Cherokee Nation: Senator Warren Apologized For Trying To Prove Heritage With DNA Test
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma - The Cherokee Nation says Senator Elizabeth Warren has apologized for trying to use a DNA test to prove she has Native American ancestry.
The Democrat from Massachusetts ignited a storm of controversy in October when she released the results of a DNA test which she said proved a distant relative was at least partially Native American.
On Friday, February 1, 2019, the tribe released a statement saying Warren had apologized.
“Senator Warren has reached out to us and has apologized to the tribe,” Cherokee Nation’s Executive Director of Communications Julie Hubbard said. “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. 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.”
Warren has been mocked by President Trump and other politicians for claiming a Native American descendant. But the tribe itself criticized her for trying to use a DNA test to prove her heritage.
CBS News has reported Warren plans to announce she's running for president on February 9, 2019.
Some of her critics accused Senator Warren, who grew up in Oklahoma, of using her claim of Native American heritage to improperly further her career as a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.
Some of the harshest criticism of her claim came from Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr.. He issued the following statement in October about Senator Warren’s DNA test:
"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 nations 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."