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Native Americans Criticize Sen. Warren’s DNA Test as Trump Denies Donation Promise

HeadlineOct 16, 2018

Back in the United States, President Trump said Monday he would not apologize for repeatedly using a racial slur—”Pocahontas”—to describe Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. Trump’s comments came after he denied earlier on Monday that he offered to donate $1 million to Senator Warren’s favorite charity if a DNA test proved her claims of Native American ancestry. Video of a July 5 Trump rally in Montana shows the president said exactly as much. Senator Warren has said her mother told her she has Cherokee and Delaware ancestors; on Monday, she released a DNA test that provides “strong evidence” of Native American lineage in her family tree dating back six to 10 generations. She also released a video about her family heritage with comments from former colleagues who said she never claimed Native ancestry when applying for jobs.

Interviewer: “Do you remember her heritage ever coming up during the hiring process?”

Randall Kennedy: “No.”

Olin Wellborn III: “No.”

Jay Westbrook: “No. Her heritage had no bearing on her hiring, period.”

Doug Laycock: “I was chairing the committee that year. If ethnicity had been part of the discussion, I would have known about it.”

Randall Kennedy: “Her name with respect to racial minority hires? No, never.”

The controversy comes as many Native Americans have criticized Senator Warren’s use of a DNA test. Chuck Hoskin Jr., secretary of state of the Cherokee Nation, said, “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.” Last month, Senator Warren said at a town hall meeting that she would “take a hard look” at a 2020 presidential run after the midterms.

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