In a CNN op-ed titled, “I am a Native American. I have some questions for Elizabeth Warren,” a tribe member reacts to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) releasing new DNA data that shows she has a very small fraction of Native American heritage — as low as 1/1,024.
Simon Moya-Smith, an Oglala Lakota, wrote the op-ed piece to call out Warren and asked, “Where the hell have you been?”
The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline
Moya-Smith proceeded to question why Warren didn’t say anything when Native American individuals fought back against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
He described how people were shot, dogs were sicced on the people protecting their ancestors’ graves, and people were locked in dog kennels.
“Warren’s silence was deafening,” Moya-Smith wrote, describing Warren’s eventual response as “too little, too late.”
“Police brutality in Indian country”
The author wrote that police are more likely to kill Native American individuals than any other demographic.
“Yet for years, her voice — her allegedly Native voice — was nowhere to be found,” Moya-Smith wrote.
“Sexual abuse in Indian country”
Moya-Smith claimed that there had been “not a peep” from Warren about the sexual abuse occurring to Native American individuals.
He wrote that Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually abused than other demographics.
“Warren claims now to have Native American heritage,” Moya-Smith wrote. “And her claim to having such heritage — versus a claim of actually being Native — feels sneaky to me.
“Why has she ignored us for so long?” he added.
He also asked why not one Native American community has claimed her:
It’s obvious to anyone with eyes in their sockets or brains in their heads: because Warren needs our stamp of approval and our vote as she contemplates a potential presidential run. That’s why.
“It’s like that one person who claims to be a part of your crew but somehow goes missing every time they’re called upon to lace up and show up,” Moya-Smith wrote.
Moya-Smith called out Warren for the “convenient Indian problem,” claiming that she’s using the demographic to advance her own personal agenda.
“When we needed her, she didn’t lace up,” he said. “She didn’t show up.”
To be a Native American, Moya-Smith said that one has to be there for the people and community, and not only when it’s most convenient for the individual.