Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday appeared on stage at the first ever Native American Presidential Forum in Sioux City, Iowa, just days after the Democratic presidential candidate released a set of major policy proposals geared toward solving issues facing tribal nations.
Warren has a complicated history with the indigenous community. In the past she has claimed tribal heritage, including in her professional life. Those claims sparked a controversy that was exacerbated after — in an attempt to push back against name-calling from President Trump — Warren released DNA test results that revealed she had Native American ancestry, prompting Native American leaders and scholars to argue she was actually "undermining tribal interests."
Upon taking the stage at the presidential forum, Warren addressed the issue with an apology before diving into any discussions about policy.
CNN reports that, in addition to attending the presidential forum, Warren's efforts to make amends have included meeting with tribal leaders and releasing the policy proposals, which include measures like instituting a Cabinet-level position for Native American affairs; an influx of money toward housing, health care, and infrastructure on tribal lands; a restoration of lands to indigenous communities; and more attention to the high rates of murdered and missing Native American women.
But not everyone in the indigenous community is sold on the idea that Warren's overtures are genuine, or that her appearance at the forum offered much in the way of substance or reckoning with her mistakes. Tim O'Donnell