Elizabeth Warren Claimed ‘American Indian’ Heritage on Texas Bar Registration Card

CAMBRIDGE, MA - DECEMBER 31: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), addresses the media outside of her home after announcing she formed an exploratory committee for a 2020 Presidential run on December 31, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Warren is one of the earliest potential candidates to make an official announcement in what …
Scott Eisen/Getty; Inset: Washington Post

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) identified as “American Indian” on her Texas Bar registration card, raising new questions about whether the 2020 Democrat presidential contender used her claim of Native American heritage to advance her career, according to a report released Tuesday evening.

The Washington Post obtained the registration card, which was previously undisclosed, during an open records request. As the Post noted, the card was handwritten using blue ink and signed by Warren. The card shows Warren wrote “American Indian” for her “race” and is dated April 1986. A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Democrat did not dispute the card’s authenticity, according to the newspaper.

In a brief statement with the Post, Warren once again apologized for claiming Native American heritage.

“I can’t go back,” she said. “But I am sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”

The Post reports:

Warren, asked in a brief interview Tuesday if she’d intended the apology to include labeling herself as Native American when at the University of Pennsylvania and at Harvard University, replied “yes.” She gave the same response when asked if it included labeling herself as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools directory.

“I told him I was sorry for furthering confusion about tribal citizenship,” Warren said. “I am also sorry for not being more mindful about this decades ago. We had a good conversation.” CNN reported her broader apology on Monday.

This development comes after the Cherokee Nation confirmed Warren apologized for taking a DNA test to prove her Native American heritage.

Last Friday, Tribe spokeswoman Julie Hubbard said that the senator had apologized “for causing confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and the harm that has resulted.”

“I understand that she apologized for causing confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and the harm that has resulted,” said Hubbard. “The chief and secretary of state appreciate that she has reaffirmed that she is not a Cherokee Nation citizen or a citizen of any tribal nation.”

Warren released what she said were her DNA test results in October in a failed attempt to bolster her prior claims of Native American heritage.

The DNA test was conducted by a lab in Georgia, which provided no chain of custody of the DNA sample from Warren to them. They forwarded the data results of that DNA test to Stanford University professor Carlos D. Bustamante, who analyzed that data and wrote a report based on his analysis of it. Bustamante’s report stated that Warren shared DNA with residents of Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, not Native Americans who are members of tribes in the United States. The results of that analysis, published on October 16, showed Warren may have a common ancestor who lived approximately six to 10 generations ago with residents of Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. These results mean that at the very least, Warren shares 1/1024 common DNA with residents of Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. At the very most, she shares 1/64 common DNA with residents of Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.

She had previously said her Native American roots were part of “family lore.”

The Cherokee Nation complained then that tribal nations, not DNA tests, determine citizenship and that Warren was “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said at the time. “Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America.”

“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,” he added.

Warren’s campaign declined to comment Friday.

The Associated Press and Michael Patrick Leahy contributed to this report. 

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