Although the Cherokee Nation distanced itself from Democratic president candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a group that calls itself a tribal nation — a claim disputed by many — is willing to have her.
The Una Nation, which calls itself an “Indigenous American Mixed-Blood Tribal Nation,” but is a group without any official standing with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has invited Warren to be a member.
On its website, the group said it is recognized by the “Eastern Woodland Metis Nation Nova Scotia and the Metis Nation of Canada via treaties of Peace and Friendship, as well as being recognized by Mayor Christine Lundberg of Springfield, Oregon, Mayor Kitty Piercy of Eugene, Oregon and Mayor Lucy Vinis of Eugene, Oregon in the form of Proclamations.”
Some say the individuals who have banded together are essentially a social group or other type of organization and is not really a Native American tribe.
Last fall, Warren released the results of a DNA test that she said would verify her claims that she had a Cherokee ancestor. Officials with the Cherokee Nation rejected the test, saying being a member of the tribe is about more than DNA.
“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said, USA Today has reported. “Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America.”
The DNA test has haunted Warren on the campaign trail.
But the Una Nation, which calls itself a nation of mixed-blood citizens who are part Native American and part anything else, is not as choosy. It admits that its members cannot meet the requirements of other Indian nations.
“If she’s Native American, or of Native American descent, that means she’s a mixed-blood, and we stand by her and her statement that she is part-Native American,” Richard Lake III, who bears the title of “king” of the nation, told KVAL, a CBS-affiliate based in Eugene, Oregon.
On its website, the Una Nation, based in Oregon and founded in 2009, says it has 35,000 enrolled members. The website says there is a government with chiefs and a great council.
And it wants Warren to join.
The Washington Free Beacon reported about an enrollment certificate prepared for Warren.
“In keeping with our mission to bring Mixed-Bloods together as the Una Nation, to have something of our own and somewhere to preserve our cultural heritages and share our histories with each other; something that has been done for thousands of years, we grant enrollment within the Una Nation, as an Indigenous American Mixed-Blood, to Elizabeth Ann Warren, Senator from Massachusetts,” it said.
“This enrollment is not only for Senator Warren, because since our laws dictate that enrollment is passed down from an enrolled member. This means that her children (Amelia and Alexander) grandchildren, great-grandchild, etc, will have a tribal family with open arms. Spousal Enrollment is hereby granted to Senator Warren’s husband, Bruce Hartling Mann.”
Nothing against the Una Nation, of course. Anyone who wants to think of themselves as having Native American heritage because of a Native American ancestor or two is welcome to — it’s a free country. But it’s pretty clear by now that Warren’s decades of claiming Native American ethnicity were about advancing her career more than describing herself as a person.
Considering how Warren has conducted herself over the whole “Indian ancestry” claim, she might just shrug off the Una Nation offer like it didn’t even happen.
But for the rest of the country, it’s just embarrassing.