Elizabeth Warren Apologizes for Claiming Native American Heritage With DNA Test

February 6, 2019, 1:16 PM UTC

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has further apologized this week for claiming to be Native American. On Monday, she told CNN that she had also said she was sorry to Cherokee leaders for creating any “confusion” with her use of a DNA test to prove Native American ancestry.

“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,” said a statement from the Cherokee Nation.

The Democrat, who is expected to announce her 2020 presidential run, has faced extensive criticism for past claims of Native heritage.

“I can’t go back,” Warren told the Washington Post on Tuesday, “But I am sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”

Controversy over her claims have been the source of political goads over the years. In 2012, when running for her current Senate seat, her opponent, Republican Scott Brown, called Warren “Fauxcahontas.” Since the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly invoked “Pocahontas” as a racial slur against her.

Republicans charged that Warren self-identified as a Native American to further her career, although the Boston Globe found that ethnicity hadn’t played a part in being hired at five different law schools.

In October 2018, Warren released DNA test results that suggested a distant Native ancestor. But the move opened her to criticisms from Native tribes for ignoring traditions and tribal governments and processes.

Past claims are still likely to dog her through a presidential run. Wednesday saw news that Warren called herself an “American Indian” on a 1986 registration card for the State Bar of Texas, according to Bloomberg.