Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has apologized to the Cherokee Nation after she released a DNA test last October in an attempt to prove she had Native ancestry.
Warren was previously quiet on the controversy that surrounded the release of the test, which upset tribal leaders ― though not all ― and made her the punchline of Republicans and President Donald Trump himself, who has repeatedly referred to her as “Pocahontas.” Tribal officials confirmed to Tulsa World that Warren had “reached out” in recent days, just as she is expected to make an announcement this month on her run for president.
“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,” Julie Hubbard, the tribe’s executive director of communications, told the publication. “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.”
Warren faced backlash after she released the results of the DNA tests to show Native ancestry. Some Native American activists felt their cultural identity was being relegated to a simple test.
“While the vast majority of the individual’s ancestry is European, the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the individual’s pedigree, likely in the range of 6-10 generations ago,” the DNA report said.
The Cherokee Nation called the testing “inappropriate and wrong” at the time.