More than 200 Native Americans signed an open letter to Elizabeth Warren, insisting that Warren’s claims to Indian ancestry are “part of a long and violent history” of “white people claiming to be Native.” The signers also accuse Warren of perpetuating “a dangerous misunderstanding of tribal sovereignty” by implying that Native Americans are part of “a racial category” rather than members of “political groups.”
Our rights are based on citizenship in sovereign Nations and those Nations’ treaty relationship to the United States. But that hasn’t stopped opponents to tribes from arguing that laws defending Native rights treat us differently based on race and therefore should be declared unconstitutional. If they win, it could be the end of tribes as we know them. By publicly equating race and biology with Native identity, your DNA test promoted the exact same logic the Right is currently using to try [to] destroy Native rights.
Warren wrote a 12-page (!) letter in response, affirming that which was obvious to everyone who has ever laid eyes upon the senator from Massachusetts: “I am not a person of color; I am a white woman, and that is how I identify.”
(Well, that’s how she identifies now.)