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Cherokee Citizens Pen Blistering Open Letter to Elizabeth Warren

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is under fire again for her heritage fallacy. Sen. Warren has insisted that she is of Native American heritage for years, in order to receive voter sympathy, despite evidence and her own DNA results completely dispelling her ridiculous claim.

Cherokee citizens penned an open letter to Sen. Warren, asking that she stop using their culture, and her fake ties to it, for political gain:

“Senator Warren, as you seek the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, 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 also calls on Sen. Warren to fully apologize and own up to the harm she has caused:

As Native community members, academics, activists, scientists, writers, organizers, aunties, uncles, young people, and tribal citizens concerned about the future of Native rights, we call on you 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.

  • 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.

Sen. Warren has barely been held to account for this lie about her heritage, which she perpetuates for political gain, and has refused to sincerely apologize. Perhaps this letter will compel her to own up to the harm she has caused.

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