Earlier this year, several folks in my family (including myself) did some variation of DNA testing. You know what I’m talking about; the tests where you send in your DNA and apparently, the government owns and can clone you, but you get to find out, especially if you’re black, that maybe your family originates from Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, etc. For many of us, it’s our first real foray into finding out something about where our boats departed the Motherland (and more sinisterly, who might have been waving bye-bye).
This is also where many of us find out that folks in our families have been lying for YEARS. For instance, in my own family, it has been a long-held contention that my grandmother, my father’s mother, was pretty substantially Native American. I mean she even looks it! Well, my personal DNA test came back with like less than 1 percent Native American ancestry.
My father’s? Well his was like 5 percent or something. Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do. So for my whole life, we been running around telling folks we got Indian in our family (like most of you do) and that’s why cousin GoodHair got the good hair. Salli Richardson was even out here playing half Native-ish in Posse. I’ll bet her test would have come back like zero percent Native back then too.
Point is, it’s nothing in the black community to be running around telling folks that somebody real close is a Native American or less politically correct, that “we got Indian in our family on your daddy’s side.” Well, like Elizabeth Warren just proved, many, many of us are selling wooden nickels.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has long held fast to this claim that she’s part Cherokee. She spoke of it on campaign trails. She even claimed to be a racial minority many moons ago in a lawyer directory. Harvard Law School, for years, reported having a Native American amongst its senior faculty, though Warren claims to not have known this. Trump offered to pay her a million if she could prove it and she dropped the DNA test results, which illustrate that somewhere, WAAAAAAAAAY back yonder she has some Native American ancestor.
Is it enough to claim she has some Cherokee in her family? According to a representative for the Cherokee Nation....nah, bih. For the record:
The test, conducted by a Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamante, showed that Warren has a Native American ancestor going back six to 10 generations ago, making her somewhere between 1/32nd and 1/1,024th American Indian.
“Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven.”
Listen, since my dad’s DNA test came back, and mine for that matter, with like a trace of Native American blood, I’ve stopped saying we’re part Native American. I know actual Native Americans so it feels fake to say that when ACTUAL card-carrying members of tribes and nations are a phone call away. Elizabeth Warren should stop, too.
Folks like Warren trying to lay claim to being part Native American give credence to the folks like Ralph Taylor who take DNA tests and find out that there is 4 percent African blood on their result and are now claiming to be minorities for the purposes of business breaks. White folks used to use the one-drop rule to exclude us...now they’re trying to include themselves into shit. Ain’t that a bitch.
To conclude, Elizabeth Warren is not now nor shall she ever be enough Native American to count it as being part of her identity. Just like so many black folks we know with that good yaki.
Sometimes, the genetics just work in your favor.