In October, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) released a DNA test that showed she is as little as 1/1,024 Native American in an attempt to prove that she has Native American ancestry. Now, she is apologizing to the Cherokee Nation for having done so.
The New York Times reports that Cherokee Nation spokeswoman Julie Hubbard said Warren had a “brief and private” call with Bill John Baker, the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.
“I understand that she apologized for causing confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and the harm that has resulted,” Hubbard reportedly said. “The chief and secretary of state appreciate that she has reaffirmed that she is not a Cherokee nation citizen or a citizen of any tribal nation.”
Warren’s DNA test caused backlash and even a statement from the Cherokee Nation condemning the stunt.
“Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. in a statement to media after Warren released her the test. “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.”
Hoskin published an opinion piece on Thursday, entitled “Elizabeth Warren can be a friend, but she isn’t a Cherokee citizen.” He went on to explain that it offends the tribe “when some of our national leaders seek to ascribe inappropriately membership or citizenship to themselves,” adding, “They would be welcome to our table as friends, but claiming to be family to gain a spot at the table is unwelcome.”
As The Daily Wire reported in early January, Warren reaffirmed her claim to Native American ancestry in a rally in Iowa but said that she is not a tribal citizen.
“I am not a person of color,” Warren said. “I am not a citizen of a tribe. Tribal citizenship is very different from ancestry. Tribes — and only tribes — determine tribal citizenship, and I respect that difference.”
The New York Times claimed that Warren’s DNA test “played into” President Donald Trump’s “hands”:
But nearly two months after Ms. Warren released the test results and drew hostile reactions from prominent tribal leaders, the lingering cloud over her likely presidential campaign has only darkened Conservatives have continued to ridicule her. More worrisome to supporters of Ms. Warren’s presidential ambitions, she has yet to allay criticism from grass-roots progressive groups, liberal political operatives and other potential 2020 allies who complain that she put too much emphasis on the controversial field of racial science — and, in doing so, played into Mr. Trump’s hands.
Amid the controversy, Trump chimed in.
“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,” Trump tweeted in October. “Harvard called her ‘a person of color’ (amazing con), and would not have taken her otherwise!”
As The Daily Wire’s Joseph Curl has reported, Warren’s claim to Native American ancestry may have influenced some aspects of her professional career:
Warren listed herself as Native American 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.”
Warren initially defended the test against the president’s taunts. “The first Native American in our family that can be proved is generations back, and the geneticist says there could be others,” Warren said to her supporters in an email. “No matter. It’s my family, and — like it or not Donald Trump — my family’s stories are supported by this test.”
Warren is expected to formally announce her candidacy for President of the United States following several visits to early battleground states like Iowa and New Hampshire.