Seriously, this story first came up in what, 2012? You’ve had 6 years to hire some brilliant strategist to plan a response, and this is the best you could do? Even though I am just nobody, let me do you the solid of a prepared statement.
“The family story of my grandparents getting married despite parental opposition has a lot of personal meaning for me, even though there’s no evidence it’s true. I was wrong to claim Native American heritage based on that story, without investigating first. I compounded that mistake by being defensive when it was pointed out to me, and by refusing to listen to some women who wanted to help me understand the issues involved more deeply. Unlike some of my colleagues on the left, I do not believe that a person can claim any biological or cultural identity they’d like. And unlike some of my colleagues on the right, I do not believe that Native people get special advantages because of their ethnicity or tribal affiliation — quite the opposite, in fact. I won’t be discussing this issue in interviews or answering questions about it going forward, though I will consider all communications about it from my constituents as I work to represent them all to the best of my ability.”
Now was that so hard?