Friday, 18 October, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren apologizes to Cherokee Nation for taking DNA test

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Patty Aguilar | 02 February, 2019, 15:46

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has apologized to Cherokee Nation leaders over her attempt to use a DNA test to confirm her past claims to Native American ancestry, the tribe said.

Potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks about federal government employees working without pay and workers trying to unionize at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 21, 2019.

"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", Julie Hubbard, a spokesperson for Bill John Baker, head of the Cherokee Nation, told the Times. "It's on the internet for anybody to see", Warren said of the test, which indicated she had a Native American ancestor six to ten generations ago.

After Warren trumpeted her news last fall, the Cherokee Nation did not share the progressive politician's enthusiasm. Now, she is apologizing to the Cherokee Nation for having done so. "Tribal citizenship is very different than ancestry".

Warren's DNA test caused backlash and even a statement from the Cherokee Nation condemning the stunt.

In her response, she clarified: "I am not a person of color; I am not a citizen of a tribe". I am not a citizen of a tribe.

Warren, 69, the US Senate's consumer protection champion, became the most high-profile Democrat to throw her hat into the ring when she announced a presidential exploratory committee on December 31.

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David Cornsilk, a Cherokee genealogist and historian whose work showed that Warren could not document her claims to Cherokee ancestry, said he found the apology "totally lacking".

Cherokee Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. wrote in the Tulsa World previous year: "We know that many people across the nation have treasured family stories about having Native lineage".

In an interview, LaMere said the two did not discuss the DNA test, although they did touch on Trump's insults about her claims of Native American heritage.

Though Warren hasn't faced questions about the DNA tests in recent campaign stops, her apology is an admission that she needed to do more to fix ties with the Native American community. "Tribes and only tribes determine tribal citizenship and I respect that".

The senator faced immediate scrutiny over the results, including from the Native American community, which called DNA tests "useless".

But she tried to clarify herself. She signed her entries "Elizabeth Warren - Cherokee".

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