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Warren Releases Native American Policy Plan

Elizabeth Warren campaigns in Chicago, June 29, 2019. (Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters)

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Friday released a detailed policy plan dealing with Native American rights, amid a long-standing controversy surrounding her own claims of Native American ancestry.

“The story of America’s mistreatment of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians is a long and painful one, rooted in centuries of discrimination, neglect, greed, and violence,” the Massachusetts senator wrote in a lengthy Medium post. “We are failing in our legal, political, and moral obligations toward tribal governments and indigenous peoples. . . . Washington owes Native communities a fighting chance to build stronger communities and a brighter future.”

Warren’s plan would establish “predictable, guaranteed funding” for the health-care, education, and infrastructure needs of Native American tribes, rather than leaving such funding at the mercy of congressional budget negotiations. It would revoke the permits granted by the Trump administration that allowed work on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines to move ahead, and take steps to ensure that tribal land was not infringed upon by energy projects more broadly. And it would give tribes authority over crimes committed on their land by outsiders, in contravention of a standing Supreme Court precedent.

The proposal includes no mention of the long-standing controversy surrounding Warren’s claims of Native American heritage, which critics have charged allowed her to rise in academia before entering politics. 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.

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