Democratic hopeful Warren apologizes for Native American ancestry claims
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[August 20, 2019]
By Ginger Gibson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic
presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren on Monday apologized again for her
claims in the 1980s that she is Native American, speaking to a crowd of
tribal leaders in Iowa.
"Like anyone who's been honest with themselves, I know that I have made
mistakes. I am sorry for harm I have caused. I have listened and I have
learned a lot, and I am grateful for the many conversations that we've
had together," Warren said.
Warren spoke at the Native American Presidential Forum in Sioux City,
Iowa, hosted by several tribes from across the country.
In February, ahead of Warren's campaign launch, the Washington Post
reported she had described herself as Native American in a form to join
the Texas legal bar in the 1980s. It was the latest revelation in a
six-year saga during which she has been unable to quiet critics who say
she failed to recognize the importance of tribal sovereignty.
Tribal leaders have criticized her claim, arguing that tribal membership
is required for someone to describe themselves as Native American.
Last week, Warren detailed a new policy proposal aimed at empowering
Native American tribes through land protection and law enforcement
reforms and boosting financial support for chronically underfunded
health and education programs.
Democrats in the crowded primary field vying for the party's nomination
to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in 2020 have been silent
on Warren's past Native American claims and her ancestry has not been an
issue in the primary.
[to top of second column]
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren waves as she
arrives to speak at the Frank LaMere Native American Forum in Sioux
City, Iowa, U.S., August 19, 2019. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski
Republicans, however, have reveled in mocking Warren's previous
claims of native ancestry. Some Democrats, nervous that any
vulnerability in a nominee would be exploited by Trump, have worried
that the Massachusetts senator handed the president an obvious
attack line if she were to be the nominee.
Warren's heritage claims have dogged her since her first campaign
for the U.S. Senate in 2012, when Republican Scott Brown attacked
her for being listed by Harvard University as a minority when she
was a member of the faculty.
After Warren criticized Trump ahead of his 2016 campaign, he
nicknamed her “Pocahontas” despite criticism he was being racially
Last year, after Trump offered to pay her $1 million if she took a
DNA test, Warren released results of an examination of her genetics
that found she had only fractional native ancestry. That angered
tribal leaders who said being a Native American is not determined by
DNA alone but by membership in a tribe.
Trump has not paid the offered $1 million.
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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