Over 200 Cherokee leaders signed an open letter demanding Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren make things right after making “dangerous” claims.
“Your history of false claims to American Indian identity and the defense of these claims with a highly publicized DNA test continue to dog your political career,” the letter begins.
Warren previously claimed to be of Native American decent but DNA results proved otherwise.
“For Native Americans, this moment is more than an annoyance,” the letter states. “It represents the most public debate about our identity in a generation. In a country where Indigenous people are mostly invisible, what Americans conclude from this debate will impact Native rights for years to come.”
The tribal leaders who penned the letter then claimed Warren’s actions are part of dangerous history perpetuated against Native Americans. “Whatever your intentions, your actions have normalized white people claiming to be Native, and perpetuated a dangerous misunderstanding of tribal sovereignty,” the letter said. “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.”
The letter made it clear the authors seek to reverse a trend of non-Native Americans using false claims of heritage to gain political and financial advantages.
The letter then directly called out Warren for harmful actions and inadequate apologies.
“You have yet to fully address the harm you have caused,” said the Cherokee authors. “While your apologies are a step in the right direction, they have been vague and inadequate. Accountability is not just admitting you made a mistake, but working to correct the harm it caused.”
The letter concluded with instructions for Warren to follow if she is to appease the authors. To read the full letter, click here.