Elizabeth Warren addresses DNA test and Native American heritage during Iowa trip: 'Tribal citizenship is very different from ancestry'

  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren addressed the DNA test she conducted to show she has Native American ancestry.
  • Warren made the comments during her first trip through Iowa after launching her exploratory committee to run for president in 2020.
  • Warren emphasised the difference between “ancestry” and “tribal citizenship.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren addressed the DNA test she revealed to show she could have Native American ancestry while on the campaign trail in Iowa, days after launching her exploratory committee to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

During a town hall event, an audience member asked Warren about the DNA test and if it gave President Donald Trump “fodder to be a bully,” Politico reported.

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“I can’t stop Donald Trump from what he’s gonna do,” Warren said of Trump, who often calls her “Pocahontas” to mock her claims of a Native American lineage. “I can’t stop him from hurling racial insults. I don’t have the power to do that.”

“I am not a person of colour. I’m not a citizen of a tribe. Tribal citizenship is very different from ancestry,” she added. “Tribes and only tribes determine tribal citizenship and I respect that difference. I grew up in Oklahoma and like a lot of folks in Oklahoma, we heard the family stories of our ancestry.”

Warren noted that she revealed the DNA test results last year because it had become such a dominant issue from Republican critics during her 2012 Senate campaign.

“And so my decision was, we’re just going to put it all out there,” she said.

In her teaching career, Warren repeatedly categorized herself as a minority, specifying that she was Native American. Critics have made allegations that Warren used her claimed heritage to gain advantages in academia, despite a lack of official ties to any tribe. The criticism has become a pain-point for Warren as she ramps up her campaign for president.

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