Elizabeth Warren said late Wednesday that she had listed herself as Native American at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.
"At some point after I was hired by them, I … provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard," she said in a statement to the Boston Globe, acknowledging the designation for the first time. "My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it."
Warren, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, has been dogged by questions over her heritage since the Boston Herald reported on her background on April 27. She initially told the Herald that she didn't know that Harvard Law had touted her as a minority faculty member until she read it in the paper. She has said that she listed herself as Native American in law school directories.
She, along with officials at both schools, has said that the designation wasn't a factor in her hiring.
The campaign of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Warren's opponent, has said the issue raises questions about her credibility and has gone so far as to raise money off her claims.
UPDATE: Scott Brown continued to demand answers from Warren Thursday, and told reporters in Springfield that she shouldn't have relied on her parents for information about her heritage. "My mom and dad have told me a lot of things too, but they’re not always true," he said.
Warren's campaign responded with an email blast to supporters addressing the issue head-on:
When I was a little girl, I learned about my family's heritage the same way everyone else does -- from my parents and grandparents.
My mother, grandmother, and aunts were open about my family's Native American heritage, and I never had any reason to doubt them. What kid asks their grandparents for legal documentation to go along with their family stories? What kid asks their mother for proof in how she describes herself?
My heritage is a part of who I am -- and I am proud of it.
But that's not good enough for Scott Brown and the Republican Party. For several weeks now, they have orchestrated an attack against my family, my job qualifications, and my character. Earlier today, Scott Brown even questioned the honesty of my parents -- even though they are not fair game and are not here to defend themselves.
Scott Brown wants me to give up my family and forget where I came from. I'm not doing that -- not for politics and not for anything else. I'll hold on to every memory I can. My family is part of who I am, and they will be part of who I am until I die.
Despite evidence to the contrary, Scott Brown also claims I got special breaks because of my background. That's not true, and I need your help to fight back:
The people involved in recruiting and hiring me for my teaching jobs, including Harvard professor Charles Fried -- the solicitor-general under Ronald Reagan and a Scott Brown voter in 2010 -- have said unequivocally they were not aware of my heritage and that it played no role in my hiring.
I did not benefit from my heritage when applying to college or law school, and documents reporters have examined prove it.
I let people know about my Native American heritage in a national directory of law school personnel. At some point after they hired me, I also provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.