Politics & Policy

Warren Apologizes for Identifying as ‘American Indian’ on Texas Bar Application

Elizabeth Warren speaks at an event in Claremont, N.H., January 18, 2019. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Senator Elizabeth Warren apologized Wednesday for identifying herself as an “American Indian” on her application to the State Bar of Texas when confronted about the document by reporters on Capitol Hill.

Warren, who apologized earlier this month to the Cherokee Nation for publicizing the results of a DNA test in an attempt to corroborate her claims of Native American ancestry, explained that “family stories” informed her sense of her identity, but conceded that she failed to respect tribal sovereignty when claiming that identity in her professional life.

“This was about thirty years ago and I am not a tribal citizen. Tribes and only tribes determine citizenship. When I was growing up in Oklahoma, I learned about my family the same way most people do. My brothers and I learned from our moms and dads and brother and sisters, and those were our family stories.” Warren said. “There really is an important distinction of tribal citizenship. I am not a member of the tribe and I have apologized for not being more sensitive to that distinction.”

Warren also expressed regret for her history of leveraging her Native American identity for professional gain in a Tuesday interview with the Washington Post.

“I can’t go back,” Warren said. “But I am sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”

The 2020 presidential hopeful had denied using her identity to advance professionally after it was revealed that her previous employers, including the University of Pennsylvania Law School, touted her Native American identity when announcing her hiring.

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