There’s no law saying how much Indian blood a body has to have to have to qualify as an Indian, but it’s surely more than Elizabeth Warren’s blood-o-meter registers. Donald Trump is clearly entitled to keep his checkbook in his pocket. He doesn’t want to be an Indian giver, but he doesn’t want to be a sucker for a pretty face, either.
Mrs. Warren repaired to eugenics and higher math the other day, all to prove that she’s enough Indian to be chief squaw on the reservation. She sent off to have her genes examined and they came back with barely a passing grade.
She claims both Cherokee and Delaware blood and Bill John Baker, the principal chief of the Cherokee, one of the five civilized tribes of Mrs. Warren’s native Oklahoma, claims to be only 1/32 of noble Cherokee blood, and Mrs. Warren’s blood test shows her to be either 1/464th Cherokee, or 1/1024th Cherokee, depending on who’s counting.
Kickapoo joy juice is no doubt powerful strong stuff and Mrs. Warren is entitled to her tribal pride, if indeed it turns out that she has something in her past to be proud of, in addition to the Confederate forbears who fought against the Union invaders at Pea Ridge. Her defense for that is that Barack Obama had Confederate forbears, too.
All that proves, however, is that a lot of people have splashed about together in the common gene pool, and anyone who splashes in it will be surprised who they find there. Everyone has a hooker, a preacher and a poacher hanging about there with a bishop or a barmaid, and we won’t speculate what they’re doing there, and if they’re doing it together, but it’s sad to swim all the way back to the 10th generation, and find nothing naughty for the trip.
We’re all kin to somebody interesting if we look long enough and range deep enough. Nobody is entitled to the airs some people are eager to put on when occasion demands. Almost nobody takes pride in the rascals and rogues that made America interesting. That’s too bad. We’ve had a lot of them.
Mrs. Warren apparently has been so stung by the president’s ridicule that she couldn’t think about anything else as she went about putting her campaign for president, which she obviously expects to show us as soon as we get through the midterm congressional election. She still hasn’t explained why, if she’s running as a dowager Indian lady, she feels so insulted to be called Pocahontas.
Pocahontas was by all the colonial accounts quite the lovely lady. She converted to Christianity, married an Englishman and went off to live with him in England. She became the toast of London, a genuine, real live “red Indian,” died there and is buried there. Indeed, Elizabeth Warren is getting ahead of herself to take offense at the comparison.
Mrs. Warren enlisted a Stanford history professor, said to be an expert on colonial blood lines, to find out just who she was. He delivered what Mrs. Warren wanted, proof that is more less, and probably less, that her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-and more-greats, six to 10 generations of great, a grandmother who was “an unadmixed Native American ancestor.” The professor can’t be sure but he knows it was a lot of greats. Too bad, Mrs. Warren. After all that, like it or not, you’re still an old white lady. Not only that, the professor’s study was not even based on “Native American” genes, but something from Peru, Mexico and Colombia.
The whole Warren family lived to the beat of the tom tom. The senator’s mother, in fact, was so Native American that she had to elope to escape the Ku Klux Klan. The Boston Globe reported that Mrs. Warren changed her ethnicity from white to Native American (meaning “American Indian”) at the University of Pennsylvania and at Harvard, both schools where she taught law.
Everything Elizabeth does is in the shade. She wants Donald Trump to pay up on a promise to give her a million dollars if he could prove that she has been lying about her ancestry. But she assumes that she has proved it, and she has not. Her Stanford professor, Carlos Bustamonte, hedges about what was found in the search for her genes. The ancestor she needs might have lived six generations ago, or might have been ten. That’s a lot of range.
Someone has suggested that the president should, in a burst of charity, send Mrs. Warren a check for $976.56, or about 1/1024th of a million dollars, since Mrs. Warren is 1/1024th of an Indian. Any woman, or man, recruited from the street to submit to an ancestry test would find out that he or she is kin to the darnedest people. It’s the source of our nation’s pride.
• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.
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