'Real Indian' Running Against Warren, Using Her Own Claims Against Her

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U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s dubious claims of Native American heritage decades ago are once again plaguing her political career, this time in the form of a long-shot rival seeking to exploit the issue in a controversial new campaign ad.

The Massachusetts Democrat cited the heritage, which she has later claimed to be a part of her family tradition, at multiple points in her early career.

In addition to questioning the legitimacy of her claims, critics have also accused Warren of identifying as a minority with the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage in the workplace.

A man of Indian heritage running as an independent against her hopes to invoke the controversy to his advantage.

Shiva Ayyadurai has positioned himself as the answer to Warren, whom he deemed a “fake Indian” in a message draped across a bus parked at his property a short distance from the senator’s home, according to the Washington Times.

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Though the prominent message has raised Ayyadurai’s profile, it has also prompted backlash from the City of Cambridge.

Local officials have warned Ayyadurai that the sign is a violation of a city ordinance and that its continued display could result in fines of $300 per day and additional fees.

The bus has been parked and draped with the campaign message since March 17, though, and the candidate is prepared to fight in his effort to keep it where it is.

“We will not remove the slogan from our bus,” Ayyadurai said. “We will defend the First Amendment, and we will fight this egregious attack on the First Amendment, at any cost.”

Are Warren's previous claims fair game in this election?
While Ayyadurai makes the case against Warren, though, critics cite questionable claims from his own past. The most notable example is his assertion that he invented email, a claim prominently included in his Twitter username as of this writing.

As Fox News reports, Ayyadurai recently filed a federal lawsuit claiming the city’s order to remove the sign is a violation of his First Amendment rights.

His argument hinges, in part, on the theory that an ordinance pertaining to signs affixed to structures should not apply to a stationary bus draped with his campaign message.

As for Warren, she continues to cite generations of relatives in supporting her previous statements, while thus far declining to submit to a DNA test that might settle the debate.

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“It’s a part of who I am, and no one’s ever going to take that away,” she said last month.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Birthplace
Virginia
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Education
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
Online News Association
Location
Arizona
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment




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