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Chief Bill John Baker Speaks to WatchdogWire About Elizabeth Warren

"Indiangate" Controversy

September 5, 2012

CHARLOTTE–Just hours after a conservative-leaning legal blog released a new web video documenting Elizabeth Warren’s controversial claims of Cherokee ancestry, Chief Bill John Baker of the Cherokee Nation spoke to Watchdog Wire about the Massachusetts Senate candidate.

“She never said she was a member of the Cherokee Nation. She grew up in Oklahoma. She said she had Native American ancestors. I wish every Congressman and Senator in the U.S. had a kinship, or felt a kinship, to the Cherokee Nation,” Chief Baker said Tuesday afternoon in a personal interview just outside the doors of Charlotte Convention Center, one of the primary facilities of the Democratic National Convention.

Not all members of the Cherokee Nation are as willing as Chief Baker to give Warren a pass. In May, some members of the tribe launched a website called “Cherokees Demand Truth From Elizabeth Warren.” The site focuses on the numerous discrepancies and inaccuracies in Warren’s claims of Cherokee blood.

Legal Insurrection, a blog project of Prof. William Jacobson of Cornell Law School which discusses legal and political issues from a conservative point of view, posted the web ad in advance of the nationally-televised speech Warren will deliver tonight. The video is a collection of news clips and raw footage of Warren, and casts the Harvard Law School professor in a negative light.

Warren’s scandal, dubbed “Indiangate,” exploded in April when the Boston Herald reported that Harvard had listed Warren as a minority in their legal directory. After denying any knowledge of this listing for over a month, Warren reversed course and admitted in May that she had told Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania that she was Native American. Warren has not produced any credible evidence of Cherokee ancestry.

Warren is running against Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. A darling of the American left, Warren has raised over $15 million for her campaign, but trails Brown by 5 points in recent polling.

It is worth noting that Warren claims to be 1/32 Cherokee–the same amount of Native American blood that Chief Baker has, although there are no questions about the validity of the Chief’s Cherokee heritage.

Chief Baker will be in the Time Warner Cable Arena for Warren’s speech tonight. He is serving as a delegate for Oklahoma, and is enthusiastic in his support for the President, but isn’t as happy about the lack of love the DNC is showing for Oklahoma.

“No, Oklahoma’s really not [getting the attention it deserves.] We’re not going to have a very good seat at the convention,” the Chief said. “But President Obama has been the best President in the history of the United States for Indian issues and for Indian country.”



Kevin Palmer

Staff writer at Franklin Center. Contact me at kevin@watchdogwire.com

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