“Elizabeth Warren releases DNA test with ‘strong evidence’ of Native American ancestry,” headlined a CNN report Monday. “The president likes to call my mom a liar,” Warren said. “What do the facts say?”
According to Dr. Carlos Bustamante, PhD, “an internationally recognized leader in the application of data science and genomics technology” who bagged his doctorate in biology from Harvard, “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.” Actual Native Americans weren’t buying it.
“Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement. “Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”
According to Joel B. Pollock of Breitbart, the test results mean Warren “may have no more Native American DNA than the average white American, and less than many other Americans
Even 1⁄64 — corresponding to one great-great-great-great grandparent — would not qualify Warren for membership in any Native American tribe, nor justify her claims to Native American identity.” Pollock recalls that Harvard Law School once touted Warren’s claim as proof of faculty “diversity.”
As Fox News broke it down, Warren’s DNA test ended up “handing more fodder to Republican critics, who pointed out the test results indicate she could actually have less Native-American heritage than the average European American.” President Trump, who calls Warren “Pocahontas,” said “who cares?” about the DNA test, which is not really news.
In 2012, The Atlantic and Washington Post, among others, disproved Warren’s claim but in her 2014 A Fighting Chance, the Democrat still maintained that she is of Native American background. In this book, Warren comes billed as an “expert on economic issues,” but the narrative raises some doubts. Consider, for example, Warren’s views about the way people prosper in America.
Nobody in this country “got rich on his own,” she explains. Rather, “you moved goods on the roads the rest of us paid for” and used workers “the rest of us paid to educate.” You were safe in your factory “because of police and fire forces the rest of us paid for.” And so on, the same Big Brother view as POTUS 44. Not much of that dynamic emerges in Warren’s personal story, in which she succeeds through intelligence and old-fashioned hard work.
CNN billed Warren’s DNA test as “an apparent attempt to pre-empt further questions and attacks should she run for president in 2020.” That may be getting ahead of the November 6 election, in which Warren faces Republican Jeff Diehl and independent Shiva Ayyadurai.
Last summer Ayyadurai, a “dark-skinned Indian guy” saw no people like himself at a Warren event in Great Barrington, so he set up across the street and spoke out against racism. That prompted Warren supporter Paul Solovay to approach Ayyadurai and push the candidate’s bullhorn into his face. As Ayyadurai’s supporters tackled the militant, the Indian carried on.
“That’s racism right there,” the MIT graduate told the crowd. “You don’t know what racism is. You’ve never experienced it.” According to Ayyadurai, “We don’t produce enough engineers. We don’t produce enough doctors. What we do is produce a bunch of scumbag lawyer lobbyists like Elizabeth Warren.”
Warren’s DNA test may not have boosted her chances for the White House but it may have set a precedent for politicians. Back in 2015, filmmaker Joel Gilbert asked Malik Obama, son of the Kenyan Barack H. Obama, if he thought the president looked like Frank Marshall Davis, the beloved “Frank” of Dreams from My Father.
“There’s a great resemblance,” Malik Obama said. Asked about a DNA test, Obama replied, “Yes. I would be willing to do that. I don’t know how I’d deal with it, if it really came out that he really is a fraud or a con.” No DNA test took place, which may have emboldened other politicians to make extravagant claims about their ancestry.
Kevin de León, which isn’t the name on his birth certificate and voter rolls, is running for the U.S. Senate against fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein. Last year de Leon claimed his father was a Chinese cook named Andres, born in Guatemala. The Chinese cook’s son, currently California’s state senate boss, grew up on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and “identifies strongly with Mexican culture.” A DNA test could shed some light on this story.
Meanwhile, however Elizabeth Warren fares in November or in 2020, she may have made the first case for full background checks for all federal candidates, including DNA and full documentation. Before they vote for people who will make federal law, and who often serve for decades, the people need to know: “What do the facts say?”