Cherokee officials have reportedly confirmed that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has apologized to them for publicly taking a DNA test in order to prove that she had Native American ancestors.
What's the story?
Warren has long claimed to be at least part Cherokee, citing family tradition. She even contributed a number of allegedly Native American recipes to a "Pow Wow Chow" cookbook edited by her cousin. These recipes were credited in the book to "Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee." Warren has insisted that her claims of Native American heritage "played no role in my hiring — ever."
President Donald Trump has repeatedly mocked Warren for her claims, calling her "Pocahontas" in at least 16 separate tweets. He even joked about "a representative in Congress" called "Pocahontas" during an event in November honoring Navajo code talkers from World War II.
In mid-October, Warren released the results of a DNA test she had taken, in apparent response to constant needling she had received from Trump and conservatives. The test results suggested that Warren was between 1/64th and 1/1024th Native American.
Almost immediately after Warren announced her results, the Cherokee Nation put out a statement, saying that Warren's "continued claims of tribal heritage" were "undermining tribal interests."
The Cherokee Nation's Secretary of State, Chuck Hoskin Jr., also clarified that "[u]sing a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong."
At some point in between when the results were first released and Friday, Warren personally apologized to the Cherokee people. While the tribe did not reveal the exact wording of her apology, they said that Warren had recently "reached out" to them.
"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," said Julie Hubbard, the tribe's executive director of communications, told Tulsa World. "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."
Warren has launched an exploratory committee to determine whether or not she should run for president in 2020. She is expected to officially announce her candidacy on Feb. 9.