This week Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) is in her native Oklahoma for the holidays, and the 2020 hopeful took the chance to meet with tribal leaders to try to repair her tense relationship with Native Americans.
Warren saw members from 39 tribes based in the Sooner State. Oklahoma has the most federally recognized Native American groups in the country behind only California – and many run casinos on their sovereign lands.
The Senator supposedly discussed various topics with the tribes, including the federal Indian Health Service, maintaining treaty obligations, Native American education, and fighting substance abuse among Indians.
One issue that wasn’t covered, at least according to sources speaking with the Associated Press, was gambling. And over the last several weeks, tribal casinos in Oklahoma have clogged local headlines due to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) demand that the gaming venues share more of their slot and table game revenue with the state.
As for Warren’s 2020 prospects, they’re looking increasingly brighter by the week.
Warren’s shares of securing the Democratic Party’s nomination on PredictIt, are at 13 cents – down from 50 cents in September and much behind earlier VP Joe Biden currently at 36 cents. She is at 5/1 at bookmaker William Hill, with Biden leading at 2/1.
For many years, Warren has been slated for her claims of Native American ancestry. She identified her race as “American Indian” in 1986 on a state bar form in Texas, and said openly that “being Native American has been part of my story, I guess, since the day I was born.”
As reported by casino.org, she has classified herself as Cherokee, a claim which gained much attention after she ran for US Senate in 2012 and her rival Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) questioned the claim. Nonetheless Warren defeated Brown.
Upon her announcement last year that she would make a 2020 presidential run, President Donald Trump offered to pay $1 million to her favorite charity for her to prove her Native American roots through a DNA test. She took the president up on the offer, but the results only fueled her opponents.
The ancestry profile indicated that Warren had Native American DNA from “six to 10 generations ago,” which would make her between 1/32 to 1/512 Native American, said AP. The Cherokee Nation disallowed the use of DNA testing considering it “inappropriate and wrong.”
Some of the tribal members who attended her meeting this week in Oklahoma, says that Warren’s Native American ancestry is a thing of the past.
Kalyn Free, a Democratic national committeewoman from Oklahoma, said, “She’s apologized for that, and I don’t speak for tribal leaders, but in my mind that is no longer an issue at all. She didn’t meet with them because of that issue. She met with them because she genuinely cares about tribal leaders and the issues that are important to them.”
Trump carried Oklahoma over Hillary Clinton by 36 points. The Sooner State is unwavering red, voting for the Republican presidential nominee in each election since 1968.