The Democratic National Convention came in for a round of online ridicule after Senator Elizabeth Warren, who once passed herself off as Native American, took part in discussions of how Covid-19 affected the “Indian country.”

Warren (D-Massachusetts) spoke at the Native American Caucus virtual panel on Tuesday, the second day of the convention, to accuse President Donald Trump of having “failed Indian Country” by not sending enough coronavirus relief to the tribes.

Elizabeth Warren speaking now.Talking about how Trump admin has “failed Indian Country,” leaving communities to get “ravaged by COVID-19.” Notes all the Trump admin delays in distributing emergency COVID-19 relief to tribes, causing “more suffering, more illness + more death.”

Most of the reactions to Warren’s appearance focused not on the substance of her remarks – politicized as they might be – but on the fact that she has no business being anywhere near “Indian country,” as someone who once falsely claimed that heritage to get ahead in life.

“What does this Republican Anglo-saxon [sic] white lady have to do with Indian affairs?”asked one Twitter user. Others wondered if the DNC was “trying to lose” the election to Trump. One simply replied“POW WOW CHOW” – the 1984 cookbook that published an “old family recipe” of Warren’s that had as much connection with the Cherokee Nation as the future senator herself.

Then there were the many, many memes of Warren as a Native American.

This has been an amazing headdre- I mean address

Warren’s claim to “Indian” notoriety is that she identified as a Cherokee to get hired by Harvard decades ago, but could never substantiate the claim. Even her 2018 DNA test backfired, with the heavily massaged result suggesting she might be between 1/32 and 1/1,024 Native American, and the tribes taking offense at the very idea.

Republican critics have routinely mocked Warren over the whole thing – as have some foreign officials. President Trump has taken to calling her “Pocahontas,” after a 17th-century daughter of a Powhatan chief. Warren and the Democrats have tried in vain to dismiss the nickname as a “racist slur.”

With Warren basically not qualifying as a “person of color” under the Democrats’ own standards, her use of “Indian country” then becomes problematic, as they would say. The expression itself is in colloquial use by Native Americans – Indian Country Today is a well-known news outlet – but Trump was denounced as racist when he used it in December 2019.

One Trump campaign aide also poked fun at Warren’s presence, asking if the DNC was also planning to do a Black Caucus meeting featuring Rachel Dolezal – a white woman who posed as African-American.

Stay tuned for the DNC Black Caucus meeting featuring Rachel Dolezal

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