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editorial

Elizabeth Warren should use convention to address Native American flap

On Saturday, Elizabeth Warren will formally introduce herself to thousands of delegates and onlookers at the state Democratic convention in Springfield. No doubt she’ll use her convention speech to tout her hardscrabble upbringing, her labors on behalf of the middle class, and her conviction that consumers need an advocate against predatory lenders. But the speech should also address the issue that’s been so prevalent in the recent news coverage of the campaign, and is a source of some consternation even among Warren’s supporters: how she came to be identified as Native American in a national legal directory, Harvard press releases, and federal diversity reports.

Throughout the month-long saga, Warren has offered discrete answers to most of the questions: Her Native American ancestry was part of her family lore, though she does not consider herself fully Native American. Nonetheless, she listed it on a law-school professional directory because she was proud of her heritage and hoped to meet others who had some Native American background. But she says she never sought any special advantages or status, even though Harvard, in press releases and in its official diversity report, listed a Native American woman among its law-school faculty. Warren says she hadn’t seen those reports.

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