Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has finally gotten her dearest wish: a Native American tribe has offered her official membership within their ranks, thus rendering her claims of Native American ancestry official by most objective standards.
There’s just one problem: the tribe is unrecognized and is made up of individuals who have been rejected by real Native American tribes for lacking evidence of ancestry.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the “Una Nation” has offered Warren membership. The Oregon-based “tribe,” which has a 29-year-old “king,” accepts anyone who can claim at least one Native American ancestor, even if that ancestor shows up as only 1/1024 of a person’s heritage on a DNA test. That means the Una Nation accepts pretty much anyone, even if they were rejected for not meeting the “bloodline” requirements to join other Native American organizations.
“If she’s Native American, or of Native American descent, that means she’s a mixed-blood, and we stand by her and her statement that she is part-Native American,” the tribe’s king, Richard B. Lake III, told media. “”We’re granting her, as a gift, enrollment in the Una Nation. When she’s asked next if she’s a member of the tribe, hopefully she’ll be able to say proudly she’s a member of the Una Nation, who accept me for who I am.”
She’ll even get a “certificate of tribal enrollment” that looks rather official.
“In keeping with our mission to bring Mixed-Bloods together as the Una Nation, to have something of our own and somewhere to preserve our cultural heritages and share our histories with each other; something that has been done for thousands of years, we grant enrollment within the Una Nation, as an Indigenous American Mixed-Blood, to Elizabeth Ann Warren, Senator from Massachusetts,” the “enrollment document” says.
Despite the clear importance of the honor, the Warren campaign has neither commented on, nor acknowledged her new legitimacy.
A local news station did give the story a minute on an evening broadcast, however.
Warren has struggled since declaring her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, in large part because of her claims of Native American ancestry which are not borne out by DNA analysis. Warren believes strongly that she has Cherokee ancestors because “high cheekbones” run in her family — even though claims of “high cheekbones” among Native Americans may actually be, itself, a racist stereotype.
Her family has also published a cookbook called “Pow Wow Chow,” to which Warren contributed a “crab salad” recipe, unlikely to have been passed down from Native American ancestors who occupied the Great Plains.
The Cherokee nation has refused Warren membership because she does not meet the admission requirements, and, additionally, found her claims of Native American ancestry specious. As a result, Warren has had to apologize multiple times on the campaign trail, according to NPR.
“It’s important to note I am not a tribal citizen,” Warren said at a recent campaign stop, “and I should have been more mindful of the distinction with tribal citizenship and tribal sovereignty.”