At an Iowa forum focused on Native American issues Monday, Elizabeth Warren began her remarks with an apology. “Like anyone who’s been honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes,” she told the crowd at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum. “I am sorry for harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot, and I am grateful for the many conversations we have had together.”
The Massachusetts senator was no doubt referring to her 2018 decision to take a DNA test in an attempt to prove her Native American ancestry. Critics on the left took issue with the decision, saying she was “playing Trump’s game,” while the Cherokee Nation called her out for “undermining tribal interest.”
Warren has apologized for the test before. Prior to launching her presidential campaign this year, she spoke to Cherokee Nation leader Bill John Baker on the phone. She later said she apologized for the DNA test and her longtime identification as a Native American.
“I told him I was sorry for furthering confusion about tribal citizenship,” Warren said. “I am also sorry for not being more mindful about this decades ago.”
Warren has been trying for years to move past the controversy surrounding an old claim of Native American ancestry. But along with angering allies, the DNA test, which showed “strong evidence” of a Native American ancestor dating back six to ten generations, did little to end the mockery from the right. Trump is still calling her “Pocahontas,” and he recently said he’ll continue to.
But Warren has more than apologies; she also has plans. On Friday, she released what her campaign called a “comprehensive list of policy ideas for empowering tribal nations and indigenous peoples.”