Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., will meet privately with Native American tribal leaders Sunday in her home state of Oklahoma as part of a nearly three-year effort seeking redemption for past claims of being an "American Indian."
Representatives from all of the nearly 40 federally recognized tribes in the state were invited to the meeting in Tulsa, before a later town hall in Oklahoma City, The Washington Post reports.
About a dozen had indicated they would attend by Tuesday evening, the newspaper reports, citing "a person familiar with the schedule who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly."
A purpose of the meeting is for Warren to try to "blunt the criticism she has faced over the years for appropriating Native American culture by identifying as such," the Post reports.
The newspaper cited "three people familiar with the meeting who also spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it."
Warren, 70, is an Oklahoma City native. The visit would be her first to the state as a 2020 presidential candidate, according to the Post.
Her claims of being an "American Indian" in educational and professional settings over the years have brought vicious attacks — "Pocahontas," among them — from President Donald Trump, which the senator and others consider a slur.
They also have angered Native Americans, particularly after Warren released a DNA test in October 2018 that tribal leaders slammed as not a measure of tribal identity.
"It'll be very heavy," NickyKay Michael, a council member for the Delaware Tribe of Indians, told the Post. "I don't think they'll be jumping up and down like they'd be for someone who was in their corner for a long time."
Michael said her tribal leaders would meet Saturday on whether to send anyone to Warren's meeting.
The leadership, she told the Post, remains split.
"You don't want to shoot yourself in the foot just because you've had a bad taste in your mouth for a long time," she said.
But one of Warren's harshest critics will not be present Sunday: Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. will be in New York for a previously scheduled event, a spokeswoman told the Post.
Hoskin, the Cherokee Nation's secretary last year, ripped Warren for releasing the DNA test, calling it "inappropriate and wrong."
David Cornsilk, a member of the Cherokee Nation and another Warren critic, said tribal leaders were practical in attending the meeting.
"We don't know who the nominee will be, so we have to play the game," Cornsilk told the Post.
"She does have unfinished business with us," he added. "I hope the leadership of the tribes are asking her to be accountable for what she did."
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