The complex, childish identity politics of Elizabeth Warren’s native heritage

No amount of plaintive claiming from Warren that to question her Native roots is to “call my mother a liar,” is going to change the fact that saying you are Native American does not make it so.

What qualifies you for Native status is tribal membership. Tribes, which are sovereign nations, set their own standards of blood quantum required to get a Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card. Within four hours of my daughter being born in California, her aunties in Oklahoma had gone to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Council and applied for her CDIB card. It is the only official document that makes her a legal citizen of the Creek Nation. Warren’s 1/1054th, or whatever it is today, would certainly not allow her on the Cherokee Nation tribal rolls, which she has acknowledged.

Warren’s grandmother did not apply for her CDIB, either because she did not see the need, or because she did not qualify, or because being a Native at that time was not a propitious thing to be. That was her choice. And then times changed and her granddaughter saw some benefit, which she now couches in terms of identity politics as a personal choice, and says that no matter what anyone says, her Native heritage will “always be etched on my heart.”