The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

Herbert Hoover's vice president, Charles Curtis, was American Indian


Charles Curtis, from the Library of Congress.
Charles Curtis, from the Library of Congress.

I did not know that. His mother was apparently 1/4 (or somewhat more) American Indian (Kaw, Osage, and Pottawatomie); his father was white. Curtis was a member of the Kaw Nation, and was raised partly on the Kaw reservation by his maternal grandparents and later in Topeka, Kan., by his paternal grandparents. He became a senator from Kansas, and eventually the Republican whip and then majority leader, before being elected with Herbert Hoover in 1928. (He was apparently less politically successful as vice president than he was in the Senate.)

Thanks to InstaPundit and Don Surber for the pointer.

UPDATE: I had originally said that Curtis's mother was 3/4 American Indian, based on various sources I saw. But commenter Liberaltarian pointed out that the page to which I linked described her as 1/4 American Indian, and when I looked further, I saw that the Encyclopedia of World Biography suggests that she was a bit more than 1/4 American Indian, but not 3/4. In any case, I apologize for the error, and appreciate the correction. (Curtis was indeed a member of the Kaw Nation, and was viewed as in large part American Indian.)