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Elizabeth Warren’s striking speech responding to Trump’s “Pocahontas” taunts

Few controversies have dogged Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as long as attacks related to her claiming of American Indian ancestry. Warren has consistently stated that her mother is part Cherokee, but Warren is not an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, or the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees, the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes. 

Nor do any of her known ancestors appear on the Dawes Rolls, an official list of members of the Cherokee, Chocktaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole tribes compiled by the federal government in the early 20th century.

That, however, is hardly proof that she has no Cherokee ancestry. She heard of her ancestry through family oral tradition, and American Indian ancestry of some kind is common in Oklahoma, where she grew up. She has never claimed majority Cherokee ancestry, or enough ancestry to qualify as a member of a registered tribe. Despite conservative claims that she exploited race-based affirmative action to be hired at Harvard Law School, the evidence is clear that Warren never gained any professional advantage from her claimed heritage.

Nevertheless, President Trump has taken to attacking Warren for her claimed ancestry and tauntingly referring to her as “Pocahontas.” On one occasion, he even used the slur in the Oval Office during a ceremony honoring Native America veterans. If Warren runs for president in 2020, she will face this criticism again, at far greater volume.

So on Wednesday, February 14, Warren delivered a speech to the National Congress of American Indians addressing the controversy, telling her family history (“I get why some people think there’s hay to be made here. You won’t find my family members on any rolls, and I’m not enrolled in a tribe”), and detailing the ways that the American government, up to and including Trump, has failed American Indians.

Read entire article at Vox