There have been a lot of cartoons over the months calling out Elizabeth Warren’s flagrant exaggeration of her ‘native american’ heritage. But this one is the most devastating.
The Hill reports,
What the DNA test shows (and doesn’t)
According to the test, Warren’s DNA is between 1/64 and 1/1032 Columbian, Mexican and/or Peruvian (used as proxies for measuring Cherokee heritage for reasons described in the report); between 0.1 percent and 1.5 percent of her DNA may be Native American in origin; she may have had a Native American ancestor between six to 10 generations back.
Warren depicted this as “slam dunk” proof that she really is of Native American ancestry. This is a base-rate fallacy. In fact, the average white person in America has 0.18 percent Native American DNA — meaning they could be described as about 1/ 556 Native American or as having a Native American ancestor nine to10 generations back. Warren does not seem to have a unique claim to Native American heritage over and above the typical white American.
For comparison: the average U.S. white also has about 0.19 percent African DNA; they can be said to be 1/ 526 black or to have a black ancestor nine to10 generations back. Rachel Dolezal might have about the same genetic claim to being black as Elizabeth Warren does to being Cherokee. Already, memes are circulating comparing the two. Of course, Warren and supporters can make arguments explaining how the two cases are not similar, but this is beside the point. If it has to be explained why or how Warren is substantively different from Dolezal, the war is already lost.
Rather than acknowledging she has no meaningful claim to Cherokee / Native American heritage or identity, Warren has doubled down. She claims to have “won” the bet, and has demanded Trump donate $1 million to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. The president has refused, insisting he won the wager. Unfortunately, he is correct: although Warren did take the test it did not prove she is “an Indian.”
Genes, race and ethnicity are non-identical and the relationship between them is complicated. Warren is phenotypically white. She has no identifiable Native American ancestor, no clan affiliation, and no meaningful connection to Cherokee language, customs or culture. As a result, even if the DNA test had suggested she could meet the 1/16 blood quantum required by Cherokee for a federally recognized Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood(she was nowhere near this) — it would still not have established Warren is “an Indian.”
It was actually impossible for Warren to actually win Trump’s bet: Cherokee do not decide who is (or is not) one of them the basis of DNA; what matters are clan ancestry, tracing one’s genealogy to an ancestor on the “Dawes Rolls,” or being adopted into a clan by a Clan Mother. Elizabeth Warren fails to meet any of these criteria. As a result, she is simply not Cherokee — not even a little. DNA is irrelevant.
This point was powerfully driven home by the Cherokee Nation’s Secretary of State, who described Warren’s attempt as wrong-headed and insulting. He went on to say that Warren is “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage” (neither Warren nor her team consulted with Cherokee leadership before conducting the test or releasing the results).
And so, rather than neutralizing Trump’s attacks, it is now has made it far easier to portray Warren as a phony: She appropriated Native American heritage for years in both private and professional settings.