Cherokee Nation, the federally recognized government of the Cherokee people, accused Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Monday of “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage” after Warren released results from a DNA test showing that she had a distant Native American ancestor.
“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement.
Warren, who has been called “Pocahontas” by President Trump, has claimed she has Cherokee and Delaware heritage.
But the Cherokee Nation criticized Warren for using the DNA test to “lay claim to any connection” to a tribal nation.
[Trump: Native Americans don’t want ‘phony’ Elizabeth Warren]
“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,” Hoskin added. “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.”
Hoskin later told CNN's Jake Tapper that Trump's "Pocohontas" nickname for Warren was not appropriate, after Tapper questioned Hoskin about his position on the nickname.
"Oh, she doesn't deserve it," Hoskin said. "And I think it's a term that he means in a derisive way."
Warren’s DNA results were reported by the Boston Globe on Sunday and revealed that the Massachusetts lawmaker has a Native American ancestor “in the range of 6-10 generations ago," concluding she is between 0.09 and 1.5 percent Native American.
Shortly after Cherokee Nation released its statement, Warren said that she acknowledged DNA has "nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship."
"I won't sit quietly for @realDonaldTrump's racism, so I took a test. But DNA & family history has nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship, which is determined only – only – by Tribal Nations. I respect the distinction, & don't list myself as Native in the Senate," Warren tweeted Monday.
I won't sit quietly for @realDonaldTrump's racism, so I took a test. But DNA & family history has nothing to do with tribal affiliation or citizenship, which is determined only – only – by Tribal Nations. I respect the distinction, & don't list myself as Native in the Senate.— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) October 15, 2018
Trump said that he will donate $1 million to a charity of Warren’s choice if he could administer the test himself, honoring a commitment he made in July that he would make the donation if Warren took a DNA test to show her Native American heritage.
“I’ll only do it if I can test her personally,” Trump told reporters Monday. “That will not be something I enjoy doing either.”