Elizabeth Warren is struggling in fundraising and in the polls (even in Massachusetts). While her campaign is not over, she is being left in the dust by the old school (Sanders, Biden) and the new school (Buttigieg, Beto, Harris).

Warren has been forced to resort to increasingly dramatic proposals  while struggling to stay relevant.

If Warren’s campaign collapses, there will be many factors, including her lack of likability and her pre-programmed Hillary-like robotic campaign which included such contrived ploys as her livestreamed beer-drinking New Year’s Eve campaign launch.

But above everything, Warren’s Native American deception has tainted her campaign since before it was launched. Warren’s campaign has been defined by her Native American problem much as emails defined Hillary and there is no sign of it ending. Even Warren admits admits there may be more ‘American Indian’ documents to drop.

Warren has an unlikely defender on her Native American problem — Bernie Sanders.

Bernie has launched an attack on the Center for American Progress (CAP), and it’s Think Progress website, which are perceived as connected to the Clintons and the liberal Democrat establishment that opposes Bernie. As the NY Times reported, Bernie wrote a letter to CAP accusing it and Think Progress of smearing progressive candidates:

Senator Bernie Sanders, in a rare and forceful rebuke by a presidential candidate of an influential party ally, has accused a liberal think tank of undermining Democrats’ chances of taking back the White House in 2020 by “using its resources to smear” him and other contenders pushing progressive policies.

Mr. Sanders’s criticism of the Center for American Progress, delivered on Saturday in a letter obtained by The New York Times, reflects a simmering ideological battle within the Democratic Party and threatens to reopen wounds from the 2016 primary between him and Hillary Clinton’s allies. The letter airs criticisms shared among his supporters: that the think tank, which has close ties to Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment, is beholden to corporate donors and has worked to quash a leftward shift in the party led partly by Mr. Sanders.

In the letter, Sanders points to two columns at Think Progress about Warren’s Native American problem:

Sadly, I’m not the only candidate in the 2020 field who has experienced personal attacks from your institution. My friend and colleague Elizabeth Warren was unfairly targeted by a November 2017 article on ThinkProgress that echoed Donald Trump’s bad faith claims that she was being a hypocrite about her ancestry. That attack that was linked on the Drudge Report and immediately immersed her into a rather unhelpful debate. Again in October 2018, you published an article stating that she was hurting Native American people.

Bernie doesn’t link the articles in question, but it’s clear from the description and dates he’s complaining about two articles by Rebecca Nagle, a left-leaning Cherokee author and speaker:

Rebecca Nagle is an award-winning advocate and writer focused on advancing the rights of Native American nations and ending sexual violence. Nagle is a citizen of Cherokee Nation and a two spirit/ queer woman. In 2016, Nagle was named one of the National Center American Indian Enterprise Development’s Native American 40 Under 40 for her work to address violence against Native Women….

You can find her views on Native representation and tribal sovereignty in The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, ThinkProgress, The Baltimore Sun, Indian Country Today and more. Additionally her organizing and advocacy work has received national press including MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, NPR and more.

Nagle’s November 30, 2017 article reference by Bernie was I am a Cherokee woman. Elizabeth Warren is not:

She is not from us. She does not represent us. She is not Cherokee….

Sen. Warren needs to accept responsibility for misappropriating Native identity for her own economic and political gain. To help her, I have drafted an apology, which she has my full permission to appropriate. Every last word:

I am deeply sorry to the Native American people who have been greatly harmed by my misappropriation of Cherokee identity. I want to especially apologize to the over 350,000 citizens of Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the United Keetoowah Band. In my family, there is an oral history of being Cherokee, however, research on my genealogy going back over 150 years does not reveal a single Native ancestor. Like many Americans who grew up with family members claiming to be Cherokee, I now know that my family’s stories were based on myth rather than fact. I am not enrolled in any of the three Federally recognized Cherokee Tribes, nor am I an active member of any Cherokee or Native American community. Native Nations are not relics of the past, but active, contemporary, and distinct political groups who are still fighting for recognition and sovereignty within the United States. Those of us who claim false Native identity undermine this fight….

Nagle’s October 18, 2018 column referenced by Bernie was Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test hurts Native people:

Native identity is about a relationship to a tribe. Native Americans are not a pan-Indian racial group, but rather citizens of sovereign Nations. DNA tests have no way to determine tribal heritage and it’s a gross misinterpretation of both the science and tribal sovereignty to claim that they do….

[While not raised in Bernie’s letter because it didn’t appear at Think Progress, you should read Nagle’s October 3, 2018 column at the Huffington Post, I Won’t Support An Elizabeth Warren Presidency While She Appropriates My Identity]

Bernie does not appear to be defending Warren’s Native American claim out of the kindness of his heart or principle. Rather, it was a convenient cudgel for him to hit his Clintonian opponents in the Democrat Party while pretending to defend other candidates.

Nagle responded to Bernie on Twitter in a lengthy thread.

Hi @BernieSanders. I’m Rebecca Nagle. I am a citizen of Cherokee Nation. I am also the subject of the third (and longest) paragraph of your angry letter to @amprog. And… I voted for you in 2016.

Since I have spoken out against @ewarren, I’ve been called a Russian bot, a right wing troll, and a tool of Trump. And now, I’ve been called a pawn of the Democratic establishment. I am none of these things. I am Cherokee woman with a truth ppl on the Left don’t want to hear.

In your letter, without acknowledging my existence, you describe my critique of Elizabeth Warren–a White woman who has falsely claimed to be Native American and Cherokee–as “unfairly targeting” her and an “echo of Trump’s bad faith claims”.

But if u read my words… “Native Americans live in the space btwn Trump and Warren, btwn the stereotypes that were created to excuse the wholesale slaughter of our people and the stereotypes that were created to excuse the wholesale appropriation of our identity and cultures.”

You see that over and over and over again what I am concerned about more than @ewarren, is defending tribal sovereignty and self determination from an epidemic of White people falsely claiming to be us.

Your letter suggests that my article about Warren is part of a larger attack from @amprog on more progressive candidates. I can only speak to what I know, which is my @thinkprogress piece originated with me. I pitched it. So… no conspiracy here.

Other Native writers like @KimTallBear @jfkeeler @NickA_Martin @nick_w_estes @CP_BrandonScott @pollysgdaughter have published their critiques of Warren in @voxdotcom @splinter_news @NBCNews & more. After the DNA test, my tribe issued a public statement condemning her decision.

Maybe instead of Warren being “unfairly targeted” by the right or by the Democratic establishment, Native writers, advocates, and leaders of my tribe were upset with Warren’s actions for a reason.

And maybe as the white dude in the room, your role is to listen. Here is a collection of Native writing on the subject to get started:




Nick Martin at Splinter correctly noted how unseemly Bernie’s attack was, Bernie Came for the Wrong One:

Sen. Bernie Sanders tried to take down centrist libs. Instead, he ended up unfairly attacking a left-leaning Cherokee writer and further diminishing the ramifications of Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test….

Although Sanders categorized her writing as a weapon deployed by the Democratic establishment, that assessment falls apart under even the slightest scrutiny. When Nagle spoke with me today, she said she voted for Sanders in 2016 and supports the majority of his policies. But she also said his active downplaying of the DNA test mirrors the rhetoric she’s faced from Warren supporters—and the Democratic establishment that she’s purportedly a part of.

While Nagle said she was disappointed when she read the letter, she wasn’t necessarily surprised.

“I have been called and accused of basically everything by people who support Warren,” she told Splinter. “People have said I’m just a tool of Trump, that I’m just part of the right wing, a Republican. I’ve had people call me a Russian bot or Russian troll. So, to be placed, without being named, and have it suggested that I’m part of the Democratic establishment that’s trying to take down progressive candidates, I mean, I’m none of those things.”

Nagle, a freelance journalist and Cherokee language teacher, is not, nor has she ever been, a ThinkProgress employee….

“Maybe instead of there being some kind of conspiracy theory for which there’s no evidence, maybe I’m just a Cherokee person who has a reason to be angry and was given a platform to express that,” ….

This is another example of the corrupting influence of Warren’s Native American deception.

Cherokee who have spoken out against Warren, like genealogist Twila Barnes, have been harassed by Warren supporters and accused of being “right-wing” tools for speaking the truth.

Now the leading Democrat candidate is attacking an actual Cherokee author for criticizing another Democrat candidate who falsely claimed to be Cherokee, in order to attack an establishment Democrat think tank.

[Featured Image via YouTube]

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