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Elizabeth Warren Apologized to Cherokee Nation for DNA Test

The senator hopes it will put this issue to bed

Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, speaks during an organizing event

Nati Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Massachusetts Senator and Elizabeth Warren made another attempt to move on from the Native American ancestry issue that has, at the very least, been an ongoing distraction for the soon-to-be 2020 presidential candidate. On Friday, the executive director of Cherokee Nation Communications, Julie Hubbard, said Warren apologized for releasing DNA tests that she claimed provided evidence that she was of Native American ancestry.

“Senator Warren has reached out to us and has apologized to the tribe,” Hubbard said in a statement. “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.”

Late last year, Warren rolled out a video that traced her family background and included the DNA results. The video was meant as a retort to President Trump’s racist taunts, but it proved problematic and garnered pushback from Native American tribes and some in the media. In the immediate aftermath of the criticism, Warren said the video speaks for itself, telling the New York Times, “People can make of it what they will. I’m going to continue fighting on the issues that brought me to Washington.”

But more recently Warren seems to know she needs to answer some of the criticism. In early January, prior to this apology she acknowledged that DNA does not equate tribal citizenship, saying, “I’m not a person of color. I’m not a citizen of a tribe. Tribal citizenship is very different from ancestry. Tribes and only tribes determine tribal citizenship and I respect that difference.”

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