Well, that didn’t take long at all.
Days after all but announcing her bid for president, nearly four months after releasing DNA testing results that pointed to a Native American ancestor, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has issued an apology to the Cherokee Nation, according to a spokesperson for largest federally recognized tribe.
Neither Warren’s office nor her campaign have commented on the matter.
“Senator Warren has reached out to us and has apologized to the tribe,” Hubbard said in a statement. “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,” the statement continued, “and hope that the slurs and mockery of tribal citizens and Indian history and heritage will now come to an end.”
Warren, who has spent years defending her decision to list herself as minority in a directory for Harvard Law School. Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown accused Warren of using her heritage to gain an edge in the professional world in 2012.
“Professor Warren claimed that she was a Native American, a person of color,” Walker said during a debate. “And as you can see, she’s not.
Last October, Warren responded to an open challenge issued by Trump at a rally months earlier, calling on her to prove her claims to Native ancestry.
“I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity paid for by Trump if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian,” Trump said to a cheering crowd.
Warren’s response came with a short, campaign-style video with family testimonial alongside video clips of barbs from Trump.
In response to Warren’s rollout, the Cherokee Nation described DNA testing as “useless,” citing legal requirements for tribal membership.
“Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “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.”
Warren, who was asked about her ancestry when she announced her exploratory committee for president, likely felt it best to try to put the issue to bed ahead of a long Democratic primary season in a field filled with capable, diverse candidates.
Given the GOP’s long tradition of measured responses to public apologies, we’ll see how it works out for her campaign in the comings months.