Cherokee Nation Rejects, Rebuts Elizabeth Warren’s DNA “Evidence”

 

It is surprising that Elizabeth Warren, a former law professor, would stumble into the crossfire of tribal enrollment and racial identity politics. She announced that she took a DNA test, to profile her likely ancestry. Yet, Senator Warren should have known what the Cherokee Nation, with which she claimed some ancestry, would say.

Senator Warren had been ridiculed for weak claims of Cherokee heritage, and falsely claimed Native American status in seeking employment as a law professor.

“No, as I said, these are my family stories. I have lived in a family that has talked about Native Americans, talked about tribes since I had been a little girl,” she said. “I still have a picture on my mantel and it is a picture my mother had before that – a picture of my grandfather. And my Aunt Bea has walked by that picture at least a 1,000 times remarked that he – her father, my Papaw — had high cheek bones like all of the Indians do. Because that is how she saw it and your mother got those same great cheek bones and I didn’t. She that thought was the bad deal she had gotten in life.”

“Being Native American has been part of my story, I guess, since the day I was born,” Warren continued.

According to the Boston Globe, Warren identified as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) deskbook for between 1985-1996. The candidate has seemingly struggled to articulate her reasons for identifying as a minority, but has strongly rejected the notion that she benefited from opportunities she might not have otherwise received had she not identified as a Native American.

Now, likely in preparation for a presidential campaign, Senator Warren has answered President Trump’s challenge to prove her claim. She released a report claiming Warren likely had a Native American ancestor between six and ten generations ago.

While the vast majority of the individual’s ancestry is European, the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the individual’s pedigree, likely in the range of 6- 10 generations ago.

Warren characterized this report as strong evidence and called on President Trump to pay up on a $1 million charity bet. However, the DNA report shows the imprecision of the science, and may actually give more ammunition to critics.

The inherent imprecision of the six-page DNA analysis could provide fodder for Warren’s critics. If O.C. Sarah Smith were fully Native American, that would make Warren up to 1/32nd native. But the generational range based on the ancestor that the report identified suggests she’s between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American. The report notes there could be missed ancestors.

With the advent of tribal casinos and other lucrative enterprises, tribal membership became a thing of value. Failing to carefully vet members would cause tribes to spread payments from these enterprises too thinly. Likewise, access to preferential education or employment programs would be diluted. So, when Elizabeth Warren rolled out the DNA test report and claimed it was a vindication of her past claims, that was a threat to actual tribes.

The Cherokee Nation took the step of releasing a stinging rebuke to the press and posted it to their official website.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued the following statement Monday in response to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test claiming Native Heritage:

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “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. 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 proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

Note that the Cherokee Nation both rejects DNA as a basis of tribal ancestry claims, and also points out that the very DNA evidence, upon which Senator Warren relies, does not distinguish between indigenous peoples of North or South America. Yet, we commonly characterize people with the former ancestry as “Native American,” and those with the latter ancestry as “Latina” or “Hispanic.” The Census Bureau uses the terms “American Indian or Native Alaskan” as a restricted racial category:

American Indian or Alaska Native – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Here is how the Bureau of Indian Affairs answers the question “who is an American Indian or Native Alaskan?

As a general rule, an American Indian or Alaska Native person is someone who has blood degree from and is recognized as such by a federally recognized tribe or village (as an enrolled tribal member) and/or the United States. Of course, blood quantum (the degree of American Indian or Alaska Native blood from a federally recognized tribe or village that a person possesses) is not the only means by which a person is considered to be an American Indian or Alaska Native. Other factors, such as a person’s knowledge of his or her tribe’s culture, history, language, religion, familial kinships, and how strongly a person identifies himself or herself as American Indian or Alaska Native, are also important. In fact, there is no single federal or tribal criterion or standard that establishes a person’s identity as American Indian or Alaska Native.

There are major differences, however, when the term “American Indian” is used in an ethnological sense versus its use in a political/legal sense. The rights, protections, and services provided by the United States to individual American Indians and Alaska Natives flow not from a person’s identity as such in an ethnological sense, but because he or she is a member of a federally recognized tribe. That is, a tribe that has a government-to-government relationship and a special trust relationship with the United States. These special trust and government-to-government relationships entail certain legally enforceable obligations and responsibilities on the part of the United States to persons who are enrolled members of such tribes. Eligibility requirements for federal services will differ from program to program. Likewise, the eligibility criteria for enrollment (or membership) in a tribe will differ from tribe to tribe.

President Trump will just redirect his attack to incorporate the new information, including the Cherokee Nation’s response. Senator Warren had no legitimate basis for publicly asserting a racial minority identity and still does not. As a lawyer and law professor, she knew better. As a Senator, who would be President, she’s flailing about, caught by her past ploy.

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  1. Mike "Lash" LaRoche Inactive
    Mike "Lash" LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Great post.  Elizabeth Warren is in heap big trouble.

    • #1
  2. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    • #2
  3. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    I do hope he still calls her Pocohantas.  It’s fun.

    • #3
  4. JudithannCampbell Inactive
    JudithannCampbell
    @JudithannCampbell

    lol, I was in a play in college where one of the characters was half Native American. When asked which tribe, he responded “Cherokee”. There were 3 or 4 Native Alaskans in the audience, and when the actor delivered that line, they started laughing hysterically. It wasn’t supposed to be funny, so at intermission, the director sought them out and asked them why they found that line so funny. They said that most people who claim to be part Native American will claim that their part ancestry is Cherokee: this was 30 years ago, and even then, it was so common that it was a stereotype is some circles. :)

    • #4
  5. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    lol, I was in a play in college where one of the characters was half Native American. When asked which tribe, he responded “Cherokee”. There were 3 or 4 Native Alaskans in the audience, and when the actor delivered that line, they started laughing hysterically. It wasn’t supposed to be funny, so at intermission, the director sought them out and asked them why they found that line so funny. They said that most people who claim to be part Native American will claim that their part ancestry is Cherokee: this was 30 years ago, and even then, it was so common that it was a stereotype is some circles. :)

    Hahaha That’s exactly what I said earlier today. When someone says that,  you can be pretty sure they’re 0%. It’s like that’s the only one they’ve heard of.

    • #5
  6. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    From Mark Steyn

    The Return of Fauxcahontas 

     

    Why, back in 1984 she submitted some of her favorite dishes to the Pow Wow Chow cookbook, a “compilation of recipes passed down through the Five Tribes families.”

    The recipes sent in by “Elizabeth Warren—Cherokee” include a crab dish with tomato mayonnaise. Mrs. Warren’s fictional Cherokee ancestors in Oklahoma were renowned for their ability to spear the fast-moving Oklahoma crab. It’s in the state song:

    Ooooooklahoma!
    Where the crabs come sweepin’ down the plain. . .

    But then the white man came and now the Oklahoma crab is extinct, and at the Cherokee clambakes they have to make do with Mrs. Warren’s traditional Five Tribes recipe for Cherokee Lime Pie…

    • #6
  7. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    How stupid is she that she let Trump goad her into taking that DNA test?

    He spends so much time in their heads he should be paying rent…

    • #7
  8. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Kozak (View Comment):

    From Mark Steyn

    The Return of Fauxcahontas

     

    Why, back in 1984 she submitted some of her favorite dishes to the Pow Wow Chow cookbook, a “compilation of recipes passed down through the Five Tribes families.”

    The recipes sent in by “Elizabeth Warren—Cherokee” include a crab dish with tomato mayonnaise. Mrs. Warren’s fictional Cherokee ancestors in Oklahoma were renowned for their ability to spear the fast-moving Oklahoma crab. It’s in the state song:

    Ooooooklahoma!
    Where the crabs come sweepin’ down the plain. . .

    But then the white man came and now the Oklahoma crab is extinct, and at the Cherokee clambakes they have to make do with Mrs. Warren’s traditional Five Tribes recipe for Cherokee Lime Pie…

    Cannot stop laughing!

    • #8
  9. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Play it every time she appears until she is so embarrassed she leaves the public sphere.

    • #9
  10. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    • #10
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    I do hope he still calls her Pocohantas. It’s fun.

    He never got it right. Perhaps now he will. It was “Fauxcohantas.” Perhaps now he’ll say “my mistake, she’s not Pocohantas, she’s Fauxcohantas.”

    Too subtle?

    • #11
  12. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):

    Great post. Elizabeth Warren is in heap big trouble.

    How!

    • #12
  13. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    I do hope he still calls her Pocohantas. It’s fun.

    He never got it right. Perhaps now he will. It was “Fauxcohantas.” Perhaps now he’ll say “my mistake, she’s not Pocohantas, she’s Fauxcohantas.”

    Too subtle?

    Princess Spreading Bull.

    • #13
  14. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    It gets better…..

    In the Pow Wow Chow cookbook were recipes allegedly authored by Warren, as reported by Daily Mail[6]:

    The allegedly Cherokee recipes included[7] Cold Omelets with Crab Meat[8], Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing,[9] Herbed Tomatoes,[10] and Mexican Oatmeal Soup[11]:

    Boston Radio host Howie Carr discovered that three of Warren’s recipes appeared to be plagiarized[12]:

    The two recipes, “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat” and “Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing,” appear in an article titled “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat,” written by Pierre Franey of the New York Times News Service that was published in the August 22, 1979 edition of the Virgin Islands Daily News, a copy of which can be seen here.

    Ms. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing  is a word-for-word copy of Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe.

    Mrs. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Cold Omelets with Crab Meat contains all four of the ingredients listed in Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe in the exact same portion but lists five additional ingredients. More significantly, her instructions are virtually a word for word copy of Mr. Franey’s instructions from this 1979 article. Both instructions specify the use of a “seven inch Teflon pan.” …

    Ms. Warren’s instructions are word-for-word copies of Mr. Franey’s 1979 instructions for this recipe, with one exception. Ms. Warren says, “Let cook until firm and lightly brown…” and Mr. Franey says “Let cook until firm and lightly browned…” [emphasis added] …

    The third potentially plagiarized recipe, “Herbed Tomatoes,” appears to be copied from this 1959 recipe from Better Homes and Garden.

    • #14
  15. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Kozak (View Comment):

    It gets better…..

    In the Pow Wow Chow cookbook were recipes allegedly authored by Warren, as reported by Daily Mail[6]:

    The allegedly Cherokee recipes included[7] Cold Omelets with Crab Meat[8], Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing,[9] Herbed Tomatoes,[10] and Mexican Oatmeal Soup[11]:

    Boston Radio host Howie Carr discovered that three of Warren’s recipes appeared to be plagiarized[12]:

    The two recipes, “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat” and “Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing,” appear in an article titled “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat,” written by Pierre Franey of the New York Times News Service that was published in the August 22, 1979 edition of the Virgin Islands Daily News, a copy of which can be seen here.

    Ms. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing is a word-for-word copy of Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe.

    Mrs. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Cold Omelets with Crab Meat contains all four of the ingredients listed in Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe in the exact same portion but lists five additional ingredients. More significantly, her instructions are virtually a word for word copy of Mr. Franey’s instructions from this 1979 article. Both instructions specify the use of a “seven inch Teflon pan.” …

    Ms. Warren’s instructions are word-for-word copies of Mr. Franey’s 1979 instructions for this recipe, with one exception. Ms. Warren says, “Let cook until firm and lightly brown…” and Mr. Franey says “Let cook until firm and lightly browned…” [emphasis added] …

    The third potentially plagiarized recipe, “Herbed Tomatoes,” appears to be copied from this 1959 recipe from Better Homes and Garden.

    Hahaha! Well at least it’s not from @jameslileks ‘s “Horrors From the Briny Deep.” hahahaha!

    • #15
  16. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The Cherokee tribal rules sensibly want the person applying for membership to be able to document their descent from actual members. The Secretary of State Chuck Hoskins, Jr. makes that clear. You’re not getting in just because Paw Paw had high cheekbones.

    • #16
  17. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    As I understand it Trump owes Warren a million dollars.

    • #17
  18. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    • #18
  19. Richard O'Shea Coolidge
    Richard O'Shea
    @RichardOShea

    If I am doing the math right, doesn’t this round out to about 0%?

    • #19
  20. Mike "Lash" LaRoche Inactive
    Mike "Lash" LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Brilliant!

    • #20
  21. Mike "Lash" LaRoche Inactive
    Mike "Lash" LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):

    Great post. Elizabeth Warren is in heap big trouble.

    How!

    How now, pow wow chow?

    • #21
  22. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Mike "Lash" LaRoche (View Comment):

    Great post. Elizabeth Warren is in heap big trouble.

    I like the Pow-Wow Chow thing the best.  A bit of ordinary venality or even strategic thinking plus family lore plus a few lies on the level of those of the average politician will explain most of this.

    But a plagiarized recipe for a seafood dish when you claim to from a forest or plains tribe?  That’s something else.

    Say it like Han Solo: That’s somethin’ else.

    • #22
  23. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    The misappropriation of minority racial identity, like the misappropriation of sexual violence victim status, is corrosive to true claims.

    • #23
  24. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    The misappropriation of minority racial identity, like the misappropriation of sexual violence victim status, is corrosive to true claims.

    Yeah, like mine.  I’m totally 1/32 (or maybe it was 1/64) Cherokee according to family lore, and I think it’s high time I was recognized as Ricochet’s Native American member with all the privileges pertaining thereunto.

    Also, by the way, if I ever run for President I’ll let you see my birth certificate as proof that I was born in East Africa.

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    But a plagiarized recipe for a seafood dish when you claim to from a plains tribe?

    Except the Cherokee were not from the plains. They were moved there in 1837. Before that they were in the Carolinas and Tennessee.

    • #25
  26. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    And this woman is my SENIOR US Senator

    The mind reels…

    • #26
  27. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    JudithannCampbell (View Comment):

    lol, I was in a play in college where one of the characters was half Native American. When asked which tribe, he responded “Cherokee”. There were 3 or 4 Native Alaskans in the audience, and when the actor delivered that line, they started laughing hysterically. It wasn’t supposed to be funny, so at intermission, the director sought them out and asked them why they found that line so funny. They said that most people who claim to be part Native American will claim that their part ancestry is Cherokee: this was 30 years ago, and even then, it was so common that it was a stereotype is some circles. :)

    Yeah, it’s a stereotype, but as I understand it had some basis in tribal policy in that at the time, at least, the Cherokee nation (or is it nations?) was fairly liberal in who they allowed to be tribal members. Other tribal groups had more rigid requirements. There are pros and cons with each type of policy, some of which are mentioned in the OP.

    As a conservative who favors a crazy patchwork of state and local regulation, I like that it isn’t the same for every tribe.

    • #27
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    But a plagiarized recipe for a seafood dish when you claim to from a plains tribe?

    Except the Cherokee were not from the plains. They were moved there in 1837. Before that they were in the Carolinas and Tennessee.

    Forest tribe, then.

    Wait, though.  Would seafood be part of the diet of the Cherokee in the Carolinas?  Should I cut back on that particular criticism?

    • #28
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    But a plagiarized recipe for a seafood dish when you claim to from a plains tribe?

    Except the Cherokee were not from the plains. They were moved there in 1837. Before that they were in the Carolinas and Tennessee.

    Don’t forget Georgia and Alabama.

    • #29
  30. dnewlander Coolidge
    dnewlander
    @dnewlander

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Play it every time she appears until she is so embarrassed she leaves the public sphere.

    This one, too:

    • #30

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