Politics
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Elizabeth Warren, center, greets Bruce Trotto, of Shrewsbury, Mass., right, owner of Dinky Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Elizabeth Warren, center, greets Bruce Trotto, of Shrewsbury, Mass., right, owner of Dinky's Blue Belle Diner, during a campaign stop at the diner in Shrewsbury, Sunday, April 29, 2012, as U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., left, looks on. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)  

Former Native American senator reacts to Elizabeth Warren’s minority claim

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

It would not have been “appropriate” for Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren to claim to be an American Indian minority if she did so solely to get a professional advantage, says a former U.S. senator who was once the only Native American in Congress.

“I think if she used it just to get some kind of advantage — whatever it was — like a job application or something, then that’s probably not appropriate,” former Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell told The Daily Caller in an interview on Tuesday.

“If you have nothing to do with Indians at all — never — except to try to get some unfair advantage, then I think there’s an ethical question in that,” Campbell said. “I don’t know if Mrs. Warren did that or not. Maybe not.”

Warren has denied this is the reason she described herself as a Native American minority in professional law school directories during the 1980s and ’90s. She doesn’t openly refer to herself that way anymore.

The Democratic candidate challenging Republican Sen. Scott Brown is facing questions about her heritage following the revelation last week that Harvard, where she is a law professor, once touted her as a minority hire because of her Native American ancestry.

In response to requests for evidence of her American Indian background, Warren’s campaign this week said the Democrat’s great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee, which would be 1/32 of her ancestry. (RELATED: Antiquated law banned Native Americans from Boston until 2005)

This came after a prominent Native American group told TheDC that Warren “better be able to defend” her past claims of being an American Indian minority.

“Once you put that down, you better be able to defend it,” Ray Ramirez of the Native American Rights Fund told TheDC on Monday.

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