Advisers to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) are privately suggesting the potential 2020 presidential candidate apologize for taking a DNA test proving marginal Native ancestry.
In October, Warren released a DNA test showing she had a Native-American ancestor dating back somewhere between six to 10 generations. While hailing the results as a win, Warren was attacked not just by conservatives mocking the results, but by Native American groups that have historically opposed the use of DNA to prove ancestry.
"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 proven," Cherokee Nation secretary of state Chuck Hoskin Jr. said at the time. "Senator Elizabeth Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage."
Now The New York Times reports that Warren has "privately expressed concern that she may have damaged her relationships to Native American groups and her own standing with progressive activists, particularly those who are racial minorities."
"Several outside advisers are even more worried: They say they believe a plan should be made to repair that damage, possibly including a strong statement of apology," the Times reports. "The advisers say Ms. Warren will have to confront the issue again if she announces a presidential campaign, which is expected in the coming weeks, and several would like her to act soon."
Said advisers are most concerned about Warren's damaged relationship with Native tribes and racial minorities, who viewed the DNA test as perpetuating antiquated ideas about the relationship between DNA and race. Granted anonymity, former and current Warren allies told the Times the DNA test was a "strategic failure" that was "depressing and unforgettable," and that they were "shocked" and "rattled" by the senator’s decision to take one.