Editorial: Help the real Indians

While U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren defends her conveniently optional American Indian identity, and incumbent Sen. Scott Brown continues to goad her about it, many actual American Indians are struggling.

While Warren and Brown debate how Warren’s supposed Indian heritage may have influenced her professorship at the world’s greatest university, actual American Indians last week at JP’s North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) were learning the basics of how to use a computer so they can get jobs.

It is appalling that these candidates and their supporters have largely treated “American Indian” as a decorative title rather than as people who face immense social challenges.

If Warren is proud to be an American Indian, she should not be ignoring and avoiding NAICOB and other Indian organizations. If Brown wants to know how American Indian status affects job searches, he should ask NAICOB’s employment training program.

A U.S. senator has enormous power to better the lives of American Indians. Warren and Brown should educate themselves about the needs of non-optional American Indians and tell us what they intend to do to fulfill them.

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