Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who claimed to be Native American when a DNA study showed she has as little as .09% Indian blood, is still trying to explain away her assertion.
Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat running for re-election who President Trump has dubbed "Pocahontas" for her claim, released the results of the DNA test on Sunday with about three weeks to go before Election Day in an attempt to "begin deflecting the constant taunting from the president and her Senate challengers," The Boston Globe reported.
“I have an election,” Warren said. “Donald Trump goes in front of crowds multiple times a week to attack me. Both of my opponents have made the same attack. I got this analysis back, and I made it public.”
The move turned out to be a PR disaster. While the mainstream media happily went along with the notion that 1/1,024 heritage actually makes someone Native American, many mocked Warren for the bizarre claim. Trump himself joined in, writing on Twitter: “Now that her claims of being of Indian heritage have turned out to be a scam and a lie, Elizabeth Warren should apologize for perpetrating this fraud against the American Public. Harvard called her 'a person of color' (amazing con), and would not have taken her otherwise!"
And Warren now says she regrets how she rolled out the DNA report — but stopped well short of apologizing.
"There’s a distinction between citizenship and ancestry. I wish I had been more mindful of that distinction," she told the Globe. "The tribes and only the tribes determine citizenship. It’s their right as a matter of sovereignty, and they exercise that in the ways they choose to exercise it. I respect that distinction.”
Asked whether she made a mistake when she began identifying herself as Native American 30 years ago, Warren once again said she's not really claiming to be part of any Indian group. “The distinction is: I’m not a citizen, never have claimed to be, and I wish I had been more mindful of that 30 years ago,” Warren said. “I wish I had been clearer about that — been more mindful, is the word.”
Her wish to have been more "mindful" came after the Cherokee Nation condemned for implying that she was among their nearly 300,000 members. Warren is not eligible to join the Nation because her relatives are not listed on a document called the Dawes Rolls, which are hundred-year-old government documents listing Cherokee members.
The Cherokee Nation’s secretary of state, Chuck Hoskin Jr., released a scathing statement on Monday, saying "a DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship."
"Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage," Hoskin wrote.
Then on Tuesday, a direct descendant of Pocahontas, the famed 17th-century Powhatan princess, called on Warren to apologize for wrongly claiming to be Native American — just for political gain.
"It did prove that she wasn't the Cherokee Indian that she was claiming to be for so long," Debbie White Dove Porreco said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight." "I think she's guilty of claiming she's an American Indian but has no proof — and then [is] using it for applications for college and for political reasons."
"She needs to ... apologize to everybody for what she has done," Porreco said, adding that Native Americans "feel betrayed, they feel disappointed."
Warren listed herself as Native in the Association of American Law School Directory, and according to The Boston Globe, she “had her ethnicity changed from white to Native American at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she taught from 1987 to 1995, and at Harvard University Law School, where she was a tenured faculty member starting in 1995.”
Some critics say she got the Harvard slot by claiming to be American Indian. “Harvard Law School in the 1990s touted Warren, then a professor in Cambridge, as being Native American,’” CNN reported last November. “They singled her out, Warren later acknowledged, because she had listed herself as a minority in an Association of American Law Schools directory.”
A 1997 Fordham Law Review article identified the Democrat as Harvard Law’s “first woman of color.” Warren even submitted recipes to an American Indian cookbook called “Pow Wow Chow,” which was released in 1984 by the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She signed her entries “Elizabeth Warren — Cherokee.”
She wasn't so "mindful" back then.