Elizabeth’s Warren’s Native American/Cherokee Controversy is not going away.

As she prepares for a 2020 presidential run, Warren tried to deal with it by doubling-down on claim to be Native American in speech to Native American group.

I called it an attempt by Warren to “bear hug” Pocahontas, to try to get so close to the issue that she turned a negative into a positive.

Warren thus sought not just to deflect the historical evidence as to her own conduct, but to reset the media narrative to one in which Warren would not be an exploiter of Native Americans, but their champion.

Politico has characterized it as part of Warren’s stealth campaign to shed ‘Pocahontas’.

Did it work? By all appearances, no.

Despite Warren’s tactics, or perhaps because of them, the Editorial Board of The Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts called on Warren to resolve the issue by taking a DNA test:

… Since the news of her background came out, rather than renounce her claim, she has taken the course of fully embracing it — championing native causes, speaking to native groups of their pride and deriding their treatment at the hands of the U.S. government.

…. Therefore, we offer a simple suggestion that could not even have been contemplated when Warren first listed her heritage on an employment form.

The same technology that can match a perpetrator to a crime with virtually 100 percent certainty could settle the question of her heritage for all time.

There are now so many commercial DNA heritage-tracking labs in business that they advertise on television. The going rate for one of the most popular tests is $99. All the senator needs to do is spit into a tube, wait a few weeks and get her answer. No matter if the test came up negative or positive, it would constitute a plus for Warren and her political hopes.

Were she to test positive for Native American DNA, it would permanently resolve the issue — while possibly shutting down President Trump.

Should the test come up negative, it would be an opportunity for the senator to perform an act rarely seen among politicians: an admission of her error and a full-throated apology to Native American tribes and anyone else offended by her spurious claim. By facing the truth and taking responsibility for it, she would disarm her enemies and show potential voters that she was human and capable of mistakes, just like them. Handled properly, it could become a testimonial to her integrity and truthfulness at a time when that quality is in short supply among the nation’s leadership.

So we call upon our senior senator to screw up her courage and take the spit test. If she already has but is keeping the results under wraps, we urge her to be forthcoming with them. She has nothing to lose but her Achilles’ heel.

This demand for a DNA test has been made by one of Warren’s 2018 Senate race challengers as well as others. Joan Venocchi at The Boston Globe also made the argument, Taking a DNA test could solve at least one of Elizabeth Warren’s problems.

This claim that all Warren need do is show any Native American DNA, no matter how small, reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of Warren’s claim to be Native American for employment purposes. Under clear EEOC and Harvard standards, Native American ancestry would not be sufficient to claim Native American status for employment purposes, which is what Warren did.

I addressed this issue in 2012, At debate Elizabeth Warren needs to disclose if she made false federal filings:

There is a standard and long-standing definition of Native American for employment reporting.  That definition, as currently used by Harvard and presumably used by Harvard during all or most of Warren’s employment, requires a representation of actual Native American ancestry and cultural identificaion either through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

This is the same definition used by the EEOC.

Warren never has had any proof to demonstrate actual origins in the original peoples of North America.  It is an objective test.  Family lore is not proof of actual origin.

But equally or even more important, Warren never even pretended to meet the second and necessary part of the test, identification through affiliation with a tribe or community recognition.

Warren does not claim and never has claimed tribal membership, or involvment with any Native American community. Warren never sought tribal membership, never participated in Native American groups on or off campus. Warren never even participated in Native American Bar Associations or legal issues.

We do not know what the Harvard and federal forms filled out by Warren said at the time she signed them, because neither Warren nor Harvard will release the records  of what Warren signed and what Harvard filed with the federal government based on Warren’s representations….

But we have every reason to believe that the definition now on Harvard’s forms was on the forms when Warren signed them, and if that is the case, then Warren misrepresented herself to Harvard and participated in having Harvard make false federal filings.

It seems likely Warren was aware of this legal definition, as she admitted in an interview in 2012 that she did not meet the legal definition of being a minority (under EEOC definitions, American Indian is one of the “Minority” listed groups.)

Q.  But you would not call yourself a racial minority?

A.  The legal qualifications, no.

Warren’s claim to be Native American when filling out forms for a law professor directory used for hiring purposes in the 1980s and early 1990s landed her on the short list of “Minority Law Teachers,” a distinction she had admitted she did not qualify for under the legal test:

If Warren can show she truly is a descendant of the original peoples of North America via a DNA test, that’s the start, not the end. She will not have proven she was justified in claiming Native American status for employment (and career advancement) purposes. She still would have to prove the second part of the test, that she maintained cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.

Regardless of DNA, Warren cannot show cultural identification. Until her recent speech, Warren never associated with Native Americans.

Demanding Warren take a DNA test is politically understandable. A negative result would completely eliminate her claim to be Native American.

But a positive DNA result would not retroactively justify Warren misusing Native American identification to try to advance her career.

UPDATE 3-10-2018: Doesn’t seem like Warren is anxious to take a DNA test, but ultimately it wouldn’t prove what she would want to prove. I think she knows that.


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