Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday forcefully denounced the President’s use of “Pocahontas” as an insult against her and discussed some of her family background in an effort to address questions about her Native American heritage.
“Our country’s disrespect of native people didn’t start with President Trump. It started long before President Washington ever took office,” Warren said in planned remarks for a surprise appearance in front of the National Congress of American Indians.
“But now we have a president who can’t make it through a ceremony honoring Native American war heroes without reducing Native history, Native culture, Native people to the butt of the joke. The joke, I guess is supposed to be me.”
The President most recently referred to Warren as “Pocahontas” at a November event honoring Native American Code Talkers, according to Politico. Many critics dismissed the derisive moniker as a racial slur.
Warren slams Trump’s ‘gutter politics’ after ‘Pocahontas’ insult
“My mother’s family was part Native American. And my daddy’s parents were bitterly opposed to their relationship. So, in 1932, when Mother was 19 and Daddy had just turned, 20 they eloped,” Warren said during her prepared remarks.
“The story they lived will always be apart of me. And no one — not even the President of the United States — will ever take that part of me away.”
Trump first started referring to the Massachusetts Democrat as “Pocahontas” amid the 2016 presidential race to mock Warren’s claims that she has Native American heritage.
“I get why some people think there’s hay to be made here,” Warren said, per the transcript of her speech. “You won’t find my family members on any rolls, and I’m not enrolled in a tribe.”
Trump calls Warren ‘Pocahontas’ at Native American event
Warren added that she respects the distinction between her roots and being an official member of a tribe. She said she “never used my family tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to advance my career.”
The Senator also outlined the story of Pocahontas — “A story of heroism. And bravery. And Pain,” she said —and called for a renewed focus on economic, environmental and social issues for the Native American community.
“I’m here today to make a promise,” Warren said. “Every time someone brings up my family’s story, I’m going to use it to lift up the story of your families and your communities … and I promise I will fight to help write a different story.”
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