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Awkward apology predicted as Warren agrees to forum with Native American leaders

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will face an awkward moment on Monday, having agreed to take part in a candidate forum in Sioux City, Iowa, that will focus on issues affecting Native Americans.

Given the blond-haired, blue-eyed Democratic presidential candidate’s rich history of claiming to be a Native American, which culminated with a DNA test showing she is upwards to 1/1,024th Cherokee, Warren will find herself in a room of actual Native Americans.

“It’s going to be awkward for her even if she puts on a smile,” Native American activist Simon Moya-Smith told the New York Post.

Moya-Smith, 36, of the Ogala-Lakota Nation, sees the occasion as an opportunity for Warren to own up to the truth and apologize.

“I think she should apologize. I think she owes an apology to all natives. Just own it. Own that you’re not native,” she said.

“Nobody has ever called her an injun. Nobody has ever called her a redskin. Nobody has ever called her a prairie N-word,” Moya-Smith said. “That’s not her identity. She doesn’t have to live it. We do.”

Warren did apologize back in February to the Cherokee Nation, which said the DNA test was “inappropriate and wrong,” and “makes a mockery out of DNA tests.”

“Senator Warren has reached out to us and has apologized,” tribal spokeswoman Julie Hubbard said in a statement at the time.

In a timely announcement alongside Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), one of the first two Native American woman elected to Congress, Warren is trying to get out in front of the expected scrutiny by promising more money in “Indian Country.”

President Donald Trump has dubbed Warren “Pocahontas” when mocking her ancestry claims, and she has also been called “Liawatha,” but the issue has not come up in the first two Democrat primary debates on NBC and CNN — not that this is surprising, given the networks in question.

But for Native Americans, Warren claiming her mother was “part Cherokee and part Delaware” is a “big deal,” according to Christine Nobiss of Global Indigenous Council Seeding Sovereignty.

“It’s a big deal in some circles for sure,” said Nobiss, who added that the issue is likely to surface at Monday’s event.

“We have a panel of quite a few Native American leaders in the country that will be there to ask her questions,” she told the Post. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it came up.”

More than a dozen Native American advocacy organizations are set to be at Monday’s forum.

Here’s a sampling of responses to the story from social media users who see Warren for who she really is.

Tom Tillison


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