Aboriginal ancestry

Yeah, I mean, this stuff is incredibly complex – one thing I’d love to get your thoughts on is the issue of “blood quantum”. As I understand it, this is generally being used by a number of Indigenous communities / tribes, but the idea of using blood quantum actually originated with Europeans, and has a rather problematic history.

Do you happen to know much about this? I’m curious if you could shed some light on this for me – also, in your opinion, are there different attitudes toward this between Canada and the U.S.?

1 Like

What I know is twofold:

1 - As soon as “money” is involved, ancestry stops being about community and starts being about how one can exclude the most people possible from inclusion.
2 - Using genetics for this purpose is about the worst idea to come about as a result of #1.
3 - As always, what’s important in these sorts of discussions gets lost in the meta-discussion.


The article I read indicated that the Native American ancestor was likely between 6-10 generations ago, most likely 8. If I do the math correctly, that would mean that Warren is 0.4% Native American. So I don’t know what to think - how much ancestry does one need to have to claim ethnicity? I’m as white as wonder bread, but if I have 0.4% African American ancestry, can I claim minority status?


I’m pretty sure she never said that she was Native American. She said she had Native ancestors.


The ‘one drop rule’ was never rescinded.

Welcome to boing boing, new comrade.


Looks like she claimed minority status while on law school faculty.

1 Like

what I want to know is why, being African-American was established as one drop of blood whereas in native populations the govt parses 1/4, 1/8, 1/16th etc.

Because slavery was good for the economy; more slaves = more money.


After reading that article, it is clear that she never claimed, or took advantage, of having more than partial Native blood. She was rightly proud to have some diversity in her ancestry.


Well, in the south in the Jim Crow days, you would be subject to all the restrictions put on POCs, plus additional recriminations for “trying to pass.” So, yes, I suppose so.


The one drop rule was put into law in the 1920’s by Southern states so they could be as maximally racist as possible.

Edited to fix quote formatting.


That’s not at all what your link says.


Well you definitely could not marry a white woman in all Southern States prior to 1960


No, not explicitly. What it does say, however, is that she was listed in the directory as a minority for nine years prior to the Harvard appointment, then goes on to read “The listings were based on professors reporting that they were members of a minority group, the directory says.”

So does reporting oneself to a directory as being a minority equate to claiming minority status?


There is no evidence that she reported herself as a minority, but rather that she accurately shared that she had some Native American ancestry in her family tree and someone else ran with it. Do you really think Warren would have claimed she was a full-fledged minority based on an oral history from a grandmother, and only for marketing purposes but not to advance her career? It makes no sense. Not to mention that it is splitting the finest of hairs as a desperate means to tangentially question her credibility. Your concern is noted, I’m moving on.


Nice try.


Whoever invented and introduced the idea of “claiming minority status” into the conversation presumably knows what it “equates to.” That doesn’t mean it’s relevant to the topic or the rest of the discussion.


Good for a few rich landowners anyway. Screw everyone else. /s



Tim is really, really splitting hairs here.

What’s weird about the majority of the BB posts here is that none of them recognise how insensitive (at best) or cynical and racist (at worst) Elizabeth Warren was in doing this.

Many, many “white Americans” with privileged backgrounds will likely have some Indigenous ancestry. But this is hardly the same as being actively involved in a community, being considered a member by the majority of a community, or having close relatives (grandparents or even great grandparents), etc.

This actually demonstrates more white appropriation, and it’s pretty appalling.

I can still hate Trump but simultaneously be really disappointed that Warren herself demonstrates a more insidious form of racism…


But of course; who else did you think I meant?

Nobody matters but them, right?