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President Donald Trump likes to call Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas”.
But this week, Senator Warren responded to the president. She released a video of her talking with a Stanford geneticist and also spoke to news outlets about her heritage. The geneticist “concluded that “the vast majority” of Warren’s ancestry is European, but he added that “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor,”” according to The Boston Globe.
The Cherokee Nation released a statement that criticized Warren.
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.
The Oklahoman reporter Justin Wingerter added context to the statement…
It’s worth noting how unusual this is for the Cherokee Nation. While some Cherokees have criticized Warren, the tribe rarely comments on the controversy. Its chief is a Democrat and Oklahoma tribal members have criticized Trump for his “Pocahontas” slur. https://t.co/QEV4irHKt7
— Justin Wingerter (@JustinWingerter) October 15, 2018
And here’s more context from Dr. Adrienne Keene…
The piece of the Warren video that is hard for me is the entire section of folks defending her hiring. They say “her ethnicity was not a factor, she was an incredible teacher.” “Her race was not a factor, she’s brilliant.” Etc. It makes them feel mutually exclusive.
— Dr. Adrienne Keene (@NativeApprops) October 15, 2018
Warren’s video was released after the Supreme Court upheld North Dakota’s voter ID law, which requires voters to show a street address to prove their residency, instead of a P.O. box. Many Native American reservations do not use physical street addresses, instead relying on P.O. boxes for their mail. NPR reports that tribal identification, which used to be accepted for voting, won’t be valid for this year’s general election.
Record numbers of Native women are running for election this year, on the federal and state level. But “there’s a lot of energy around this year’s crop of candidates but getting voters out is another issue,” NPR reports “Historically, Indigenous voters have had some of the lowest turnout rates of any group in the country.”
What issues are resonating with Native people around the country? What’s behind the record numbers of Native women running for office?
- Mark Trahant Editor, Indian Country Today. @TrahantReports
- Simon Moya-Smith Oglala Lakota; Chicano writer and reporter; CNN Contributor; author of the forthcoming book, "Your Spirit Animal is a Jackass." @SimonMoyaSmith
- Carrie Levine Senior reporter, The Center for Public Integrity; @levinecarrie
- Deb Haaland Democratic Nominee for New Mexico’s First Congressional District. @Deb4CongressNM
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