U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren addressed claims of her Native American heritage Wednesday while delivering remarks at the National Congress of American Indians, and insisted that her mother's Cherokee ancestry is not a fabrication.
She went on to explain how the modern iterations of the story make the relationship between John Smith and Pocahontas look like a fairytale, when it was anything but. Elizabeth Warren is like the vast majority of Americans.
She also spoke about the economic, environmental and social issues affecting Native American communities and committed to addressing issues such as racism, monument protection, economic disenfranchisement, mental health and substance abuse.
"I'm more concerned with what she stands for than who she claims to be, and the fact is she is a major contributor to the negative dynamic and dysfunction in Washington", Lindstrom said. Not the tale that's been twisted for centuries - but the real Pocahontas, and her story of heroism.
In November, Native American activist Rebecca Nagle called Warren out for her false claims of Native American ancestry in a Think Progress op-ed titled "I Am A Cherokee Woman". Researchers weren't able to conclude whether she had Native American heritage or not.
Direct claims of native ancestry in the 17-minute speech came down to the following: "My mother's family was part Native-American".
The questions snowballed after that, when other outlets reported that Warren had been listed as a "minority" in other colleges and universities where she had taught. "So I figured, let's talk about Pocahontas", Warren told a crowd of over 500 tribal members from across the United States. I am not enrolled in any of the three Federally recognized Cherokee Tribes, nor am I an active member of any Cherokee or Native American community.
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"I've noticed that every time my name comes up, President Trump likes to talk about Pocahontas", Warren said.
But now we have a president who can't make it through a ceremony honoring Native American war heroes without reducing Native history, Native culture, Native people to the butt of a joke.
She also claimed to have never used her heritage to further her legal career, although a Harvard Crimson report from 1996 features an on-the-record claim from then-Harvard Law School spokesman Michael Chmura that Warren's ascension to the elite institution's faculty was partly due to the school's efforts to diversify. But, as Warren puts it, "Pocahontas was not around to enjoy it;" Rolfe took Pocahontas to London to showcase his new wife as a "civilized savage".
Warren has been a particular subject of derision for the president, who has mocked the senior MA senator as "goofy", on top of the Native American ancestry jibes. "Except Smith was almost 30, and Pocahontas was about 10 years old, whatever happened between them, it was no love story".
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians represents American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and advocates for indigenous rights.
"For far too long, your story has been pushed aside, to be trotted out only in cartoons and commercials".