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Over 200 Cherokee and other Native Americans have signed onto an open letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) calling on the presidential candidate to incontrovertibly retract previous claims she made of having Native American heritage.
“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 reads. “For Native Americans, this moment is more than an annoyance; it represents the most public debate about our identity in a generation.”
The letter then urges Warren to move past lip-service and start undoing some of the damage she has done.
“You have yet to fully address the harm you have caused,” the letter continues. “While your apologies are a step in the right direction, they have been vague and inadequate. Accountability is not just admitting you made a mistake, but working to correct the harm it caused.”
The letter, organized by Cherokee Nation citizens Joseph M. Pierce, Daniel Heath Justice, Rebecca Nagle, and Twila Barnes, cites a Los Angeles Times, also cites a Los Angeles Times report to prove that Warren has normalized the dangerous trend of white people claiming to be Native American. The report details how $800 million in federal contracts reserved for minorities have been falsely given to fake “tribes” in recent years.
For decades, Warren has claimed that her family heritage included Cherokee ancestry. According to the Hill, she once claimed she was “American Indian” while registering for the state bar of Texas. Then, after sparring over her heritage claims with President Trump — who unaffectionately refers to the senator as “Pocahontas” — Warren released a report indicating that she could be as much as 1/64th Native American, or as little as 1/1,024th.
Needless to say, the report did nothing to help her case.
On Tuesday, Warren responded to the letter by penning a 12-page response letter to the Cherokee Nation and others apologizing for her past claims, but the group of Native Americans was reportedly not satisfied.
One of the original letter’s organizers took to Twitter to say that an apology is not what they wanted, but a complete disavowal along with efforts to improve the situation for Native Americans in the country.