Elizabeth Warren launched her presidential exploratory committee on New Year’s Eve day 2018, including the now-infamous beer drinking live stream. She is expected to launch her official campaign next week.

Ever since her 2012 Senate campaign, Warren has attempted to shift the conversation away from her Native American controversy. The problem is two-fold.

First, Warren falsely claimed to be Native American for employment purposes when she was climbing the law professor ladder to Harvard. Second, Warren rolled out a DNA test in October 2018 which showed her to be as little as 1/1024th Native American by DNA profile, and more important, offended and enraged actual Native Americans who do not use or accept DNA tests as a measure.

We reported the Cherokee Nation raction in Cherokee Nation: “Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

“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,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr. said. “Sovereign tribal national 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.”

Warren has been making an extensive and mostly behind-the-scenes effort to mend fences with Native American groups for almost two years in preparation for running for president. But the fear remains even among her supporters that Warren’s Native American problem would haunt her campaign the way emails haunted Hillary, Former Elizabeth Warren adviser: DNA test a “strategic failure” that was “depressing and unforgettable”.

Despite the backlash, Warren consistently defended the DNA test. In early December 2018, The NY Times reported, Elizabeth Warren Stands by DNA Test. But Around Her, Worries Abound:

Advisers close to Ms. Warren say she has privately expressed concern that she may have damaged her relationships to Native American groups and her own standing with activists, particularly those who are racial minorities. Several outside advisers are even more worried: They say they believe a plan should be made to repair that damage, possibly including a strong statement of apology.

The advisers say Ms. Warren will have to confront the issue again if she announces a presidential campaign, which is expected in the coming weeks, and several would like her to act soon.

Publicly, at this point, the senator isn’t second-guessing her actions.

“There have been a lot of thoughtful conversations about this, and I appreciate that,” Ms. Warren said in an interview. “I believe for everyone in public life that transparency is crucial.”

Asked if the criticism of the test has inspired any regret, Ms. Warren said: “I put it out there. It’s on the internet for anybody to see. People can make of it what they will. I’m going to continue fighting on the issues that brought me to Washington.”

When questioned at a big campaign event in Iowa in early January, Warren again defended the test and said she was putting it all out there for everyone to see, First voter question to Elizabeth Warren in Sioux City: “Why did you undergo the DNA testing?”

While Warren has not apologized publicly for the DNA test, Cherokee leaders report that she has done so privately.

Tulsa World reports, ‘We are encouraged by her action’: Sen. Elizabeth Warren apologizes to Cherokee Nation, tribal officials confirm:

Reportedly planning to make her presidential bid official this month, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has apologized to the Cherokee Nation for publicizing a DNA test that shows she has distant Native American ancestors, tribal officials confirmed to the Tulsa World late Thursday.

Officials didn’t explain exactly how Warren extended the apology, only that she has “reached out” to the tribe in recent days.

“We are encouraged by this dialogue and understanding that being a Cherokee Nation tribal citizen is rooted in centuries of culture and laws not through DNA tests,” said Julie Hubbard, the tribe’s executive director of communications. “We are encouraged by her action and hope that the slurs and mockery of tribal citizens and Indian history and heritage will now come to an end.” ….

Hoskins reiterated the tribe’s objections this week by writing an opinion column for the Tulsa World, comparing Warren’s claim of Native ancestry to a family friend who oversteps boundaries by claiming to be an actual member of the family.

From the description in Tulsa World, it appears that Warren has not apologized for claiming to be Native American for employment purposes, only for the DNA test.

Emails to the Warren campaign and Cherokee Nation seeking comment have not been returned as of this writing.

This illustrates, once again, that that Warren’s Native American problem is not going away, It continues to percolate under the surface even when not dominating the news, just like Hillary’s emails.


The NY Times reports on the apology:

Senator Elizabeth Warren has tried to put a nagging controversy behind her by apologizing privately to a leader of the Cherokee Nation for her decision to take a DNA test to prove her Native American ancestry last year, a move that had angered some tribal leaders and ignited a significant political backlash.

But mixed reactions among prominent Native American critics Friday suggested that Ms. Warren might still have further to go.

Some Native American leaders gave her credit for the apology and political figures, for the most part, downplayed the issue.

But others remain unsatisfied.

“This still isn’t transparent,” said Twila Barnes, a Cherokee genealogist who has been critical of Ms. Warren’s claims of native ancestry since it became national news in 2012. “She needs to go public and say she fully takes responsibility and that the DNA test was ridiculous. There is still something about this that feels off.” ….

On Thursday, Ms. Warren called Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, to apologize for the DNA test, said Julie Hubbard, a spokeswoman for the tribe. She called it a “brief and private” conversation.


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