The Cherokee Nation has put out a statement blasting Senator Elizabeth Warren after she released the results of a DNA test showing that she has Native American heritage.
The Massachusetts senator had long been a target for mockery for Donald Trump, who called her “Pocahontas” and claimed that she has been lying about having Native American heritage. But Warren’s DNA test proved that she did have distant Native American lineage, and she has called on Trump to follow through on a pledge to donate $1 million to charity if she could prove the heritage.
The Cherokee Nation has now come out against Warren’s DNA test, releasing a statement on Monday saying that DNA testing is useless in determining tribal citizenship. The statement, which came from Cherokee National Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr., noted that DNA testing does not distinguish between indigenous people from North or South America and cannot be used to determine if a person belongs to a particular Native American tribe.
“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,” the statement noted.
“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 prove. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”
The Trump administration has also attacked Warren, with CNN noting that top adviser Kellyanne Conway called the DNA test “junk science” while admitting that she had not looked at the test and that it “doesn’t really interest me.”
Donald Trump also explained his rationale for not following through on a pledge to donate $1 million to the charity of her choice if she could prove her heritage, saying on Monday that he would need to administer the test himself and it would only count if he had asked her during a presidential debate, a scenario he envisioned while making the initial pledge. Warren had called on him to donate to an organization that supports Native American women who are victims of domestic abuse.
Elizabeth Warren had not claimed any tribal affiliation with the Cherokee Nation.