During a radio interview with conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham on Thursday, Republican presidential hopeful Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said Native Americans “don’t do very well because there’s been a lack of assimilation."
“I think assimilation is an amazing thing. A good example of how even in our country assimilation didn’t happen and it’s been a disaster for the people has been the Native American population on the reservations,” Paul said.
Paul suggested that Native Americans could be as successful as the rest of country in as little as 10 years if the Indians who live on the 325 reservations across the nation assimilated into American culture.
“Um, if they were assimilated within a decade they’d probably be doing as well as the rest of us, but instead, um, seclusion and isolating them – we took their land, and then put them on small [unintelligible] of land, but they don’t do very well …”
The Democratic National Committee told ICTMN that Paul's comments are a demonstration of his “shocking lack of historical and cultural awareness.”
“Senator Paul’s statements harken back to a disastrous era of federal policies that aimed to terminate tribal governments and eradicate Native American cultures. His statements and attitude show his utter lack of historical and cultural awareness,” said PaaWee Rivera, DNC Director of Native American Engagement, who is also Pueblo of Pojoaque.
ICTMN Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief Rob Capriccioso reported in 2011 that then-junior congressman Paul aimed to defund the Bureau of Indian Affairs [BIA] and wanted to cut at least half of the funds slated for Indian Health Service [IHS].
Paul, along with GOP presidential candidates Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act [VAWA] that would hold non-tribal members accountable for violence committed against Native women on tribal lands, the DNC reported.
Listen to Senator Paul's comment below: