A National Public Radio (NPR) program released Wednesday failed to mention America’s most famous fake Indian in a segment discussing people who lie about being Native American.
The episode, titled “Playing Pretendian,” discussed the nation’s long history of appropriating Native American clothes and culture in addition to a recent trend described as “people pretending to be Indian for a job or college” through affirmative action programs.
The hosts did not mention Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who famously claimed to be Native American for several decades before a DNA test revealed that she was approximately 1/1,024 Native American.
Warren listed herself as Native American in a Harvard Law School directory in the 1990’s, and she even submitted a recipe she identified as “Cherokee” to a Native American cookbook, according to a Daily Caller report. Warren reportedly said in 2012 that her aunt used to say Warren’s grandfather “had high cheek bones like all of the Indians do.”
The “Playing Pretendian” episode involved discussion of the various ways that actual Native Americans are harmed and excluded from diversity programs by those who claim a native identity dishonestly or based on distant, unidentifiable relatives.
When a guest pointed out that Native identity is complicated due to centuries of displacement and forced assimilation, one of the hosts complained about people who are “playing up things like that flimsy DNA test that tells them they’re native who will also check that box on the census.”