Elizabeth Warren releases plan aimed at uplifting Native Americans
WASHINGTON – Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced on Friday a number of new policy proposals aimed at uplifting Native American tribes.
The plan comes ahead of next week’s Native American Presidential Forum in Sioux City, Iowa, hosted by Four Directions, an organization that fights for Native voting rights.
“The story of America’s mistreatment of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians is a long and painful one, rooted in centuries of discrimination, neglect, greed, and violence,” the Massachusetts senator wrote in a Medium post.
Warren also announced in a press release Friday that she will also introduce a legislative proposal with Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., who is one of the first two Native women elected to Congress. The proposal will “address critical unmet needs in Indian Country identified by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights,” the press release said.
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In addition, the two lawmakers will seek out public input from tribal governments, citizens and experts in advance of designing the bill and introducing it in Congress.
“I believe we are at a critical moment in our history. A moment when we must choose to stand together, to lift each other up, to take on each other’s fights as our own, and to make the kind of change that will build a better future for all of our kids,” Warren also wrote in the Medium post. “If we are to achieve this, then we must stand united with Tribal Nations and indigenous peoples to ensure that Native voices are heard and their rights are respected. With real commitment, and with real structural change, we can write a new story.”
Warren’s proposal comes as President Donald Trump says he will again begin deriding the Massachusetts senator as “Pocahontas,” a nickname regarded by Native Americans as disrespectful and a racial slur. During the first couple of weeks of her candidacy, Trump repeatedly ridiculed the senator over her past claims of having some Native American ancestry.
Last year, Warren released a DNA test that found “strong evidence” of Native American ancestry going back six to 10 generations. The results infuriated tribal leaders and were mocked by her conservative critics including Trump. She was also criticized for listing her race as “American Indian” in a 1986 Texas bar registration card.
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Warren has apologized for such instances of her past self-identification.
Despite the initial backlash, Warren has not faced questions on the campaign trail about the issue of her ethnic heritage. In fact, she has been steadily rising in polling over recent weeks and months, becoming one of the top contenders in the 2020 Democratic primary field of more than 20 candidates.
As a result, Trump said Thursday that he will start calling Warren by his chosen nickname for her again.
“Like, Elizabeth Warren — I did the ‘Pocahontas’ thing,” he said during a New Hampshire rally. “I hit her really hard and it looked like she was down and out but that was too long ago, I should’ve waited. But don’t worry, we will revive it.”
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