Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

The Elizabeth Warren Native American ancestry debate, explained

The Elizabeth Warren Native American ancestry debate, explained

"I respect the distinction, & don't list myself as Native in the Senate". Now they're an issue all over again as she prepares to run for president in 2020.

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said Monday that DNA tests are useless in determining tribal citizenship, which is determined by tribal nations.

"Pocahontas (the bad version), sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren, is getting slammed", Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. Warren's meticulously choreographed DNA rollout doesn't prove that she is a proud Cherokee-American, as Cherokee activists and tribal authorities have adamantly pointed out.

In a second tweet moments later, Trump alleged that Warren's claims of Native American heritage "have turned out to be a scam and a lie" and called for Warren to apologize for the second time in 24 hours.

"Trump went out of his way to stuff a Me Too joke into the middle of his racist tirade", Colbert said. Even they don't want her.

ABC then aired a portion of Warren's ad that declared the prominent Democrat "absolutely had a Native American ancestor", without reporting that the test revealed she could only be between 1/64 and 1/1,024 Native American. However, a recent exhaustive review of documents and interviews with Warren's former colleagues by The Boston Globe found no evidence that her claims of Native American heritage were ever considered by those involved in the hiring process.

"For a senator, in this context, on this ongoing back-and-forth political fight, to talk about DNA", he said, "it really undermines tribal interest, frankly".


The kerfuffle began during Warren's 2012 Senate campaign when opponents accused her of having advanced her academic career as a law professor with the narrative that she is a descendant of Cherokee and DE tribes - using said claims to qualify for affirmative-action hiring considerations.

"Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person's ancestors were indigenous to North or South America".

Warren released the findings of the test in a video in which she concedes that she is not enrolled in any tribe, "but my family history is my family history".

"That will not be something I enjoy doing either", he added.

Warren was, at a few points during her academic career, described as minority faculty - at least once by her own election campaign on a forum. She also said he makes "creepy physical threats" about women who scare him, including her. "I won't sit quietly for [Trump's] racism, so I took a test". "It may soothe his ego - but it won't work". On Monday, Trump said he would pay up, but only if he "can test her personally".

But Warren now has documentation to back up her family lore - an analysis of her genetic data performed by Carlos Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford and adviser to Ancestry and 23 and Me.

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