This morning, CNN’s Michael Smerconish featured Simon Moya-Smith, ICTMN’s culture editor, for a discussion on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) claim to be Native American.
Smeroconish opened with presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s most recent attacks on Warren using racial stereotypes: calling her “Pocahontas” and the war cry to introduce Trump at a rally in Maine on Wednesday. Smeroconish went on to highlight his findings in regards to Warren’s Native ancestry in 2012 – at the height of the investigation into her claims.
The CNN host then referenced Moya-Smith’s column featured in CNN’s opinion section this week, titledWarren should apologize to Native Americans.
When asked about what Warren should apologize for, Moya-Smith said, “Well, she’s perpetuating these stereotypes, like high cheekbones. That’s a racist, antiquated stereotype. Just because you have high cheekbones doesn’t make you Native American.” In 2012, while talking of her ancestry, Warren quoted her aunt describing her grandfather’s high cheekbones as just like what Indians have.
“Also, when she wrote to Trump that this country was built on things like decency and concern for our neighbor, that’s a blatant lie. She needs to apologize for that one, and not just to Native Americans. We know this country was not built on decency and concern for our neighbor,” Moya-Smith continued.
The two journalists then discussed how Warren has played the Indian card to further her career but has not been involved in the Indian community. Moya-Smith went on to explain how the Senator is a “convenient Indian.”
“She’s convenient in the sense she’s claiming to be Native American, but she’s not addressing [Native] issues. I don’t hear her say anything about, for example, that Native Americans are statistically more likely to be killed by police. I don’t hear her talking about domestic violence [against] Native American women, 3.5 times more likely than any other women in any other demographic. We just don’t know where she’s at. She uses this heritage, then she’s gone.”
The conversation then turned back to Trump’s racist attacks against Warren; Moya-Smith called him nothing more than a “troll.” Moya-Smith’s concern with how Warren is responding to Trump is that she hasn’t come to the defense of her so-called heritage - rather opting to attack his business record instead of his racism.
“She’s like the patron saint of the wannabe,” said Moya-Smith. “There’s millions of people out there that claim to be Native American because they think they can go to school for free or they think they’re going to get casino money. She has the opportunity to take this and make it into a teachable moment – but she hasn’t.”
Watch the interview here.