usingtherightwords

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Looking at “Native American” Differently


I was struck by something Donald Trump said on Monday. Because Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appeared with Hillary Clinton, Trump attacked Warren and her listing herself as a Native American minority in Association of American Law Schools (AALS) directories from 1986-95.

“She used the fact that she was Native American to advance her career,” Trump said. “Elizabeth Warren is a total fraud.”

Now, I could write an entire blog based on everything Trump says and fact-check and correct his usage. In this case, Warren said she had self-identified as a minority in the directories to meet others with similar tribal roots. Her brothers defended her, stating that they “grew up listening to our mother and grandmother and other relatives talk about our family’s Cherokee and Delaware heritage.”

Whether you believe Warren or not, or whether you side with Trump or not, it makes no difference to me. The point I want to make is, if you break down the words, you’ll see that Warren, millions of others and I are, in fact, native Americans.

Native means “belonging to a particular place by birth.” Warren was born in Oklahoma City (notice Trump doesn’t question her birth as he did with President Obama in 2011). The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution begins, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” This makes Warren an American.

And a native American.

Until next time! Use the right words!

It’s here! My début book, “If You Experience Death, Please Call: And Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language” is available on Amazon for only $14.95.  Order here.

leebarnathan.com

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June 30, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Native American is a legal status, with 5 parties. Indians, inuit, aluets, native Hawaiians aka kanakas and native guamanians aka chamoros. Native American and American Indian are not synonymous terms. Native American is a legal status while American Indian is a “racial” one. The majority of persons in the US with predominant amerindian ancestry are not native American but are several million Mexican Americans. The majority of the 500 plus federally recognized tribes enrolled members are today of more European ancestry than native Amerindian.

    Comment by Hodalee Scott Sewell | July 1, 2016 | Reply


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