Over 200 Cherokee and Native Americans have published a letter demanding presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren formerly retract previous false claims of Native American ancestry (letter embedded below )
The letter suggests that Warren’s lies have led to other dubious claims of ancestry by non-Natives and demands Warren “fully address the harm” she has caused.
Whatever your intentions, your actions have normalized white people claiming to be Native, and perpetuated a dangerous misunderstanding of tribal sovereignty. Your actions do not exist in a vacuum but are part of a long and violent history. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that white members of fake “tribes” have been awarded over $800 million in no-bid federal contracts set aside for minority business owners. Rather than using evidence of Native ancestry, these fake tribes rely solely on family stories and commercial DNA tests.
Warren used family stories and her high cheekbones to declare she was of Native American ancestry. I am not a biologist, nor am I a Native American, but I would dare to say that the majority of people in the world who have high cheekbones aren’t descended from Native Americans.
When you still defend yourself by stating you believed what you heard growing up, you set a harmful example for these white people stealing Native identity and resources with stories very similar to your own.
While the average American thinks of Native Americans as a racial category, we are actually political groups. Our rights are based on citizenship in sovereign Nations and those Nations’ treaty relationship to the United States. But that hasn’t stopped opponents to tribes from arguing that laws defending Native rights treat us differently based on race and therefore should be declared unconstitutional. If they win, it could be the end of tribes as we know them. By publicly equating race and biology with Native identity, your DNA test promoted the exact same logic the Right is currently using to try and destroy Native rights.
The right? Huh? We don’t try to steal rights from others, the right tries to prevent people from taking those constitutional rights “endowed by our creator. I have never tried to say I was a member of a Native American tribe but a member of a different tribe—the tribe of Judah. Judah is descended from one of the sons of the biblical patriarch Jacob. The word Jew comes from Judah.
The letter calls on Warren to “make a clear public statement that includes the following:”
- Like many other white families, your family story of Cherokee and Delaware ancestry is false, and it was wrong for you to repeat it as an adult. You have had the genealogical evidence since 2012. Stating you do not qualify for citizenship is not enough; the truth is you and your ancestors are white. [and she better not pull an AOC and claim she is from the tribe of Judah].
- Equating Cherokee identity with the results of a DNA test was more than a misstep—it was dangerous. Your supporters and the public need to understand why. We ask that you explain that only tribal affiliation and kinship determine Native identity and that equating Native identity with race and biology erodes the foundation of Indigenous sovereignty.
- Claiming Native identity without citizenship, kinship ties or recognition from Native communities undermines Indigenous self-determination. As the most public example of this behavior, you need to clearly state that Native people are the sole authority on who is—and who is not—Native.
It kind of sounds as if the Cherokee nation considers Elizabeth Warren is an illegal immigrant. Maybe that’s why she is a supporter of open borders into the United States.
The outrage of members of the Cherokee Nation and other Native Americans is understandable. Warren’s false claims have confused the American public. The reason it is called the Cherokee Nation is that it IS a nation, and one is eligible to be a citizen of that nation only if they have at least one direct ancestor listed on Dawes rolls a census of the Cherokee nation citizens from 1898-1906. They do not recognize either high cheekbones or family stories.
Maybe it is time for Elizabeth Warren to help the tribe eliminate the fakers by giving a full-throated retraction, and when she is done, her husband can give her a beer.
Read the full letter below:
Open Letter to Senator Warren From Cherokee by Jeffrey Dunetz on Scribd