WASHINGTON – After years of dealing with criticism for claiming Native American ancestry, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is going public with the results of a DNA test.
The Massachusetts Democrat shared the analysis of her genetic background – which found “strong evidence” of Native American ancestry going back six to 10 generations – with the Boston Globe on Sunday.
Stanford University professor Carlos D. Bustamante conducted the analysis and concluded that while a “vast majority” of Warren’s background is European, “the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor,” the Globe reported.
President Donald Trump has derisively referred to Warren as “Pocahontas” in an attempt to mock her claim. Last week, Trump said at a rally in Iowa that he hopes Warren runs against him in 2020 so that “we can finally get down to the fact as to whether or not she has Indian blood.”
“Her mother says, ‘She has high cheekbones, that’s why,'” Trump said. “And she’s gotten a lot of advantages by falsely claiming what she’s claiming.”
His attack echoes a long-running criticism among conservatives who say Warren, a former law professor, used her claim of Native American ancestry to gain advantage in the academic world, where there is a strong emphasis on diversity in hiring.
Warren fired back at Trump in a campaign video about her background, which includes a scene where she gets the results from Bustamante.
“The president likes to call my mom a liar. What do the facts say?” Warren asks Bustamante in a phone call.
“The facts suggest that you absolutely have Native American ancestry in your pedigree,” Bustamante says.
The video also includes clips of eight colleagues from various law schools who praise Warren as a scholar and vehemently deny that her background played any role in her hiring.
Last month, Warren released to the Globe the contents of her personnel files from the universities where she has worked. In addition, the paper interviewed more than 100 colleagues and every person involved with her hirings that reporters were able to contact.
The Globe’s conclusion: “It is clear that Warren was viewed as a white woman by the hiring committees at every institution that employed her.”
The results of Warren’s DNA test are unlikely to silence her fiercest critics, however.
Warren’s family lore says that her great-great-great-grandmother was at least part Cherokee, which would make her 1/32nd Native American. When Warren’s heritage became an issue in her 2012 Senate race against Scott Brown, conservatives said that even if true, 1/32 did not qualify Warren to identify as Native American.
“While her claim to be, at most, 1/32 Cherokee would make an interesting tidbit at a cocktail party, it doesn’t really amount to what most of us think of as a ‘minority,'” the late Breitbart editor Mike Flynn wrote in 2012. “It suggests, rather, someone stretching things a bit to make herself seem slightly more interesting. At worst, it could be a case of Warren stretching the truth to get advantages others don’t get.”
Although Bustamante’s analysis could support Warren’s claim, to be 1/32nd Cherokee, If her Native American ancestry stretches back 10 generations, that would make her just 1/512 Native American, according to the Globe.
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