WASHINGTON, D.C - Senator Elizabeth Warren apologized on Wednesday for claiming Native American heritage when she registered with the Texas Bar in the 1980s.

The Massachusetts Democrat claimed she was "American Indian" when she filled out the registration card by hand in 1986.

Image of the Texas Bar registration card Sen. Warren filled out in 1986.

"I am sorry that I extended confusion about tribal citizenship and tribal sovereignty and for harm caused. I am also sorry for not being more mindful of this decades ago tribes and only tribes determine tribal citizenship," Warren told reporters Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

Warren also reiterated she had apologized to the Cherokee Nation for taking a DNA test in October which she said showed she had a small percentage of Native American ancestry.

Discovery of the registration card reignited a controversy that's been dogging Warren for years. Critics say the Oklahoma native claimed Native American ancestry to advance her career as a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. 

President Trump has ridiculed her repeatedly for claiming the ancestry. She has defended herself by saying the ancestry was part of family lore.

When she announced the results of the DNA test in October, some of the harshest criticism against her came from the Cherokee Nation.

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. released the following statement about that test:

"A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America," Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. "Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. 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. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage."

 

The controversy appeared to have subsided until last week. On Friday, February 1, 2019, the Cherokee Tribe released a statement saying Warren had apologized. 

Related Story: Cherokee Nation: Senator Warren Apologized For Trying To Prove Heritage With DNA Test 

“Senator Warren has reached out to us and has apologized to the tribe,” Cherokee Nation’s Executive Director of Communications Julie Hubbard said. “We are encouraged by this dialogue and understanding that being a Cherokee Nation tribal citizen is rooted in centuries of culture and laws not through DNA tests. We are encouraged by her action and hope that the slurs and mockery of tribal citizens and Indian history and heritage will now come to an end.”
 
That all changed on Wednesday, with the discovery of her 1986 Texas Bar registration in which she wrote "American Indian" on the line asking for her race.
 
The latest round of controversy comes as Warren is expected to announce her candidacy for president in 2020.