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Cherokee Nation responds to US senator's DNA test results

Posted: 11:41 PM, Oct 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-16 14:33:30Z

TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma — Cherokee Nation is the largest tribe with 365,000.

On Monday, the tribe fired out a statement denouncing a U.S. senator's claim to her Native American ancestry through DNA testing.

Senator Elizabeth Warren claims DNA testing confirms her Native American heritage.

That test is something the Cherokee Nation, a sovereign nation, says does not prove anything.

"To talk now about her ancestry, her DNA analysis we think it muddy's the waters a little bit," said Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Secretary of State for the Cherokee Nation

Hoskin says he finds Senator Warren's claims hurtful.

"That is a very special status," Hoskin said. "It's a legal status. It's a status that our ancestors fought long and hard for that's embedded in tribal law, embedded in federal law specifically in the treaties. We think as sovereign nations that means something,"

To claim membership to the Cherokee Nation, you must be able to prove that you can trace your self back to the tribe's Dawes Rolls, which is the original enrollment documents.

"People have this family lore and they can't prove it and people go through long and drawn out processes sometimes," Cherokee citizen Deborah Reed said. "They'll submit paperwork to the Cherokee Nation because there's an application process."

Cherokee citizens say this isn't a red versus blue issue, but it's about protecting treaties and their sovereignty.

"I think the important takeaway is that Elizabeth Warren remembers that the Cherokee Nation is who decides who their citizens are not individuals," Reed said.

Sen. Warren is rumored to be throwing in her name to run against President Donald Trump in 2020.