Senator Elizabeth Warren's decision to pin her political redemption on an extremely dubious DNA test has predictably infuriated American Indian tribes. Plenty of people wrongly claim Cherokee ancestry. It's a sensitive issue.
And Warren stepped all over it in the clumsiest Pow Wow Chow way possible.
The Cherokee Nation responded to the results of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's DNA teston Monday, arguing that “a DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship.” The response came after the Democratic senator revealed that, based on tests, she has Native-American ancestry “in the range of 6-10 generations ago.”
"Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America," Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a press release.
"Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation," Hoskin continued. "Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage."
There's a sharp warning there.
Warren's DNA scam was offensive. And beyond being offensive, it also threatens tribal identity.
Elizabeth Warren thought that tribal outreach would protect her from the consequences of this move. She was wrong.