As noted in the Boston Globe last week, it appears that Harvard may have run afoul of federal regulations in apparently identifying Elizabeth Warren as a Native American. Whatever the full story, it appears that Dean Robert Clark was not the unidentified Native American on the Harvard faculty according to an interview in this story:
As to her claims to Native American heritage, Clark noted:
When I learned of it from her, I thought it was an interesting side note, because my own family lore through my grandfather was that we had a Choctaw ancestor in my own family. But I never verified it and did not claim minority status. A few years later, around 1996 or 1997, I made an offhand comment in an informal get-together with a Native American student group about this Choctaw family lore. Eventually a law school administrator asked me if I wished to list myself as Native American in some of our EEOC reports, but I politely declined. It was just family lore, and more importantly, I had no identification whatsoever with the Choctaw community.
As the same reporter noted last week, Warren also allowed herself to be identified as a “woman of color” in an article in the Harvard Women’s Law Journal which states that those listed were contacted and given an opportunity to opt out.
Finally, it appears that some Cherokees are none too pleased about all this.