LAS CRUCES, NM- A former Trump administration Indian Affairs official says Senator Elizabeth Warren’s lengthy policy plan for Indian Country “doesn’t even come close” to making the surging Democratic presidential candidate a “credible advocate for tribal sovereignty.”

Dr. Gavin Clarkson, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Mexico and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development--Indian Affairs said Warren has “a long and troubling record of hypocrisy and hostility when it comes to tribal issues.”

Clarkson, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, says he first encountered that hostility personally while working towards his doctorate and a law degree from Harvard while Warren was a professor there. 

“I personally invited her, face-to-face, three separate times,” Clarkson said, “to visit with our Native American Law Student Association (NALSA), and she blew it off every time.” 

On the policy front, Clarkson says Warren’s badge of honor, her role in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), is especially egregious. 

“During the Obama years,” Clarkson said, “CFPB was the most hostile, anti-tribal federal entity since the government stopped shooting Indians back when Indian Affairs was in the War Department. Senator Warren owes Indian Country an apology for her role in the CFPB's hostile assault on tribal sovereignty.”

Clarkson also noted Warren’s consistent opposition to the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act and her failure to address Cotton Petroleum, a Supreme Court case that allowed double-taxation of outside economic activity in Indian Country. “Both of these have done serious multigenerational damage to tribal economies,” Clarkson said. “Can Senator Warren agree that private property and tribal sovereignty are two sides of the same coin and the key to breaking the cycle of poverty on reservations?”

Most conspicuously, Warren’s plan makes no mention of her notoriously disputed heritage claims for which she has apologized repeatedly. “She has yet to apologize to the Delaware Nation for throwing them under the bus,” Clarkson noted, “for an alleged inability to maintain adequate records (The Boston Herald, April 28, 2012) during her initial Senate campaign. The Senator still has some serious ‘splainin’ to do.”

About Dr. Clarkson:

In addition to holding both a BA and an MBA from Rice University, Dr. Gavin Clarkson is a cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School where he was president of the Native American Law Students Association, a member of the Federalist Society, and the first tribal member to earn a doctorate from the Harvard Business School.

Named the nation’s “leading scholar in tribal finance” by The Financial Times, Dr. Clarkson has been cited by Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today on matters of tribal finance, economic development, and federal Indian law, subjects he has taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Montana, the University of Houston, and New Mexico State University.