Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, is in the hot seat. In a document she filed some years ago with Harvard, her employer, she said that she had some American Indian ancestry. Warren did not provide proof of tribal membership - such as "blood quantum" - but referred to family conversations. Scott Brown, her Republican opponent, said that Warren wasn't American Indian because she did not "look Indian."
Warren is the not the only American with Indian ancestry but without "papers." Brown is not the only white American to fall into the stereotype of Indians as having dark skin, high cheekbones, etc. Half of the four million American Indians come from mixed ancestry, and a number are as fair and light-skinned as Warren.
An overriding definition of membership in one of the 500-plus Read More