Pocahontas claims DNA test proves she is 1/512th Native American
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren released the results of a DNA test Monday that indicates she is part Native American, a detail behind a long-running feud between she and President Donald Trump.
Her assertion of Native American heritage, as told to her by her mother, was an issue in her 2012 senatorial campaign and has been intensified by Trump, who has mockingly referred to her as “Pocahontas.”
UPDATE: Boston Globe botches math in big Elizabeth Warren scoop on Native American ancestry
“Correction: Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” the Globe said in its correction. That would put the percentage at .097.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders suggested Warren used the Native American connection when she sought advancement in her career. Before her election to the Senate, Warren was a faculty member at Harvard Law School.
“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. 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 prove. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”
– Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr.
Warren released a video Monday that shows her in telephone conversation about the DNA test with Carlos D. Bustamonte, a recognized genetics expert and Stanford University professor.
“The president likes to call my mom a liar,” Warren asks him. “What do the facts say?”
Bustamante replies, “The facts suggest that you absolutely have a Native American ancestor in your pedigree.”
The scientist adds that analysis indicates Warren’s DNA is largely European in origin, but that she had a single Native American ancestor between six and 10 generations ago.
Bustamonte’s conclusion is consistent with Warren family lore, which says O.C. Smith, a relative born in the 1700s, was at least partially Native American.
A 10th-generation Native American relative would make Warren 1/512th Native American. She would be 1/32nd Native American if the relative was from six generations back.
The report on Warren’s DNA test estimates the ancestor appeared in Warren’s family tree eight generations back, and notes “the identity of the sample donor, Elizabeth Warren, was not known to the analyst during the time the work was performed.”
The DNA sample was given to a private lab in Georgia in August, one of her aides said. Warren received the report last week.
The video Monday includes statements from faculty at Harvard Law and other schools where she has taught, insisting that any Native American heritage had no influence on her employment or professional advancement.
“Her heritage had no bearing on her hiring,” Jay Westbrook of the University of Texas-Austin School of Law says in the video. “Period.”
Warren is seeking re-election to the Senate in 2018. She is among several figures in the Democratic Party considered favorites to vie for the party’s 2020 nomination for president of the United States.
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