Elizabeth Warren Apologized to Cherokee Nation for Her DNA Test Debacle

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Tucked away at the bottom of an article announcing Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plans to fully enter the 2020 fray was a report that Warren has officially apologized to Cherokee Nation for her DNA test video.

Warren will make her presidential bid official on Feb. 9, The Intercept reported Thursday night, citing a pair of anonymous sources. The piece went on to detail Warren’s path to entering what will surely be a crowded Democratic Party primary, noting her wealth tax proposal (a very good idea!) and her ongoing rebuttals to dingleberry Howard Schultz. The piece then moved into the sole damaging gaffe Warren’s committed since she started to ramp up her push for the Oval Office—the DNA test.

In October, Warren released a six-minute video in which she revealed the results of a DNA test, which included interviews with former bosses, family members, and the geneticist that conducted the test. It did not go over well in Indian Country. The major concern among Native peoples was the fact that in releasing the video as a response to President Donald Trump’s ongoing racist and derogatory remarks, Warren’s chosen shield—a DNA test showing she had North or South American ancestry way down the line—undergirded the already frail understanding American citizens have of tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenry.


After the Intercept reported, citing two sources, that Warren had approached and apologized to the Cherokee Nation, the tribe responded with a statement confirming the interaction:

“Senator Warren has reached out to us and has apologized to the tribe,” Cherokee Nation’s executive director of communications Julie Hubbard told The Intercept. “We are encouraged by this dialogue and understanding that being a Cherokee Nation tribal citizen is rooted in centuries of culture and laws not through DNA tests. We are encouraged by her action and hope that the slurs and mockery of tribal citizens and Indian history and heritage will now come to an end.”


The statement is fairly big (and relieving) news, because aside from when the New York Times and an attendee at an Iowa speech asked her about it, Warren has remained mum on the backlash to her test, at least publicly. Based on the statement, and an op-ed written yesterday by the tribal nation’s Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Warren’s message appears to have been accepted and understood by Cherokee Nation officials.

Neither Cherokee Nation or Warren’s camp responded to our request for comment; we will update this post if either of them do.