Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren today began her appearance at a forum in Sioux City hosted by Native Americans by saying she was there “to pay my respects” and, during brief opening remarks, Warren brought up the controversy over her claims of Native American ancestry.
“Like anyone who’s being honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes,” Warren said. “I am sorry for harm that I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot and I am grateful for the many conversations that we have had together.”
Warren has said that based on family stories, she grew up in Oklahoma believing she had Native American ancestors. On Friday, Warren released a plan to address issues of concern among Native Americans, as well as natives of Alaska and Hawaii. She emphasized those proposals today in Sioux City.
“Issues like preventing suicide and missing and murdered indigenous women,” Warren said, “and trying to get full funding for health care and for housing.”
Warren is among eight Democratic presidential candidates scheduled to speak at the two-day event. Warren has promised that if she’s elected president, she’ll honor treaty obligations with Native Americans and indigenous peoples — and protect tribal lands.
“I will revoke the permit for the pipelines,” Warren said, to cheers.
Warren got a standing ovation after she was introduced to the crowd in Sioux City. Most of her time on stage was spent answering audience questions. Marianne Williamson was the first candidate to speak today. She said the U.S. government should apologize for various actions it has taken against Native Americans over the years.
The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates more than 16,000 Native Americans live in Iowa. Native American voters tend to support Democratic candidates and the Iowa Democratic Party includes a Native American Caucus.
(Additional reporting by Olive Gardner/Photo by Woody Gottburg)