We’re going to say it. We had hoped for better, but its just not there.
There is something wrong with our President of the United States. He continues to make racist and disparaging remarks towards Native America. This certainly isn’t the first time you’ve seen the latest story, and definitely this is not the first concern raised about it. Still, there is something very important to consider here. First, the unfortunate situation:
On Monday, the President said:
“If , often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!” – President of the United States, Donald Trump, January 13, 2019.
This article isn’t about a Republican or a Democrat issue. This article is about a Native issue. Politics, whether dirty or clean don’t seem to play a part in the actions and comments being made here. Instead, what is happening is just plain racist. …and targeting Native Americans.
Worse is the timing, which cannot simply be coincidental. While still just days after its anniversary, the horrendous shadow of the Wounded Knee massacre remains cast over Native America as it passes mostly unnoticed by the rest of the Nation. The anniversary of the Wounded Knee incident in 1973 approaches in what can be measured now in days, and so there is more than a moment of shock to see and hear the comments of the President of the United States using Wounded Knee as the punchline for his extremely racist joke.
The Washington Post’s article actually does a great job explaining why this is so offensive to Native Americans (Trump invokes one of the worst Native American massacres to mock Elizabeth Warren). …and it is seen as being offensive by both Republicans and Democrats as well, which is why this has little to do with politics itself. It’s even happened before. One of the early times President Trump chose to evoke a racist expression was when he was honoring Native American veterans at the White House. You may remember at the time, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz), spoke out against President Trump’s remarks. Today, other Republicans have as well.
According to The Hill’s article yesterday (GOP Senators rebuke Trump for using Wounded Knee as a punchline), Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) provided perhaps the strongest and most clear statement. “The Wounded Knee Massacre was one of the darkest moments in our history. It should never be used as a punchline,” the Senator said. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) complained about Trump’s fetish for tweeting stating he wished the President would not tweet so much, and would stay away from the most sensitive part of his state’s history.
So there is a reality that needs to be faced when the President of the United States continually exhibits racist behavior towards Native Nations and Native communities – this President is not a friend of Native America. This wasn’t simply a joke. It is a behavior, and one that did not start with his Presidency. This should not be any kind of surprise but perhaps not everyone is aware – Donald Trump has opposed Native Nations and Tribal Governments years before he took the oath of office… and some of that is on video (see below).
These racist tendencies are a flaw of his character.
Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) summed up the character flaws of this President in his Op Ed for the Washington Post earlier this very month (The President shapes the public character of the Nation. Trump’s character falls short). Speaking of President Trump “…his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.” Romney points out. He goes on further to state, “With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”
Please keep in mind, it was really just a short time ago that Mitt Romney represented the entire GOP as a Presidential candidate. Now, he warns the country about the current President’s lack of character.
The above mentioned Republican Senators have spoken out against President Trump’s racism as it has happened today but no one is speaking that this behavior targeting Native Americans existed many many years before he became President. With two years into his administration, this President has certainly not chosen these moments to change. That brings us to the most important consideration.
Can Native America have trust in this type of President?
There is no defense for this kind of hatred and divisiveness, so the answer to our question is no. Trust, as they say, must be earned. This President has done nothing to earn Native Americans trust. This is something we must remember.
This is why the Native voice matters. This is why it doesn’t matter whether we are Republican, Democrat, Independent or third party – what matters is we are Native First, and that we have the Native vote – which is our Native voice.
For Native America Action, and the Native America Super PAC, we will not forget this President’s words and actions in regards to all of Native America.
If you feel like adding your voice to ours, please consider donating to the Native America Super PAC.