For the average American, the barrier is the lack of exposure to real information about Native identity, Cherokee history and tribal sovereignty. Rather than providing much needed public education, the news coverage over the Warren debate perpetuates harmful myths about Native identity — such as blood quantum, DNA tests and family lore — while real information about one of the most invisible and underrepresented groups in America is rarely published.
If Democrats choose to ignore or deflect the concerns raised by Native advocates and a tribe, they will add to this already troubling dynamic.
Rather than correcting harmful misconceptions about Native identity, Warren perpetuates them. When questioned by reportersin 2012, she argued that her family knew they were Native because some relatives had high cheekbones, “like all of the Indians do.” And now, in publishing this DNA test, the senator is perpetuating a dangerous myth that Native identity is determined by racial biology — a position the right is using to attack the heart of tribal sovereignty and Native rights.