Julian Brave NoiseCat, the first-ever Native Issues Fellow at the Huffington Post, explained in an opinion-editorial published Tuesday why Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “should not claim Native American identity.”
Massachusetts senator (and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful) Elizabeth Warren is not Native American.
Native American identity is about belonging to a community. It is a specific political, legal and social formation akin to a form of citizenship that is particular to each tribe, nation, confederacy or otherwise sovereign and self-determining Indigenous government—numbering 567 federally recognized tribes and hundreds of Alaska Native, Hawaiian and state-recognized entities across the country.
It is also racial. Not in the biological sense, but in a more ephemeral cultural and social understanding of that word—an identity lived by Native Americans across tribal affiliations and policed by the shifting structures of discrimination, opportunity and the many mundane and extraordinary life experiences in between.
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