Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren addresses congregants at Reid Chapel AME Church on Sunday in Columbia, S.C. Photo: AP
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Warren apologizes for heritage claim; woos Native Americans

48 Comments
By ELANA SCHOR and JOSH FUNK

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren offered a public apology Monday to Native Americans over her past claim to tribal heritage, directly tackling an area that's proved to be a big political liability.

"Like anyone who has been honest with themselves, I know I have made mistakes," the Massachusetts senator said at a forum on Native American issues in this pivotal early voting state. "I am sorry for the harm I have caused."

Monday's remarks were an effort to move past the fallout from her past claims of tribal ancestry, which culminated in a widely criticized release of a DNA analysis last year. The issue nearly derailed her campaign in the early days as President Donald Trump began derisively referring to her as "Pocahontas."

Now that Warren is gaining in most polls, she's trying to prove to voters that the controversy won't doom her in a general election matchup against Trump. The detailed policy agenda to help Native Americans that she released last week helped her secure a warm reception from attendees at the tribal forum.

After drawing a standing ovation, Warren said "I have listened and I have learned a lot" from conversations with Native Americans in recent months, describing herself as "grateful" for the dialogue. She fielded questions about her proposals, which include a legislative change for a Supreme Court ruling that impedes tribal governments' ability to prosecute crimes committed on tribal lands by those who don't belong to a tribe.

She did not receive any questions about her own background.

Warren's DNA analysis — part of a broader pushback against Trump's disparaging nickname — showed evidence of a tribal ancestor as far as 10 generations back, but the Cherokee Nation joined some other Native Americans in rebuking the senator for attributing tribal membership to genetics. Warren later apologized privately to the Cherokee and had addressed her regret before Monday's appearance.

As of Monday, her campaign website's page containing a video and other materials Warren had released on the DNA analysis was no longer active.

The Native American forum this week is expected to draw 10 of her White House rivals.

New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, who last year became one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, introduced Warren on Monday after endorsing her presidential campaign last month and aligning with her for new legislation aimed at helping tribal communities. Haaland lamented that Warren's ancestry has attracted outsized attention when Trump faces his own charges of racism.

Those who "ask about Elizabeth's family instead of issues of vital importance to Indian Country," Haaland told the forum audience, "feed the president's racism."

Warren's remarks were well-received by attendees at the Native American forum.

Manny Iron Hawk, 62, who lives on the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation in South Dakota, said Warren "did excellent" in her Monday appearance and has done a good job of addressing her past mistakes. "I think she did. A person has to admit their mistakes and move on."

Iron Hawk said he had hoped to talk to Warren about tribal governance issues, but she left too quickly for him to catch her.

Snuffy Main, 64, who traveled to the conference from Montana, said he doesn't think Warren needs to continue apologizing for claiming Native American heritage.

"I don't understand why she is constantly apologetic for making a mistake," said Main, who is a member of the Gros Ventre Tribe of Montana. He said he liked what Warren had to say about making sure the country honors its promises and treaties with tribes.

"If she can do even a fraction of what she promised, that would be beneficial," he said.

Gary Funmaker, 72, of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, said Warren had "good energy to her" and he didn't see much need for further apology.

"That's accepted. That's old news," said Funmaker, a Republican who used to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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48 Comments

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She's not sorry; she just wants their votes.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

Warren made stupid mistakes. Good on her for owning up. It's reassuring to hear a politician fess up. And speak coherently using proper sentences.

Haaland lamented that Warren's ancestry has attracted outsized attention when Trump faces his own charges of racism.

Does anyone know if Trump's retracted any of the 11,000 (and counting) Pinocchios he's reported to have said?

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Her claim was more than cringeworthy.

If she’s nominated to run, Trump will hammer this even more and make her look ridiculous. He’s good at trolling and name-calling.

She shouldn’t be the candidate.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

@mrnoidallShe's not sorry;

And you know that because...?

she just wants their votes.

She's a politician running for office. Have you read about Trump's taxpayer funded political rallies and the things he's said because he wants votes?

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Will Warren pay reparations since she took “diversity” jobs that real Native Americans should have gotten?

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

@cla68 since she took “diversity” jobs 

I haven't read she took jobs. Do you have evidence? Or just another flame.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Even up, people. My best friend is Cree.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Her claim was more than cringeworthy. 

If she’s nominated to run, Trump will hammer this even more and make her look ridiculous. He’s good at trolling and name-calling. 

She shouldn’t be the candidate.

For once you have said something I totally agree with.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

She's not sorry; she just wants their votes.

What an insightful comment given Warren is a politician. Hilarious that you rag on Warren for this but excuse Donny's constant lying. Intellectual dishonesty fueled by hyperpartisanship at its finest.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

What an insightful comment given Warren is a politician.

Anthony Wiener is a politician as well.

Hilarious that you rag on Warren for this but excuse Donny's constant lying.

No, but Trump never claimed he was Native American or Black or Hispanic in order to get an easy pass to go to college.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

What an insightful comment 

Thanks.

Hilarious

Glad I could brighten your day.

that you rag on Warren for this but excuse Donny's constant lying.

Donny doesn't lie so much as you don't believe the truth.

Intellectual dishonesty

Warren tried to convince us she was a Native American when it's clear she's lilly white.

fueled by hyperpartisanship at its finest.

Good to see you can recognize your own flaws. That's half the battle.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Harm? Give me a break. There is so much I support with regard to Native Americans, including the water protestors and even Native American rights to cede their reservations from the Union if they want. But yeah, so many of them are constantly bellyaching about things that don't matter.

Warren has nothing to apologize for. Whether some tribe accepts her as "official" or not, she has a Native ancestor and that's that. Lots of Americans are claiming Irish, Scottish, English, German and other ancestry without DNA proof which Warren has. She should have never gotten a DNA test if she is just going to apologize for telling the truth! It shows she is weak.

Also, Warren has not insulted Native Americans. Trump has with his use of "Pocahontas" as an disparaging term.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

What exactly is the problem? Warren thought she, based on family stories, was of partial Indian heritage. Her only mistake was in interpreting the DNA tests -- they showed she has little Indian heritage. 1% or so is insignificant.

The bottom line is that if the American public makes a Presidential decision on this, it shows their ignorance and susceptibility to nonsense. This mistake compared to the daily craziness, lies, and incompetence of Trump? You have got to be kidding me!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Speaking of ancestry, there's more Native American in Warren than Scandi in Drumpf, "the Swede", the favorite ethnic guise he donned to fool his Jewish tenants. As befits an inveterate scam artist, Trump has been a man of many parts to many people: just witness the ultimate charlatan chameleon on public display at his "Nuremberg" rallies.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

What exactly is the problem? Warren thought she, based on family stories, was of partial Indian heritage. 

You believe that garbage? Not one single Native American believes that. I don’t think Warren even believes it herself.

Her only mistake was in interpreting the DNA tests -- they showed she has little Indian heritage. 1% or so is insignificant.

No, her mistake is, she got caught red-handed and is seriously trying to fix something that just can’t be fixed or put back in a bottle.

The bottom line is that if the American public makes a Presidential decision on this, it shows their ignorance and susceptibility to nonsense. This mistake compared to the daily craziness, lies, and incompetence of Trump? You have got to be kidding me!

Yeah, keep trying. Lol

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

She is done.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

It's racist when to be considered native American, you have to have a tribal govt validate you and get blood quantums but not require Japanese Americans to have Japanese govt validate their ancestry and require a certain percentage of ancestry.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Anthony Wiener is a politician as well.

And?

No, but Trump never claimed he was Native American or Black or Hispanic in order to get an easy pass to go to college.

Warren seems to have believed what her parents told her. What a shocker! How dare her take her parents' word for it!

Donny, however, lies knowingly. Completely the same thing, said nobody that understands words.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@bas4f Not one single Native American believes that. 

Do you have evidence, and why are you speaking for Native Americans?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

You believe that garbage? Not one single Native American believes that. I don’t think Warren even believes it herself.

You believe everything that Donny says, so . . .

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I still find it funny that a locale in the States will say it's 67% minority population. Do they know the definition of minority? 49% and below is a minority...

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

No, but Trump never claimed he was Native American or Black or Hispanic in order to get an easy pass to go to college.

No, he ran a scam college which fleeced people instead.

Give me Warren’s dodgy claim over that disgrace any day of the week.

I just think putting up a candidate without something as humiliating as this hanging over him or her is a better contrast to the pathological liar and scam artist in charge now.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Harvard once listed her as a minority faculty member for statistical purposes, there is no evidence she received any affirmative-action benefits. She never sought membership in the tribe.

She knew what she was doing. Selfish White woman, not the only one in the world.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Has nothing to do with what her parents said or who is in her family history. Most American's are mixed, she's a white woman, she know's it, I know it also. She attempted to take advantage of something created that belonged to others.

Theres a term in the USA that describes her actions. "Mighty White of Her''. She is unfit for office but so is the clown we have in thier today.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@juminRhee

It's racist when to be considered native American, you have to have a tribal govt validate you and get blood quantums but not require Japanese Americans to have Japanese govt validate their ancestry

There are no social advantages to being Japanese-American, as there are to being able to claim to be Native-American (grants/education/jobs/shares/benefits etc), so "racism" does not really fit in this context. Or in disadvantages for that matter (at least post-WWII concentration camp days).

There used to be a lot of institutional racism and discrimination towards Asians in general, and Japanese specifically, on the West coast. The government specifically made unequal laws to prohibit Japanese from settling. But I can't think of any positive discriminations being made.

We need to agree on differentiated terms such as, say, racist and racialist, to discern between discrimination and aware of differences.

There's a lot of unhappinesses and politics surrounding Blood quantum laws and many tribes reject them as being discriminatory and put emphasis on the adoption of culture instead. For example, a lot of Native American women were raped by US military and civilians (it still goes on) "diluting" their child's blood 50% but grew up 100% native (and were discriminated against), a lot of runaway slaves and indenture servants (Scots and Irish) joined Native American tribes and even ended up leading them.

Warren's case is not unique and I was tend to accept it as an innocent mistake. Record keeping was very poor and generally depending on oral traditions, as in her family.

Typically many African-Americans like to claim their have native blood but generally don't. The whole DNA testing scene is blowing many people's minds apart.

In their case, as in Warren's, I would presume that that faith, that belief or the need to believe they had Native-American blood, is a kind of sub-conscious desire for authenticity and belonging that many peoples have.

Warren means well. I think she's cleaner than most politicians.

I suppose this was just her way of living with being descended from immigrant invaders who carried out a genocide of native people and have no right to be in the land they occupy.

FYI, I forget the exact figure but I think it was 65% of the USA is STILL not legally ceded.

It still belongs to the Native Americans who are being denied it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

JustMyThoughts I have no idea how your thought processes work. On the one hand you claim she got no tangible benefits. On the other hand you claim she is selfish and took advantage. On one hand you claim she has mixed heritage. On the other you claim she is White, as if she is pure. And on the basis of this you claim she is unfit for office?

This whole thing is a trifle. Its nothing to nobody except for the opposition to abuse and make us forget about what is really important. The country could burn while this moronic conversation comes to blows.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

shes toast.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Norman Goodman, 'Intent' is sometimes more telling about a persons character, than proving if they benefited from thier actions.

I assume you are not American based on your comments about race. Ignorance aside, in the USA skin color is everything, that's why lighted skinned Black people have in my country's history attempted to 'pass' as white.

She and 'Harvard' both felt an advantage to her being a minority and particularly, a Native American. It created an false impression of inclusion. Inclusion into a system that has excluded people based on 'race'. In America, she a White woman, it's that simple.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just look at the photo. Odds are that everyone in it has a percentage of 'white' in them. And the White person is... Exactly.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Warren seems like a sincere, intelligent and kind person, but it looks like Trump's going to find a million and one ways to beat her over the head with her false native American claims.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@juminRhee

I grew up hearing about that 'good' Indian hair. LOL, thank you for your comments. You're clearly thoughtfull and have knowledge about 'race' and what it is in America.

In many ways, Trump's core support is people who have been racially disadvantaged as well. As a boy, I also heard the term 'White Trash' often or more specifically, 'poor white trash'.

Being disenfranchised from a political and economic system while suffering extream violence from the ruling class is the story of many Americans.

As a human, do I blame her for seeking advantages, maybe not. But man, I wish my country could produce better people to run for President.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I assume you are not American based on your comments about race.

Your thinking is extremely convoluted and that is about the nicest thing I can say. I am American, born and raised.

If you want to get into intent, its either good, neutral or malicious. I cannot find malicious intent on her part. She is just like most Americans and over-proud of her heritage and just like all adults was young and starry-eyed once.

This whole thing is a stupid hill of beans. You want malicious? Trump is clearly malicious. He is a troll supported by trolls who don't give a damn about America and Americans except to further their trolling. I would support a literal mad dog before I would support Trump. Not a Warren fan or fan of any established Democrat, but far better Warren who has grown up since the 1970s rather than Trump who hasn't grown up at all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And?

No big deal, right? Well, the same goes for Warren as a politician, no big deal.

Warren seems to have believed what her parents told her. What a shocker! How dare her take her parents' word for it!

Yeah, you can believe that, No native or for that matter most Americans are not buying it.

Donny, however, lies knowingly.

Warren did as well, she thought this stunt wouldn’t catch up to her and it did.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

shes toast.

I dunno, look at her competition. She might just pull it out. If the nominee is anyone but Tulsi Gabbard, though, we're looking at a landslide Trump victory.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

So Trump lying is no big deal?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So Trump lying is no big deal?

Several of Trump supporters have used the 'logic' (Trump's variety of dream logic, perhaps) that all politicians lie, Trump's a politician, therefore he lies - so no big deal. I agree with Emerson's 'a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds', but it seems some Trump supporters are a touch inconsistent, maybe even hypocritical, calling out Warren on this one. 11,000 and counting? Or was the 11,000 figure the number attending his inauguration.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Several of Trump supporters have used the 'logic' (Trump's variety of dream logic, perhaps) that all politicians lie, Trump's a politician, therefore he lies - so no big deal.

And at the same time the conveniently forget that the reason they voted for him is because he wasn't a politician.

The party of no-consistency, no-ethics, no-morals. Deplorable.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Several of Trump supporters have used the 'logic' (Trump's variety of dream logic, perhaps) that all politicians lie, Trump's a politician, therefore he lies - so no big deal.

God, I wished liberals would have cared this much about the last administration and their lies even 1/3 I would have never complained.

I agree with Emerson's 'a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds', but it seems some Trump supporters are a touch inconsistent, maybe even hypocritical, calling out Warren on this one.

Why? Hey, she won’t be President, so she should save the pain of hurt and shame now, get out and continue in politics while drinking a beer. If she’s messes this up, there’s no coming back from this. Ask Lurch Kerry.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I wished liberals would have cared this much about the last administration

Obama was a man of integrity.

You're trying to speak badly of him, while supporting Trump?

What a joke. Bizarro world.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If she’s messes this up, there’s no coming back from this.

What? Bad translation again? LOL

@bas4f Ask Lurch Kerry.

I'm trying to recall which poster it was who claimed they never name-called. And if the defense is 'just parroting other trolls' - that's not much of a defense.

By the way, have you provided evidence re

@base4fNot one single Native American believes that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Always seems to turn into a 'trump' bad, 'obama' good 'shout out'.

Yawn...

Warren is White, look at the photo. She's a white lady who had a career in academia where she might have assumed that being Native American gave her an advantage via some sort of affirmative action or she was uninformed of the advantages she could have recieved by checking the Native American box. She has handled this situation horribly.

Trump is a reckless buffoon, a conspiratorial racist moron, whose weird comments should be disregarded by sensible people.

Does this sum it up?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm trying to recall which poster it was who claimed they never name-called.

You guys call Trump names so...

By the way, have you provided evidence re

Well she’s definitely not popular with Native Americans since they did give her a scolding and she’s not popular with Blacks, add to that her toxic policies. She’s DOA.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Warren does have a few good things going for her. She hasn't asked for any bailouts because she was bankrupt. She hasn't been accused of rape and sexual assault by numerous people. She doesn't have a racist bone in her body. Even though she may have lied about being an Indian, look at the mountain of lies Trump has told since he's been president.

The only thing Trump needs is one bad year like his fellow Republican president G.W. Bush had in 2008.

Trump is just lucky to have been riding on Obama's economic coattails up to now.

*"Make America Atlantic City Again!"** * (Bill Maher)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

she’s definitely not popular with Native Americans since they did give her a scolding 

All of them, yup.

You have some numbers to back that up?

Warren's past mistake on her ancestry gets the spotlight because she has has otherwise proved to be a principled legislator and a champion of the working class. Trump's countless lies get a pass because everyone already knows he's a scumbag con artist without a shred of morality.

Trump supporters are fine with that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Warren is a nobody, another millionaire politician who has enriched herself through politics and will do whatever gives her an advantage - just as she lied abt her non- existent native american heritage to gain advantage.

I do hope she gets the nomination - Trump will make mincemeat of her. For someone purported to be so smart it seems she isnt smart enough to realize ( or her ego wont let her admit) that shes finished and has no hope of being elected president.

Meanwhile, let the fun continue!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

She's apologized, unlike the man who's told over 11 thousand porkies.

He hasn't apologized for his Pocahontas comments, either. Just like his birther trash.

shes toast.

I don't think so. And I should know.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I really hope she becomes president

You're going to be so sorely disappointed. Even if she beats out Sleepy Joe, Crazy old Bernie, Booty Judge, and Kamala "I put a bunch of black people in jail for smoking weed, then laughed about smoking it myself" Harris, Trump will wipe the floor with her.

They’ll go even more ballistic than when the black man won.

Wasn't his mother white?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Warren really doesn’t need to apologize. She never claimed tribal membership, the touch issue for native Americans, Cherokee nation, so much as a Native American ancestor.

You want faux outrage, and laughable double standards read any Trump supporter chime-in on this.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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