Elizabeth Warren addresses Native heritage claims and slams Trump

Elizabeth Warren addresses Native heritage claims and slams Trump

Since May 2016, Trump has referred to Warren as "Pocahontas" in at least nine tweets.

"Elizabeth Warren's speech today distracts from an issue she has never addressed: did she claim to be a member of a Native American tribe in order to obtain preferential consideration for employment at Harvard University, as well as in all her academic positions prior to that?" he said.

Now, the difference in Warren's case is that the need for a rhetorical defanging was not based on other people's religious or racial prejudice - but out of her own confusing claim to Native American heritage, her inability to prove that link and the perception that she tried to benefit professionally from it.

Warren told the basics of the Pocahontas story, noting specifically her suffering at the hands of early English settlers.

Warren ended her speech with a promise to amplify the stories of Native Americans whenever someone tries to discredit her or her family's story, and it looks like her words were received well.

Warren has previously called the term a "slur" but expanded on her thoughts in an appearance before the National Congress of American Indians on Wednesday. She went on to detail the real story of Pocahontas and how the narrative has been taken away from the Native American community and twisted by more powerful people.

"I get why some people think there's hay to be made here", Warren said.

"I understand that tribal membership is determined by tribes - and only by tribes", Warren said.

"My mother's family was part Native American", Warren said.

She also spoke about the economic, environmental and social issues affecting Native American communities and committed to addressing issues such as racism, monument protection, economic disenfranchisement, mental health and substance abuse.

Warren described the love they shared and the struggles they endured and that story "will always be a part of me".

Interestingly, many outlets have suggested she sufficiently addressed long-standing challenges to her claimed native ancestry in the speech.

But my mother's family was part Native American.

"And I want to make something clear", Warren continued. 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.

In her speech, Warren acknowledged the controversy over her heritage that first surfaced in 2012, when she successfully challenged incumbent Sen. But she did not provide documentation, and one report at the time estimated she could be just 1/32 American Indian.

"For far too long, your story has been pushed aside, to be trotted out only in cartoons and commercials", Warren said.

"I've noticed that every time my name comes up, President Trump likes to talk about Pocahontas", Warren said.

Boston Globe reporter Matt Viser tweeted that Warren received a standing ovation, and that the National Congress of American Indians' president shouted "We've got your back!"