Elizabeth Warren Gets No Love from Cherokee Nation: DNA Test Results, Massachusetts Tribal Casino Bill Fail to Buy Credibility

Posted on: October 16, 2018, 02:30h. 

Last updated on: October 16, 2018, 04:00h.

Elizabeth Warren’s claim that she has high cheekbones — “like all of the Indians do,” as she was famously once berated for saying — has already gotten her in plenty of hot water with various Native American tribes.

Elizabeth Warren
If Elizabeth Warren is trying to solve her “Pocahontas problem” before a 2022 presidential run, it may have backfired on Monday, as the Cherokee Nation lambasted her DNA test for “undermining tribal interests.” (Susan Walsh/AP)

But the Massachusetts senator — who has recently championed tribal casino rights  in her home state after previously trying to negate an already passed gambling bill — says she now has the DNA test to prove her Cherokee heritage.

Test results produced Monday by a popular home self-administered genetics site suggests she had a Native American ancestor dating back six to 10 generations, which, according to the Boston Globe, makes her anything between 1/64 and 1/1,024 Native American.

Not a Member of the Tribe

Warren has been widely mocked for her claims of Native American heritage since it was revealed she’d listed herself as a racial minority in the Association of American Law Schools Directory of Law Teachers from 1986 to 1995 — not the least by arch-foe Donald Trump, who has famously referred to her as “Pocahontas.”

Political commentators are speculating that Warren is now attempting to bring the ridicule to a close in preparation for a presidential run in 2022.

Meanwhile, Warren has backed a bill that would give the Mashpee Wampanoag the right to build a $1 billion casino in Taunton in her native Massachusetts.

The bill seeks to reaffirm a 2015 Department of Interior decision that took land into trust for the Mashpee, later declaring it a sovereign reservation. Following a legal challenge to the tribe’s casino plans, the DOI reversed the Obama-era decision, not only scuttling the casino, but also the claim to self-governance.

Critics have claimed she is supporting the tribe in a bid to rid herself of her “Pocahontas problem,” and question why she is championing the Mashpee casino bid over a rival bid in cash-strapped Brockton — especially after trying to reverse gaming legalization altogether five years ago.

Cherokee Nation Speaks Out

On Monday, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. slammed Warren for ostentatiously brandishing her DNA test.

Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,” he said. “It makes a mockery out of DNA tests … while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments … whose ancestors are well-documented and whose heritage is proven.

“Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

A $1 million bet proffered by Trump this summer is unlikely to be paid off.

“I will give you a million dollars, paid for by Trump, to your favorite charity if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian,” said Trump at a rally in July, addressing Warren.

Trump’s response when he heard about the DNA test was “Who cares?” The president later said he might consider paying out on the bet if he were allowed to administer the test himself.

Warren responded, saying that such an idea was “creepy.”