by WorldTribune Staff, August 21, 2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who long boasted of her Cherokee ancestry and even used it disingenuously to get a leg up in the professional world, says she is sorry.
“Before I go any further in this I want to say this — like anyone who’s been honest with themselves I know I’ve made mistakes. I’m sorry for any harm I’ve caused,” Warren told native Americans on Aug. 19. “I have learned a lot and I am grateful for the many conversations that we’ve had together. It is a great honor to be able to partner with Indian country and that’s what I’ve tried to do as a senator, and that is what I promise to do as President of the United States of America.”
Warren, who is polling near the top of the crowded Democratic 2020 field, made the comments in Sioux City, Iowa at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum, hosted by Native American advocacy group Four Directions.
After telling the forum she made “mistakes” in the way she handled her Native ancestry claims, Warren called for “structural” reform to the way the federal government meets its trust and treaty obligations.
Warren was introduced by Democratic Rep. Debbie Haaland of New Mexico, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress. Warren and Haaland are working on legislation aimed at ensuring the federal government better funds education, housing, healthcare, and public safety programs for tribal nations and indigenous peoples. Some of their initiatives include streamlining the traditional congressional appropriations process and guaranteeing executive branch representation.
Haaland defended Warren, slamming those who focus on her heritage for feeding “the president’s racism.”
“Elizabeth knows she will be attacked, but she’s here to be an unwavering partner in our struggle because that is what a leader does,” Haaland said.
Warren, 70, had long claimed a Cherokee connection. Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes, appearing on the Aug. 19 edition of Fox News’s “The Ingraham Angle”, noted there was no Cherokee representation on the panel Warren addressed on Aug. 19.
President Donald Trump put the issue in the spotlight last year by labeling Warren “Pocahontas,” eventually goading her into taking a DNA test which put her somewhere between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.
Warren at the time said the DNA results proved her claims throughout her academic career that she has Cherokee ancestry, a claim the Oklahoma native said was based on “family lore.”
After Warren released the results of the DNA test, the Cherokee Nation’s secretary of state, Chuck Hoskin Jr., blasted her:
“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.”
Prior to her Aug. 19 appearance at the Native American forum, Warren’s campaign team scrubbed the parts of her campaign website that included her claims of having Native American heritage, including the DNA test results.
At a rally in New Hampshire on Aug. 15, Trump said: “I did the Pocahontas thing. I hit her really hard. And it looked like she was down and out. But it was too long ago, I should have waited. But don’t worry, we’ll revive it. It can be revived. It will be revived. And it can be revived very easily and very quickly, and we’re gonna have some fun in the state of New Hampshire.”