While the mainstream media
is reporting on a recurring falsehood
from Hillary Clinton, I have found another instance of her misrepresentation of the facts.
According to genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner,
In her autobiography, Living History, Sen. Clinton describes her maternal grandmother as "one of nine children from a family of French Canadian, Scottish and Native American ancestry." No records have been found to support this claimed Native American ancestry. (italics mine)
For those who are interested in checking the facts, you can peruse Hillary's family tree
yourself. (A note on how to read this: the numbers in the left column show how people connect. The parents of person x
(father) and 2x+1
(mother). So Hillary's maternal grandmother, No. 7 Della Murray, was the daughter of No. 14 Daniel Murray and No. 15 Delia Martin, etc.)
Perhaps we should be more forgiving of this particular error, however, because Hillary is not alone in mistakenly believing she has Native American blood. Many Americans seem to want to claim a small portion of a native heritage they view as noble, authentic, or exotic. Henry Louis Gates, in his African-American Lives 2
series on PBS, set out to check these claims for a group of twelve (mostly famous) African-Americans, and DNA tests showed that, family legends to the contrary, the amount of actual Native American ancestry was very small at best (I believe Tina Turner had the most, at about 3%, while most of the subjects had none at all). And as Hillary proves, this is by no means limited to the African-American community. I've heard my dad and my aunt both claim some mysterious aunt/cousin/great-grandmother was an Indian, even though this is logically improbable and geographically impossible.
Incidentally, if you have a chance to catch a re-run of African-American Lives 2
, I can't recommend it highly enough--it is thoroughly fascinating, and a much worthier use of public broadcasting than some Moody Blues reunion concert.
And if you are interested in the ancestry of our other presidential candidates, Barack Obama
's maternal line was spread throughout the midwest, northeastern, and southern U.S. and is a mix of British, French, and German ancestry; his paternal line is Luo from Kenya. John McCain
descends from southern slaveholders of British and Irish descent. There are many more political figures in the full list