Sen. Elizabeth Warren may lack the heritage necessary to qualify for membership in the Cherokee Nation, but she’s got what it takes to become a Una.
The Una Nation of Oregon, founded in 2009, has granted the Massachusetts Democrat enrollment in its unrecognized “mixed-blood” tribe, which only requires would-be members to show one Native American ancestor.
“We’re granting her, as a gift, enrollment in the Una Nation,” Una leader Richard B. Lake III told KVAL13 in Eugene, Oregon. “When she’s asked next if she’s a member of a tribe, hopefully, she’ll be able to say proudly, ‘I am a member of the Una Nation who accept me for who I am.’ “
The tribe mailed her a packet Tuesday that included a Certificate of Enrollment and welcome letter, Mr. Lake told the Washington Times.
Ms. Warren released a DNA test in October showing that she had an indigenous ancestor dating back six to 10 generations — meaning she’s between 1/64th and 1/1024th Native American — after years of criticism over her claims of Cherokee ancestry.
She has apologized for identifying as Native American during her career as an Ivy League law school professor — she is not an enrolled member of any tribe — and insists that she never benefited professionally from her minority status.
The two-term senator is viewed as a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic president nomination despite being mocked repeatedly by President Trump, who has dubbed her “Pocahontas.”
None of that dissuaded the Unas.
“If she’s Native American, or of Native American descent, that means she’s of mixed blood, and we stand by her and her statement that she is part Native American,” Mr. Lake said.
The Una Nation has no federal or state recognition, but the band has been recognized by three Oregon mayors via proclamations and has signed treaties with two tribes in Canada, according to its website.
Mr. Lake said he founded the Una Nation, which claims more than 35,000 members, after being rejected by recognized Native American tribes for failing to meet blood-quantum requirements.
“[W]e strongly feel that as the diaspora of the genocide, we should finally be recognized for who we are today: the Indigenous American Mixed-Bloods,” he said. “And as such, we formed the Una Nation. To have a place for our people. We aren’t fully Native American but not fully anything else.”
The Certificate of Enrollment, signed by “H.M. King Richard II Ziwahatan,” also grants tribal membership to the 69-year-old Warren’s descendants, including her children and grandchildren, as well as the senator’s husband, Harvard Law School professor Bruce Mann.
“We want to ensure that people like us, like her, are not overlooked and are not pushed aside any longer,” Mr. Lake said.