Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who declared this week that she intends to form a “presidential exploratory committee” in preparation for a run at the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, says on her new campaign website that making fun of her (very) tenuous claim of Native American ancestry is akin to claiming former President Barack Obama was actually born in Kenya.
The Daily Caller was the first to report that Warren’s fancy new “presidential committee” website features a “fact squad” page designed to help clear up the controversies surrounding the progressive Massachusetts senator.
Apparently, her heritage-related troubles aren’t the fault of an incurious family who culturally appropriated indigenous American ancestry without any evidence they were related to a single Native American, but rather the fault of a “right wing” noise machine hellbent on casting Warren as … something.
“They have called Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ and used racist depictions of Native American history, culture, and people to make Elizabeth the butt of a joke,” the website notes. “These actions not only dishonor Native people and their many contributions to this country, but perpetuate harmful stereotypes that Native communities continue to fight against.”
Warren’s exploratory committee goes on to suggest that questioning her claim to Native American ancestry is akin to spreading a rumor that former President Obama was operating under a forged birth certificate.
“Show us your papers. Release your birth certificate. It’s all part of the right’s disgusting effort to use race-baiting and fear-mongering to distract our country and divide our people while they rig the system for the rich and powerful,” the site reads.
There is, of course, a big difference between criticism of Warren and the claims of the so-called “birther movement” (which originated with Hillary Clinton supporters trying to unseat the then-upstart Barack Obama in the 2008 primary): President Barack Obama was born in the United States, so criticism of his “hidden” ancestry were both unfair and misplaced.
Warren, who has long since claimed to be part Cherokee based on little evidence other than a racist stereotype about Native Americans having “high cheekbones” and a family cookbook titled “Pow Wow Chow,” is less than 1/1,024 Native American by scientific consensus, based on an analysis of her DNA — and even that is questionable. That tiny bit of “Native” ancestry that registered on the test could originate anywhere across North or South America.
Certainly conservatives made fun of Warren for embracing such flimsy “proof” of her claims to Native American ancestry, but they weren’t the only ones offended. In fact, the Cherokee Nation, of which Warren claims to be a blood member, rebuked the Massachusetts senator for even daring to claim Cherokee ancestry without going through the proper channels or providing anything in the way of proof she’s a descendant of anyone of Native ancestry.
“Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. in a statement to media the same day Warren released her “conclusive results.” “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 proven.”
Warren’s strategy thus far — aside from the colossal DNA test misstep — has been to insulate her from criticism about her ancestry claims by suggesting that she has never used the claim to her own advantage, and to “champion” Native American causes in Congress — like a very controversial casino in her home state — presumably in return for silence from Native American groups.
But it’s clear that since neither of those strategies works, she’s going to suggest criticism of her (literal drop) of Native American blood is racist.
Good luck, Liz.