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Warren Apologizes to Native Americans for ‘Mistakes’ and ‘Harm’ Caused

Elizabeth Warren at the Frank LaMere Native American Forum in Sioux City, Iowa, August 19, 2019. (Alex Wroblewski/Reuters)

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday spoke to a conference of Native American leaders and apologized for her part in the controversy surrounding her claims of Native ancestry.

“Before I go any further in this, I want to say this: Like anyone who’s being honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes,” Warren told the Native American Issues Forum in Sioux City, Iowa. “I am sorry for harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot, and I am grateful for the many conversations that we have had together.”

Warren has long insisted that she has Cherokee heritage, an assertion critics have jumped on since her 2012 Senate race, accusing her of milking a dubious claim of minority status to achieve her previous position as a Harvard Law professor. In February, she apologized to Cherokee leaders for publicizing a DNA test meant to put the issue to rest, which showed that she is somewhere between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.

President Trump has mocked Warren for her claim, dubbing her “Pocahontas” during his 2016 campaign.

“It is a great honor to be able to partner with Indian country,” she added. “That’s what I’ve tried to do as a senator, and that’s what I promise I will do as president of the United States of America.”

Warren’s remarks come after her campaign on Friday released a detailed policy plan dealing with Native American rights that made no mention of the controversy.

Warren’s plan would establish “predictable, guaranteed funding” for the health-care, education, and infrastructure needs of Native American tribes, revoke the permits granted by the Trump administration for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects, and give tribes authority over crimes committed on their land by outsiders in contravention of a standing Supreme Court precedent.

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