National

Why is Trump calling Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas?

By Mandy Matney

mmatney@islandpacket.com

President Donald Trump made a remark some called racist yesterday at an event honoring Native American World War II heroes by referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” the Associated Press reported.

"We have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago,” Trump said to the crowd at the White House as he recognized three World War II code talkers. “They call her Pocahontas. But you know what, I like you."

It wasn’t the first time Trump has referred to the first female Massachusetts senator as “Pocahontas.”

He started accusing Warren of lying about her heritage and called her “Pocahontas” at a campaign rally in June, 2016, according to the Washington Post, when Warren was campaigning in support of Hilary Clinton.

Here’s the truth about Warren’s heritage:

Warren has been accused of using her Native American Heritage to get ahead in her political career, particularly in the 2012 Massachusetts race for senator, according to the Boston Globe.

In 2012, she was under scrutiny for her alleged Native American heritage as she listed herself as a minority in the directory of law professors, the Boston Globe reports.

Warren grew up in Oklahoma and was told by her family that she is part-Cherokee, according to NPR.

Genealogist Chris Child of the New England Historic Society looked into Warren’s background and found a document stating that she has a great-great-great-grandmother who is Native American, which would make her 1/32 Cherokee, NPR reported.

But Child told NPR that it would take more research to confirm that finding. Later, the New England Historic Genealogical Society has backtracked on Child’s finding, according to the Atlantic, saying there is "no proof that Elizabeth Warren's great-great-great-grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith either is or is not of Cherokee descent.”

Warren’s former opponent Scott Brown has requested that Warren would take a DNA test to prove her heritage, but that bioethicist Nanibaa' Garrison, a PhD in genetics, told the Washington Post that it “wouldn’t do any good.”

"It's really difficult to say that a DNA test would be able to identify how much Native American ancestry a person has," Garrison told the Washington Post.

Despite the controversy surrounding her heritage, Warren told CNN she considered Trump’s name-calling a “racial slur” and she “really couldn’t believe” the comment.

“President Trump couldn't even make it through a ceremony to honor these men without throwing in a racial slur,” Warren told Anderson Cooper.

The Navajo Nation Council responded in a statement Monday saying Trump’s comment is the latest example of “deep-seated, systematic ignorance of Native Americans.”

“The reckless appropriation of this term is deeply offensive and dangerous to the sovereignty of our identity of our peoples,” the statement read. “Such rhetoric is damaging, and it a serious infringement of our right to live as Native Americans.”

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