Elizabeth Warren Apologizes for “Not Being More Sensitive to Tribal Citizenship”

The Washington Post disclosed Sen. Warren self-identified as being “American Indian” on a Texas Bar Association registration form in 1986.

Published February 7, 2019

National Indian Gaming Association chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. talks with Senator Elizabeth Warren prior to her speech before NCAI”s general assembly at the 2018 winter session in Washington, D.C. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert

WASHINGTON — Just days before she is expected to officially launch a run for the 2020 Democratic party presidential nomination, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) apologized on Wednesday for “not being more sensitive to tribal citizenship and tribal sovereignty.”

This came one day after the Washington Post reported that back in 1986 Warren identified herself as being “American Indian” on a registration card for the State Bar of Texas.

Warren has long told her family story of having American Indian ancestry, which prompted Donald Trump to mockingly refer the Massachusetts senator as Pocahontas.

Her apology came in a hallway of Capitol Hill when surrounded by a group of reporters, Warren stopped and addressed the issue.

“I really want to underline tribes and only tribes determine tribal citizenship. It’s an issue of tribal sovereignty,” she said.

When asked why she identiifed herself as “American Indian” on the form, to begin with, Warren answered “this is our family story.”

“When I was growing up in Oklahoma, I learned about my family the same way most people do. My brothers and I learned from our mom and our dad and our brothers and our sisters. They were family stories,” she said. “But that said, there really is an important distinction of tribal citizenship. I’m not a member of a tribe. I have apologized for not being more sensitive to that. It’s an important thing.”

She did not rule out there may other documents where she listed herself as American Indian during the course of her career.

Last Thursday, Warren called Principal Chief Bill John Baker to apologize to the Cherokee Nation for the fallout of a DNA test that revealed she has some American Indian ancestry.

While some American Indians are upset Warren has claimed American Indian ancestry because they feel it threatens tribal citizenship and tribal sovereignty, others maintain there is too much attention given to the story.

“This closes the matter,” tweeted Keith Harper, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council after Warren apologized last week. “Onward.”



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