News and Commentary

Elizabeth Warren Releases Results Of DNA Test, Just Ends Up Raising More Questions

Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren has gone all-in on trying to wipe out that pesky “Fauxcahontas” meme. First, she gave the Boston Globe a bunch of files and info intended to exonerate her from the accusation that she used her supposed Native American ancestry to her advantage professionally. Now, she’s released the results of a DNA analysis by a professor at Stanford intended to prove that probably, some six to ten generations ago, she once had a relative who was possibly Native American.

Last month, the Boston Globe presented “the most exhaustive review” of Warren’s alleged use of her alleged Native American ancestry to allegedly promote her alleged career. In an “unusual” move, Warren released private documents to the left-leaning outlet for the ultimately exculpatory report. (Related: Boston Globe Busted Changing Headline Of Big Report To Elizabeth Warren’s Benefit)

On Monday, the Boston Globe published another report on Warren with more information provided by the senator that offers “strong evidence” that she wasn’t lying when she said that one of her distant ancestors was Native American:

Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides “strong evidence’’ she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations, an unprecedented move by one of the top possible contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president. …

The analysis of Warren’s DNA was done by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and expert in the field who won a 2010 MacArthur fellowship, also known as a genius grant, for his work on tracking population migration via DNA analysis.

He concluded that “the vast majority” of Warren’s ancestry is European, but he added that “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor.”

While the “vast majority”‘ of Warren’s DNA is European, Bustamente calculates that she probably has a pure Native American ancestor “in the range of 6-10 generations ago.”

The release of this new DNA study, the Globe notes, is part of Warren’s “elaborate rollout Monday of the results as she aimed for widespread attention” for her supposed debunking of all those problematic “questions about her ancestry.”

But, the Globe admits, the “strong evidence” raises its own questions:

The inherent imprecision of the six-page DNA analysis could provide fodder for Warren’s critics. If her great-great-great-grandmother was Native American, that puts her at 1/32nd American Indian. But the report includes the possibility that she’s just 1/512th Native American if the ancestor is 10 generations back.

In a correction posted at the bottom of the piece, the Globe notes that its 1/512th Native American calculation was actually too generous: “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024.” (Update: After issuing its first correction, the Globe realized it made another mistake: Base case scenario, Warren is 1/64th Native American, not 1/32nd.)

Other questions raised by the report: Why did Warren seek out Bustamante in particular? Has Warren sought the expertise of anyone else? If so, what were their findings? How could “strong evidence” have such a wide variation of generations? And why is Warren so concerned about this if she’s so confident in her claims?

UPDATE: Trump Asked About Elizabeth Warren Getting DNA Test; It Goes About How You’d Expect