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Why Has the Native American Population Nearly Doubled in Past 10 Years? Ask Liz Warren.

The U.S. Native American population has increased by an astonishing 86% over the past decade, and one expert has attributed the spike to previously white-identifying Americans claiming Indigenous ancestry.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., may turn out to be a trailblazer of sorts.


According to Circe Sturm, a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, the only explanation for the demographic mystery is that “individuals who previously identified as white are now claiming to be Native American.”

“Birth rates among Native Americans don’t explain the massive rise in numbers. And there certainly is no evidence of an influx of Native American expatriates returning to the U.S,” Sturm wrote.

  • “The genealogical and historical details might not always be verifiable, but the emotions are real enough. It makes perfect sense that once race shifters link their melancholy to assimilation, they try to ease their sadness by rejecting whiteness and reclaiming an Indigenous status.”


Warren’s outing as a “race shifter” during her 2020 Democratic presidential campaign drew attention to the trend, which both Native Americans and conservatives condemned as exploitative.

  • “Taken alone, pretendians are nuisances that claim an identity, a culture and a history of oppression that does not belong to them,” wrote Rebecca Nagle, progressive Native American activist, in response to the Warren scandal.
  • “But taken together, the narrative they control and the legal status they are fighting for undermines Native self-determination and poses a real threat to tribal sovereignty.”

Meanwhile: An Intelligent study released in October found that 1 in 3 white students falsely claimed to be minorities on their college applications.

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