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‘Real Indian’ Senate Candidate Sues After City Orders Removal of Signs Calling Elizabeth Warren a ‘Fake Indian’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

A Massachusetts Senate candidate is suing the city of Cambridge, Mass. for ordering the removal of his campaign signs, which accuse Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) of being a “fake Indian.”

Shiva Ayyudarai, an independent hoping to unseat Warren in 2018, filed a federal lawsuit Sunday accusing the city of violating his first amendment rights by ordering the removal of two signs posted on a school bus that sits on Ayyudurai’s property.

The signs, which are posted about a mile from Warren’s house, depict her wearing a headdress and read “Only a real Indian can defeat the fake Indian.”

“This is a political vendetta by City officials who are supporters of Elizabeth Warren,” Ayyudurai, who was born in Bombay, India, told the Washington Times.

The signs prompted “a series of anonymous complaints,” according to an April 5 letter written by Cambridge building inspector Branden Vigneault.

Following an inspection, Vigneault concluded the signs were posted “without approvals and permits,” and are therefore in violation of the city zoning ordinance.

“These signs must be removed immediately,” Vigneault said in the letter toy the Ayyadurai campaign. “Failure to do so, may result in fines up to $300.00 dollars per day and legal action.”

Ayyudurai said he has displayed other signs in the exact same manner for the last year and the city only objected to the most recent display, which was posted on March 17.

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

Warren’s claim to Native American ancestry as a professor at Harvard law has been met with significant scrutiny since she was elected to the Senate in 2012. She cites family lore as evidence of the ancestral claim but does not currently claim membership in any tribe.

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