With the 2020 presidential election under the two-year mark, the United States is buzzing with theories about who will announce their run to become the next commander in chief. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is a major contender for the race, but according to CNN, the politician fears her prospects may have already taken a major hit after releasing a video confirming her Native American heritage that did not take well with the public.
After releasing the results of a DNA test in October this year–a decision she made as a means of being transparent and stands firmly by–the senator received negative reactions from tribal leaders and even more ridicule from conservatives, digging her into a hole that some advisers think requires drastic measures to be taken to get her out of.
According to the New York Times, some advisers close to Warren say she has “privately expressed concern that she may have damaged her relationships to Native American groups and her own standing with activists, particularly those who are racial minorities.”
Other advisers have apparently expressed even more concern, calling for a plan to “repair that damage” that needs to include a “strong apology.”
Warren had been challenged for years by President Trump and others about her Native American roots, and finally decided to take a DNA test to prove her family’s origins in Cherokee and Delaware tribes to her critics. The results showed that she possessed somewhere between 1/64th to 1/1024th Native American heritage, but instead of tabling the subject for good, she was on the receiving end of more criticism.
“She took a bogus DNA test and it showed that she may be 1/1024, far less than the average American,” President Trump, who often refers to the senator as “Pocahontas,” tweeted on his favorite social media platform. “Now Cherokee Nation denies her, ‘DNA test is useless.’ Even they don’t want her. Phony!”
Warren’s controversial decision to not only take but also publicize her DNA test results have also been widely condemned by advocates for racial equality and prominent Native American voices as well, including Dr. Kim TallBear, who called her out for relying on the “settler-colony” definitions of the DNA company to back her claims.
And now, with the 2020 presidential race right around the corner and the almost certainty that her heritage will continue to be a subject of discussion, Center for Popular Democracy co-director Jennifer Epps-Addison tells the New York Times Senator Warren only has one option if she wants to get her name on the ballot–reconciliation.
“And that reconciliation should center Native voices and make sure that their stories of loss and theft of identity come front and center, not, you know, one white woman’s tale of understanding her DNA,” Epps-Addison said.
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