Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts explained Sunday that she only released her DNA-test results to “rebuild confidence” in government.
In the second debate between Warren and her Republican challenger in the Massachusetts Senate race, state representative Geoff Diehl, she was asked why she ultimately changed her mind and released DNA-test results after saying in March that she wouldn’t submit to testing.
Warren, who released results indicating she had a Native American ancestor as far back as six to ten generations last week, said she felt she needed to post her family history online “so anybody can take a look. . . . I believe one way that we try to rebuild confidence [in government] is through transparency.”
Diehl argued during the debate that Warren’s identification as Native American for when applying to be a law-school professor demonstrated a lack of integrity.
“This is not about Senator Warren’s ancestry, it’s about integrity in my mind, and I don’t care whether you think you benefited or not from that claim, it’s the fact that you tried to benefit from that claim that I think bothers a lot of people and it’s something you haven’t been able to put to rest since the 2012 campaign,” he added.
“I don’t care what percentage she claims to be Native American; I just care that I’m 100 percent for Massachusetts and will be working for the people of this state.”
After securing a position at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Warren began identifying as a Native American and, once hired by Harvard Law School, was trumpeted as “Harvard Law’s first woman of color” by the Harvard Law Review.
After announcing her DNA-test results in a campaign video and an extensive Boston Globe report, Warren was attacked by a number of prominent Republican lawmakers, who accused her of exploiting academia’s emphasis on diversity to elevate her career. Their charges were bolstered by the Cherokee Nation’s immediate rejection of Warren’s claim to Native American 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,” said Cherokee Nation secretary of state Chuck Hoskin Jr. “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.”