being a SWCM.
She’s toast if she can’t prove it.
Of course Warren was a Republican during the years in question, but…
Sarah Palin has bragged about the fact that her husband is one-eighth Eskimo, which also entitled him to Alaskan fishing rights that aren’t available to the general public. But that’s totally different.
She was probably “listed as a minority,” if that means anything, on account of being, you know, a woman. Women are still underrepresented in a lot of work environments.
@Bruce S: @SenyorDave:
I’m not sure how one could prove it. My grandmother was supposedly 1/4 Cherokee, I have no idea how her claim can be verified…
Redstate is crying about, among other things, racial fraud.
When is Redstate not crying about something?
Redstate does cry a lot.
The term “racial fraud” fascinates me. Do you think that includes “passing”?
OMG! Do you think that Elizabeth is passing as a WASP?
Villago Delenda Est
Oooh, oooh, I know the answer to that!
Jim, Foolish Literalist
In other MA Senate news, Scott Brown’s daughter has health insurance thanks to OBAMACARE! OBAMASCARE? OBAMACARES? OBAMASCARES?
When talk of ancestors came up in my household, my mother was fond of replying, “Don’t kid yourself, your ancestors were horse thieves who were thrown out of every country in Europe,” which I thought would be kind of cool if true (don’t know whether it was or not).
I too have a great-great grandmother who was a Delaware Indian. We have a picture of her and her husband, who was kicked in the mouth by a mule and had a horseshoe–shaped bald spot in his beard.
First of all, some of our higher education institutes (mine) did take surveys of all employees back some years ago asking if you had any minority ethnicity. Mine is a state school and maybe it only occurred in those who had government funding having to prove they hired minorities.
The truth is GA has 1/8 Cherokee and is blue eyed and fair. He tells of being a regular in his younger days to a Native American club even though he does not claim any of the 8 parts of ancestry and says he is American whenever asked of his ethnicity.
If Harvard is like other schools I know of, it gets extra scratch from the government based on the number of minority group members it enrolls/employs, and would therefore — as do these other schools — actively encourage students and staff to identify any and all minority ancestry in their records. If the right-wingers want to carry on about racial fraud, their gripe is far more likely to be with Harvard itself rather than Elizabeth Warren (although I’m not holding my breath that they’ll ever be bright enough to realize this).
ETA: I see HRA beat me to it, sort of. :)
Reminds me of the extremely privileged kids I knew whose mom was from Madrid. They got scholarships to college because they are hispanic.
I’m another pale, befreckled specimen, and my dad’s family also rumored some native ancestry. My mom always pooh-poohed it probably out of her old-fashioned “distaste” for miscegenation. My dentist, however, asked me one time if I was aware that I likely had some native blood. Apparently the cusps of my teeth (my molars) are shaped in a fashion that is quite rare among people without native ancestry.
I think the conservative obsession with ancestry is bizarre.
I know they’re (again) trying to prove that someone who is accomplished is not, actually, accomplished and got some “special break” that they can then RESENT WITH BITTER FURY but I think it goes deeper than that.
Why are they always peering at birth certificates and looking at “lineage”? It’s weird.
It is no mere humorous stereotype how frequently you’ll hear white Southern boys / men cite a rumored Indian ancestor in order to give them some sort of cred as presumably a fiercely genetically skilled tracker / badass.
The Republican thing is verified by voter registration rolls. Just tossed that out as a minor irony. I’m not questioning her native American ancestry. “Family lore” is enough for her to take pride in a presumed heritage IMHO. Unless, of course, she wants to go on fellow Harvardite Gates TeeVee show and get her DNA tested. But this is a ridiculous issue. They are terrified of Warren and desperate.
What the hell is wrong with being part Native American? At least you’d have a retort to all those “Birf Certificate” crank questions.
My grandfather would tell us we had blood lineage to Pocahontas, although my grandmother would note that Grampa was what was known in the South as a “damn liar”, so I really need to verify this with the Kinzer family tree…
When it’s convenient, Todd Palin claims he’s 1/8 Yup’ik.
There sure seems to have been a lot of mingling, back in the day. More than you might have thought.
@rlrr: I have a vague interest in actually reading the Book of Mormon, but I had to re-organize my sock drawer. At least some parts of the Bible have good writing.
e.g. Do justice, love mercy, and wait humbly for your God.
Those Republicans are the same ones who’d take pride in claiming their ancestry goes back to the Mayflower. Well, guess what? If Warren does have Native ancestry, she outranks you! Her ancestors came over on the Bering Strait ice bridge! So there.
I’m surprised you didn’t post a video for Half-breed by Cher.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Deep down, we are all brown. :)
Except for White Jesus and his cult of followers.
And in all honesty there are no good WASP jokes out there. I mean, how much can you mock paleness, freckles, boiled meats & foods?
@c u n d gulag: Somehow I don’t think the Eastern Asian’s who migrated to the America’s were exactly ‘Russian’.
Mark Lindsay – Raider’s lead singer – actually is part Cherokee.
I have a friend who could never pass for a Native American gets a Native American subsidy for her tribe affiliation.
From her bio on Wikidamnpedia:
Now, I don’t want to cast aspersions, but–
1. Born in Oklahoma? Check
2, Working class, born in the 1940s? Check
3, Family lore says Native American heritage? Check
I’m guessing we will end up with a lap full of wingnut fail once they trace back her ancestry. To take someone born in Oklahoma and speculate that they lied about Native American heritage is wingnut stupid.
But, yeah. The real question is “who cares?” It doesn’t matter, except in the fevered minds of racists and fools.
Paul in KY
Great song. Thanks for the link.
SHE’S OBVIOUSLY JUST TRYING TO GET INTO OFFICE TO GET SOME OF THAT FEDRUL GUBMIT SUBSIDIES TO INJUNS AND GET PAID OFF TO HELP CA-SI–NOS.
I’m very swarthy… in my younger days when I had a pony tail and was doing way more outside than I do now as a keyboard jockey… I would be asked if I was Native American because of some superficial characteristics.
When asked my ethnicity I would always say “Swedish.” Which would make people do a double take.. of course it’s also true but I’m also Hungarian which is where I think the slight off-whiteness comes from…
My wife is 1/8th or 1/16th Ojibway but is much much paler than I am… and no one would ever guess she’s got that much “Native North American” ancestry.
I, too, am an Oklahoma native, and a large percentage of the white kids I knew growing up had some Indian blood. So what? I couldn’t tell you which ones (except the full-bloods), and neither could anybody else unless they told you, because, for all intents and purposes, they were white. Seriously, in Oklahoma, it’s no big deal.
A lot of the tribes are meticulous about maintaining their tribal rolls, and some will include anybody who’s as little as 1/64th on them. (It’s important for division of monies emanating from tribal-held properties, and, I think, a BIA-imposed requirement.) Because the tribes are careful with their record-keeping, Warren knows about her native American heritage. And that’s a shortcoming on her part? This one’s so out there, even after allowing for the wingers’ stupidity, I can’t understand why they’re doing it.
@WJS: The AP just had a flashing headline up saying that Warren’s Cherokee ancestry is documented and legit. On to the next poutrage I guess.
I’d guess most white Americans have stories like this (my family certainly does).
I’d also guess most white Americans who aren’t recent immigrants do actually have some Native American ancestry, though it probably bears little resemblance to the stories if they can’t provide documentary evidence. (“Cherokee” seems to be the universal stand-in in white American genealogical lore for “non-white, misc.”)
It annoys the hell out of American Indians, of course, when white people try to use it for some kind of romantic ethnic cred. But it doesn’t appear that Warren has actually been going around doing this.
CLEVELAND, Ohio – The FBI arrested five men Monday evening, saying they had planted what they believed were explosive devices under the Ohio 82 bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park as part of a May Day protest today.
The five men were “self-proclaimed anarchists,” who intended to detonate two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) under the bridge in Sagamore Hills, but had purchased the inert devices from undercover FBI agents, officials said.
…just saw Beltane’s update saying that Warren can document it. So this isn’t the usual “one-sixteenth genuine Cherokee princess” story, I guess.
Villago Delenda Est
It’s their nature.
I can attest that I grew up hearing rumors in my own family of a Native American great-great-grandmother, and that I took some pride and comfort in the thought that perhaps all my forebears didn’t appear to be carved out of cream cheese.
Pretty much the same story in my family. I was told great-great grandmaw was Blackfoot. Of course I was told a lot of stuff that turned out to be less than truthful. Santa, the tooth fairy, religion… Maybe this is the one that is real.
@Matt McIrvin: From what I’ve seen on the 23andMe forums, detectable Native American ancestry in white Colonial Americans is actually quite rare. Much more common are cases where that “Cherokee princess” ancestor turns out to be a light-skinned African-American ancestor.
I doubt any “white” American could seriously claim to be of pure north European stock, particularly if his family had spent two or three centuries in America. Chances are at least one of his many ancestors was of other stock — native American, African, Asian, whatever.
To make a scandal of this nothingburger, Scott Brown would have to prove that Warren was ever hired as part of an affirmative-action quota for Native Americans, or that she ever got any sort of benefit reserved for native Americans. But he can’t prove that. Four universities where she taught have denied hiring her as a minority, citing instead her prowess as a teacher. So I reckon he’s SOL.
@Matt McIrvin: I can’t find the link. It was flashing on The Guardian, but there has since been some kind of disaster in India which moved the Warren story off the headlines.
When I lived in North Carolina I worked for a fancy southern family, in the greenhouse, which was (supposedly) also a legit business. When I met the aunt who lived on the property (her nephew hired me) she asked my name, asked if I was married (I was) and then said “what were you?” I was genuinely stumped. I thought it was like a philosophical question, so I was thinking “I don’t know-what WAS I- a …person? what could she possibly WANT here?”
She wanted to know my original last name. Duh.
I have a Native American Great Grandmother; not enough to matter, per the government. Mr WereBear has a half-Abenaki grandmother; raised in an orphanage and never got over it. But once again, aside from understanding Grandma, un-pertinent to much of anything.
It’s simply a sign of how xenophobic the Right Wing Base might be that it is even brought up. Reminds me of an episode of The Chris Isaacs Show, where the nutty piano player brags of such fugitive ancestry; and the folks who run the casino responds with sarcastic “join the club” comments. It would be difficult to find someone who isn’t mixed with “something,” even pale folk like myself. I have brothers who tan like Malibu Barbies.
Also, BTW, glad you’re feeling better, Betty!
@Amir Khalid: You’d be surprised. Virtually all Americans of colonial descent (i.e. their ancestors were in this country before the great waves of immigration in the late 1800’s) are of exclusively northern European stock and are genetically quite similar to each other. Population geneticists and medical researchers even use the CEU reference group (white European descended people from Utah) as a stand-in for generic northern Europeans. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/projects/SNP/snp_viewTable.cgi?pop=1409
In my family, and I mean that in the older Italian “family” way, great-great granddad was reported to have been asked to leave Sicily because he was too big an asshole. It sure would explain a lot about some of the descendants.
I’ve long considered myself this, as all humans should (Space Credits to whomever gets the reference):
Well, OTOH, the Mormon thing about keeping up these precise geneological records apparently has been useful for some genetics research (in particular, into the genetics component of some diseases), so there’s that.
I hadn’t seen anything on that, but it comports with my intuition about history and outbreeding.
@Amir Khalid: Those people of “pure” Northern European stock? They laid with the Romans, and whoever else traipsed through their lands. They are not as “pure” as the Aryan Brotherhood wishes them to be.
Oh, I see that, and I get it as a hobby, it’s probably really interesting, but they have all these elaborate theories that are grounded in “bloodlines”. The whole thing they had going where Obama inherited some kind of “mindset” through the blood that predetermines his actions is just odd to me.
@beltane: We reach the point of wingnut fail in mere moments now, do we not?
@Kay: @Kay: It’s a pretty ancient tradition though – think of the countless generations of arranged marriages throughout history that were shaped, in part, by some notion of “bloodlines” and cultivating certain behaviors. Breeding programs, in other words.
I doubt there’s much truth in it, but perhaps some.
This happened to me once (and I am white-whitey-white-white except for the family lore). It’s likely that Warren didn’t even know that Harvard did that — I only learned by accident that my employer had included me in the “minority” list / diversity count based on something I’d mentioned to the in-house recruiting person after I was hired.
Yeah, of course. The “blood” stuff was all the rage…about 100 years ago.
Oh so its not only African Americans that claim to have “Indidan in the family”? Fascinating.
That’s what it reminds me of. Where they say “out of” (female, I think) and “by” (male).
@redshirt: And where does it get you, though?
Upper Class Twit of the Year, chickens who can’t walk because of their oversized chest muscles, and bulldogs who have to give birth through Caesarean since their heads are freakishly big.
It’s just another excuse for being useless half-wits; grabbing at something else, that other people did, to shore up a molecular-sized bit of self-esteem.
My response: So you’ve never heard of hybrid vigor?
Is that really true, though? I thought most of that arranged marriage stuff had something to do with economics and power arrangements.
@liberal: No doubt about that. But the concept of bloodlines played a large part in those calculations too, if you consider: 1. You’re Royalty (or aspiring), and you are because of 2. Your noble bloodline.
Hah hah. I use the “hybrid vigor” term all the time in reference to myself being a (European) mutt. (Though in the big scheme of things, not all that hybrid.)
Interestingly, “heterosis” has been used in an attempt to explain all sorts of things, from the Flynn Effect (good) to rampant myopia.
Yeah, though what did they themselves think they were cultivating genetically? (I don’t know myself.) Seems like they cultivated a lot of things like hemophelia.
Villago Delenda Est
It’s sort of like inverse Lysenkoism, and every bit as grounded in reality.
@WereBear: I read something recently that many Royal families were spared the worst of genetic issues from inbreeding due to the “Milkman Affect” – that is, woman cheating on their husbands and having children from these hook ups, unbeknownst to their Lordly, inbred husbands. Introduce new genes to the mix!
Hah hah. That’s at odds with my (very liberal, Obama-voting-in-2008-but-very-critical-of-Obama) dad who commented that he wished Obama were “more black”.
I think I’ve read claims that at some point, amongst us commoners anyways, the fraction of people conceived under conditions of “sperm competition” was something of the order of 20%.
@redshirt: How does this explain the large number of dumbass Southern ladies who obsess about their precious “pedigrees”? To me, the proof is in the pudding: these people may be racially “pure” but there is not even the tiniest bit of evidence to suggest they are “superior” in any way. If anything, the opposite appears to be true.
Jesus, what were Charles’ conditions for the mate who ended up being Diana? Royal or noble, plus a virgin?
My guess is that, sadly, the instinct to pay at least some attention to this kind of silliness is universally human.
Well, on the bright side, at least that means they’re no longer just entrapping Muslims.
@beltane: Oh, I’m not saying there’s much merit to any of this – it’s mostly tribal bullshit and personal mythology. Clearly, there’s some foundation to real breeding programs (two tall people hook up, you probably get a tall child). This stuff about “in the bloodlines” is just self-serving hocus pocus though.
@liberal: Sperm competition is awesome – the first sport, literally! I was amazed that different sperm exhibit different behaviors. Most rush for the egg, but some actually form a defensive perimeter and will actively attack any incoming foreign sperm. Amazing!
@beltane: The fact that “Cherokee” often or usually means “African-American” doesn’t surprise me at all; the relative lack of actual Native American ancestry kind of does. But it’s far from the only surprising result you can get from DNA testing.
“Sir, he specifically requested two ‘niggers’. Well, to tell the family secret, my grandmother was Dutch.”
– Bart, Blazing Saddles
Villago Delenda Est
The virgin part was really important. I remember a movie about Peter the Great where the display of the bloodied bedclothes of the wedding night was an important signifier that the royal wedding was a success.
Walter White, head of the NAACP from 1931-55, had blond hair, blue eyes, white skin, and grandparents who were slaves.
Ancestry’s a funny thing.
Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor
Yep, this is yawnworthy. I’m half French-Canadian (Acadien, direct descendant of one of the colony’s founders). Unlike the English colonists, the early French settlers didn’t bring a lot of women with them… so most of the old Acadien families are assumed to have some Micmac in them. (Meet a nice native girl, trade a few pelts and furs as a dowry, convert her to Christianity, change her name to Marie and voila!, instant wife!) Nobody makes a big deal about it.
BTW, the local media (WBZ newsradio and Murdoch’s Boston Herald in particular) are totally in the tank for Scott Brown, so this isn’t surprising. In some ways, it’s interesting that they’re starting to throw BS like this at Warren so early in the cycle. Makes me curious as to what Sen. Brown’s internal polling is telling him.
Unfortunately, Sen Brown’s base is the extremely low-information, blue collar contractor –the “This Old House voter” as I keep calling them– so I’ll be hearing every single chestnut at every single BBQ all summer I suppose.
I often wonder why white folks never claim to have any black in them. We know that black folks whose families have been in this country before 1900 have white in them somewhere down the line.
Not as much of a connection between coloration and ethnicity as a lot of people think.
Agreed, although her the conservative wingnuts appear to be trying to work up outrage about Warren possibly falsely benefitting from hated affirmative action laws.
And yet they only do this with liberals. As another poster noted, Sarah Palin had no problem touting her husband’s Eskimo heritage. But presumably he worked hard like a Real White Man(tm) and never sought any affirmative action advantage.
@AxelFoley: It’s ye olde American One-Drop Rule at work. Whiteness is the fragile thing that has to be unsullied by blackness (though Noble Cherokees are evidently OK) lest it be forfeited entirely. Masculinity works more or less the same way.
@liberal: Your dad is Michael Moore? :P
@Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor: You must be related to Beyonce. Her mom descendant of Acadian leader Joseph Broussard. I don’t know why I know this…
@Brachiator: Her daughter’s son is considered native and is receiving health benefits as a native.
I don’t know about that.
First, the notion of “nothern European” stock is pretty meaningless. There are Portuguese, for example, who are as white as snow, but who clearly have African ancestry. This is known because they have the same genetic markers for sickle cell as Africans. Their ancestors lived in areas of Portugal that had malaria, and also mated with captive Africans. Through the luck of the genetic draw, the sickle cell trait that protected some African populations protected them as well.
Early North America was economically bonded to the West Indies (Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis, on of the islands of the British West Indies).
There were mixed race people among the Spanish and Dutch people who pre-dated the English in North America. And strangely enough, Native American ancestry was rarely a bar to be considered “white” in most state with statutory racial codes, especially in Virginia.
And then there are groups like the Canadian Métis:
In America, there are groups like the Lumbee, who often claim “pure” Native American ancestry, but are mixed race:
The And this is just North America. The Americas have been racially mixed since the first Europeans came here. And this probably includes the Vikings.
People, People, can’t we all just get along?
When have we ever gotten along…?
c u n d gulag
Ya think? ;-)
Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor
The Acadien gene pool isn’t particularly deep, but to my knowledge I’m not directly descended from Broussard (Beausoleil!). A few direct ancestors are said to have fought beside him against the English after the Expulsion, but I haven’t been able to verify this.
They didn’t follow him down to Louisiana, though, so despite the blood ties I don’t self-identify as Cajun. Eventually the English (realizing a few decades too late that they had no particular loyalty to the French King despite their language) decided to let them re-settle in New Brunswick.
Somebody got a link to ‘she’s got it documented’?
I ask because of my own family lore, which my sister partially documented a few years ago. Our then-90-year-old great-aunt told her younger sibs and descendants, Mama (my great-grandmother) was half-Indian and was bought by Papa from the white family that had taken her in to help with their kids after her mom died. As in, he met her, was taken with her, and paid a dowry of some kind to buy out her remaining service obligation to the family, as she was 15 at the time.
My sister was able to verify (through banking and property transactions plus newspaper stories) that Papa had been given a one-time veteran’s payment at the end of WWI, that he spent part of it on a wagon and the rest on land, and that some of the money had gone missing with no property or gods to show for it. That seems to verify the family lore about the payment, and comports with the timing of our great-aunt’s birth after the hasty ‘wedding’.
But the part where great-grandma was born to an Indian mama in a cabin in the hills of Kentucky, her daddy was a rolling stone and she was essentially sold by the family that took her in as the unpaid help? Is inherently not verifiable. How would one go about verifying such a thing?
Hard to reply with my tongue stuck in my cheek so far.
There is much here that is also not plausible. But what years are you talking about?
From the 1800s on, when there is talk about selling people, usually it’s about black slavery, not any form of indentured servitude.
One thing that might be of some help is looking at different kinds of records. An LA Times reporter who found a surprising black ancestry noted the following as he was trying to look into the past:
Native American historical societies may also keep records that might be of help.
I am 1/8 Cherokee (along with 1/8 German and 1/8 French and a smattering of a lot of other European genes) and when I was in grade school back in the late 60’s I was offered to take advantage of some federal government Indian assistance programs. Their cut-off line was at 1/16. I never did though because 1) I really don’t look Native American (I, too, burst into flame in direct sunlight – in fact, if I take off my shirt, people are blinded by the white) and 2) I would have felt that I was a fraud when there are way too many kids on the Rez that could have used those programs.
The wingnuts using race against anyone doesn”t surprise me at all. What does surprise me is that in this day and age that anyone really believes that race makes a difference in character and intelligence.
You know, maybe we should make up a federal assistance program for wingnuts who belive in such things….
I’m just hoping that one day my freckles will merge and I will have a tan. I’ve always wished to be solid-colored rather than polkadot. I guess I might have been solid bluish white had I lived in misty northern Europe. Or if there was such a thing as sunscreen back in the misty days of my youth.
@Phoenix_rising: If this was 1815 rather than 1915, there’d probably be court records of an indenture. That’s a little odd for 1915 though. So is a “half-Indian” in Kentucky, at least a real one – although there were parts of the state that were just crawling with “part-Indian” folks who were really “part-Black”, or even more mixed than that – the Melungeons have turned out to have Turkish and Portuguese genetic markers in addition to Black and Native American, as I recall.
In general this kind of thing is easier to disprove than to prove. There probably wouldn’t be a birth certificate either way – Kentucky was one of the last states to require births to be registered. Look at the 1910 and 1920 censuses – to some extent the information is available on familysearch.org, and even natives should have been enumerated. Look for a death certificate – it should give her parents’ names. Look for a marriage license – if they were legally married, even in Kentucky, even in 1915ish, a 15-year-old girl should have had someone sign for consent, and it may have given her parents’ names…and I don’t remember what else was on Kentucky marriage licenses in that time frame. But if the story you’ve been told is true, my guess is that there won’t be a lot of legal records of any kind, and “absence of evidence” proves precisely nothing.
It would be kind of cool to have some interesting ancestry pop up on my family tree, but I’m pretty sure that, like Stephen Colbert, I would pop up as “100% white guy” (or gal, in my case).
I see one person above alluded to them, but if you’re interested in American history and/or genealogy, you should definitely try to see the two Henry Louis Gates PBS shows, “Faces of America” and “Finding Your Roots.” They’re really fascinating and they’re both available for free streaming on the PBS website. Some celebrities have surprisingly fascinating backgrounds like Kyra Sedgwick’s, who’s a Mayflower descendant on one side and 100% Ashkenazi Jewish on the other. One of her New England ancestors was the man who brought the lawsuit that ended slavery in Massachusetts.
ETA: Also, too, during the shows Gates talks about his astonishment when he traced his own roots and discovered that he’s actually majority European — IIRC, he found that he has 60% European (mostly Irish) and 40% African ancestry.
If anyone wanders into this dead thread, here’s a link to the story confirming that, yes, Warren is in fact 1/32nd Cherokee.
Betty, I’m afraid you really started this thread off on the wrong foot.
Do you know who this is?