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Warren Offers Public Apology Over Claim to Tribal Heritage

by Elana Schor and Josh Funk .
Monday Aug 19, 2019
Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren addresses congregants at Reid Chapel AME Church.
Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren addresses congregants at Reid Chapel AME Church.  (Source:AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren offered a public apology Monday to Native Americans over her past claim to tribal heritage, directly tackling an area that's proved to be her biggest political liability.

"Like anyone who has been honest with themselves, I know I have made mistakes," the Massachusetts senator said at the start of her appearance at a forum on Native American issues in this pivotal early-voting state. "I am sorry for the harm I have caused."

Her past claim to tribal ancestry, which culminated in her release of a DNA analysis last year, had drawn criticism from some Native Americans and dogged her 2020 campaign in its early weeks.

But Warren, who last week released a detailed policy agenda to help Native Americans, has since climbed in the polls.

Warren drew a standing ovation from the audience at the kickoff of the two-day forum, which is drawing 10 of her White House rivals. The event promises to test Warren's ability to move beyond the flap over her discussions of her heritage, for which she had previously apologized privately to the Cherokee Nation.

"I have listened and I have learned a lot" from conversations with Native Americans in recent months, Warren said, describing herself as "grateful" for the discussions.

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Schor reported from Washington.

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