As a Native American, and someone attempting to be an academic I am troubled by Warren’s claims, but I don’t think the measures suggested by the delegates in this article are constructive: a blood test would accomplish anything, and would be reinforcing colonial practice.
The troubling issue is that there are so few Native Americans in Academia, and for far too long non-Natives have, and even still do, dominate academic discourse about Native Americans and Native issues (something I was surprised to find even at a place like NYU). This is why for Warren to claim to be Native American to get into academia and perhaps take the token “Native” slot while not being Native herself is so troubling to Native Americans. If she is Native, her silence on Native issues is equally troubling as there is a lot of pressure on, and expectations for Native scholars to deal with Native issues. Is it fair? Yes, and no. But it is, generally, the expectation. If Warren is, as she once claimed, Native American, she has a responsibility, whether she likes it or not, to be vocal on Native American issues precisely for the same reason that if she is not Native and used that to get into a position-it reinforces practices of institutional and cultural erasure and invisibility.