Professor Elizabeth Warren, Senate candidate from Massachusetts, recalled being told throughout her childhood that she had a Native American Indian ancestor in her family tree. Professor Warren comes from Oklahoma, a state crafted from the former Indian Territory, a state whose license plates bear the slogan Native America. As a kid", she said, "I never asked my mom for documentation when she talked about our Native American heritage. What kid would? But I knew my fathers family didnt like that she was part Cherokee and part Delaware so my parents had to elope." Warren also recalled overhearing her Aunt Bea lamenting that Warren's maternal grandfather who the aunt said "had high cheekbones like all of the Indians do" had not passed them on to her.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. What does it feel like to be told your entire perception of your family and your childhood was wrong? Madeleine Albright, former U.S. secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 and the first woman to hold that position, knows first hand. Her family fled their homeland of Czechoslovakia for England when she was two years old. She was raised a Roman Catholic and upon marriage she converted to the Episcopalian faith. At the age of 59 she learned that her family heritage was Jewish and that more than twenty of her relatives, including three of her grandparents, had died in the Holocaust. "I was shocked and, to be honest, embarrassed to discover that I had not known my family history better; my sister and brother shared this emotion. Nor was I entirely reassured by the many people who spoke or wrote to me of having had comparable experiences concerning secrets kept by their own parents. I could accept without being satisfied that there was nothing inexplicable or unique about the gap that existed in my knowledge; still, I regretted not having asked the right questions.....From my parents I had received a priceless inheritance: a set of deeply held convictions regarding liberty, individual rights, and the rule of law. I inherited, as well, a love for two countries. The United States had welcomed my family and enabled me to grow up in freedom".
Attorney, and now First Lady, Michelle Obama grew up hearing stories that somewhere in her background there were white ancestors. Nobody knew when or where or how or who. It was only a bit of family lore, passed down through the generations. It wasn't until June of 2012 that she learned that the family history was rooted in fact. The First Lady's great-great-great-grandmother, a slave called Melvinia, was made pregnant in 1859 at the age of about 15 by Charles Shields, one of her owners' sons. Shields, who was about 20 at the time, was a descendant of Andrew Shields, a Protestant Irish immigrant who fought against the British in the American revolutionary war in the late 18th century.
President Barack Obama is the son of a white woman, Anthropologist Dr. Stanley Ann Dunham, and a Kenyan father. In 2012 genealogists discovered that Obama's white maternal grandfather, for whom his mother was named, is not only a direct descendent of three English kings and an English Princess, they also discovered that on his white maternal grandmother's side the President is descended from America's first documented African slave. President Obama is the 11th great-grandson of John Punch, an indentured servant in Colonial Virginia who was enslaved for life in 1640 as a punishment for trying to escape. His life sentence marked the first documented case of African slavery - rather than indentured servitude - in the American colonies. Punch had children with a white woman, who inherited her free status. Some of their descendants passed as white, married into white families, and went on to be successful land owners in Virginia. Eventually, that family produced Obamaís maternal grandmother, Madelyn Lee Payne, and then his mother. An expert in Southern genealogy endorsed Ancestry.comís conclusion, which was reached using records and DNA analysis.
For many years in this country, US Census Rolls only offered the choice of being listed as "black" or "white". They did not list a person's ethnic heritage. It was also only in rare instances that individuals were listed as Indian on US Federal Census Rolls during the 1800's.
Many light skinned people with Native American Heritage intentionally chose to list themselves as "white" because they feared persecution if they listed themselves as "Indian".
Likewise, and also to avoid discrimination and persecution, many fair complexioned individuals of mixed black and white heritage, chose not to correct a census-taker who observed a family's light skin and automatically checked the box identifying the subject's race as "White".
Some mixed race individuals even chose to invent Native American ancestors.
According to his recollections in Barack Obama's book "Dreams from My Father", the young Obama had been given to understand that his white great-grandmother Leona McCurry, was part Native American. Obama believed Leona held that as a "source of considerable shame" because he recalled that she "blanched whenever someone mentioned the subject and hoped to carry the secret to her grave"; whereas McCurry's daughter (Obama's maternal grandmother) "would turn her head in profile to show off her beaked nose, which along with a pair of jet-black eyes, was offered as proof of Cherokee blood." To date, no concrete evidence has surfaced of Cherokee heritage. But this is the oral history that was passed down to Obama's great grandmother, his grandmother, his mother, and to him. So he wrote of it.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a wealthy man who enjoyed a privileged childhood, made the bulk of his money by purchasing companies, stripping them of their assets, firing their employees, looting their pension funds, and outsourcing their jobs to China.
President Barack Obama, America's first President of color, and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney are cousins, both descended from John "Lackland" Plantagenet, the youngest of five sons of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
All of which is simply to say, this is America. It doesn't matter from whom you are descended.
What DOES matter is who you choose to grow up to BECOME.
Republican Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), in a recent debate with opposition candidate Professor Elizabeth Warren, was obviously confused by the Professor's professionally coiffed short blonde hair, and 5 generations of genetics, which resulted in her fair skin and sparkling blue eyes.
He opened his remarks with a snide and offensive racial comment intended to attack his opponent's credibility;
"Professor Warren claimed she was a Native American, a person of color And as you can see, shes not"
Presumably Senator Brown
was expecting buckskins, brown eyes, jet black hair in braids, a feathered headdress,
and quite possibly a pony.
At that moment it became abundantly clear to everyone in the audience, that Republican Senator Scott Brown had grown up to become a total dick.
VIEW: Cherokee Nation Demands Scott Brown
Apologize For 'Downright Racist' Taunts
VIEW: This is a picture of Elizabeth Warren's mother, Pauline Reed Herring, dated 1955. Family lore says she had both Cherokee and Delaware Indian ancestors.