Elizabeth Warren
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After Elizabeth Warren asserted that she's of Native American descent with a DNA test released on Monday, prominent members of the Cherokee Nation — a tribe to which she's claimed ancestry — are addressing the fraught results

October 16, 2018 01:21 PM

After Elizabeth Warren asserted that she’s of Native American descent with a DNA test released on Monday, prominent members of the Cherokee Nation — a tribe to which she’s claimed ancestry — are addressing the fraught results.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. stated that 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.”

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Hoskin further clarified: “Sovereign tribal nations set their own 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 claim any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation 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.”

He concluded, “Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

Elizabeth Warren
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President Donald Trump, 72 — who has repeatedly accused Warren of lying about her heritage and mocked her with the nickname “Pocahontas” — took to Twitter on Tuesday to celebrate Hoskin’s statement, saying, “Thank you to the Cherokee Nation for revealing that Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to as Pocahontas, is a complete and total Fraud!”

He also tweeted that even the Cherokee Nation “doesn’t want” Warren and called on her to apologize for “perpetrating this fraud against the American Public.”

But Hoskin also voiced criticism of Trump, telling NPR’s Morning Edition that he “should not be calling her ‘Pocahontas,’ ” but “should be looking into what the needs of Indian country are, because the needs are there.”

The Boston Globe first obtained the results of Warren’s DNA test on Monday. It was conducted by Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamante, who determined that his work “strongly supports” the existence of a pure Native American ancestor in Warren’s family tree, likely six to 10 generations ago.

The Massachusetts Democrat, 69, has since released the results on her website along with a short documentary about her family history.

Warren has said in the past that she is part Native American and pointed to family stories passed down to her through generations as evidence. According to CNN, in 2012, Warren also revealed in a campaign ad that her mother was “part Cherokee and part Delaware.”

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Asked about the test results at the White House on Monday, Trump told reporters, “Who cares? Who cares?”

He was also asked about his promise at a rally in July 2018 to donate $1 million to a charity of the senator’s choice if she took a DNA test proving Native American lineage.

According to a pool report, he denied promising the $1 million, even though the rally was recorded.

Elizabeth Warren
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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Warren reminded Trump of his comments on Monday, saying in a series of tweets that Trump should send a check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, which supports Native American victims of sexual violence.

“NIWRC is a nonprofit working to protect Native women from violence,” Warren wrote. “More than half of all Native women have experienced sexual violence, and the majority of violent crimes against Native Americans are perpetrated by non-Natives. Send them your $1M check.”

On her website, she also called Trump’s attacks “disgusting.” She stated: “Donald Trump uses racism, sexism, homophobia, bigotry and hate to divide and distract us while he rigs the system for the rich and powerful. But our country’s disrespect of Native people didn’t start with President Trump. It started long before President Washington ever took office.”

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