The Cherokee Nation Rejects Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Claims of Ancestral Heritage

The Cherokee Nation, recognized by the United States Government as the governing body for the Cherokee people, released a strongly worded statement accusing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) of “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

Sen. Warren in the past has claimed to have Native American heritage and has used those claims on applications to Harvard and other prestigious schools when applying for employment.  President Trump believed that Warren is not Native American and repeatedly called her “Pocahontas” to draw attention to what he saw as a ludicrous assertion of ancestral heritage in order to gain employment by being categorized as a minority.

Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong

In a clear attempt to put to bed the debate over her heritage, most likely because she wants to run for President in 2020, Warren decided to take a DNA test to prove her claims to be true.  However, the results that came back only fueled the debate over her heritage. The Boston Globe reported her results as having a Native American ancestor “in the range of 6-10 generations ago,” thus concluding she is between 0.09 and 1.5 percent Native American.


The Cherokee Nation criticized the DNA test as an improper way to “lay claim to any connection” to a tribal nation.  According to Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., “A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. 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,” Hoskin added. “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.”

After the Cherokee Nation released their statement, Sen. Warren responded by acknowledging that DNA has “nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship.” She then took to Twitter to release a statement condemning President Trump’s supposed racism.


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