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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 20 May, 2019

Elizabeth Warren apologises to Native American tribe for DNA test

Warren decision to take the test was criticised by Native American leaders.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

WHITE HOUSE HOPEFUL Elizabeth Warren has apologised to the Cherokee Nation after she took a DNA test in response to President Donald Trump casting doubt on her claim of indigenous heritage.

The Massachusetts Democratic senator said she took the test to silence Trump, who regularly slurs her with the term “Pocahontas” and claims she benefited in schools and the workforce from minority status.

Warren has previously said that her Native American ancestry is part of “family lore”.

Warren’s DNA test showed evidence of Native American heritage between six to ten generations back.  

But the test was controversial for Native Americans, for whom being part of a tribe is cultural and includes living under tribal laws, rather than simple genetic links.

“Senator Warren has reached out to us and has apologised to the tribe,” the Cherokee Nation said in a statement reported by the New York Times

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,” it added.

However, another Cherokee genealogist who spoke to the New York Times said that however that Warren needed to go further and rubbish the idea of DNA testing for race.

“She needs to go public and say she fully takes responsibility and that the DNA test was ridiculous. There is still something about this that feels off,” Twila Barnes said.

Warren, 69, the US Senate’s consumer protection champion, became the most high-profile Democrat to throw her hat into the ring when she announced a presidential exploratory committee on 31 December.

She is on the party’s left flank, and built her reputation by holding Wall Street accountable for its missteps.

The New York Times reported that Warren was concerned that the DNA test issue could have hurt her relations with minority communities.

The decision to take to the dest was also understood to be criticised by some within her own party as a lapse of judgment. af 

© – AFP 2019 with reporting by Rónán Duffy

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