Some Native American groups in New Mexico are making it clear that they will not support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, citing the candidate’s bigotry and lack of experience in dealing with tribes.
Members of the Native American Voters Alliance, the New Mexico Native American Caucus of the Democratic Party and the Red Nation, joined by the University of New Mexico Kiva Club, one of the oldest Native American student organizations on campus, united with thousands of protesters in downtown Albuquerque Tuesday peacefully marching, singing, reciting poetry and holding signs depicting the candidate’s stance on racism. As the sun set over the city, some protesters became aggressive with violence; and police turning out in riot gear as the night grew later.
Inside the Albuquerque Convention Center, Trump spoke about his primary victories in various states, broached issues such as NAFTA, jobs and immigration, and took swings at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while being interrupted several times by protesters.
Trump also referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) several times as the Powhatan woman who saved the life of English explorer and settler John Smith.
“Hillary Clinton has somebody. Did you ever hear of Pocahontas? It’s Pocahontas, Elizabeth Warren. She is probably the senator that is doing the least in the United States. She’s a total failure. She said she was an Indian—because her cheekbones were high she was an Indian. She was Native American. We have these surrogates, people like her that are total failures. And I tell you what, our country is getting wise to what is happening folks… It’s a big scam and we’re all getting scammed together and we’re not going to take it anymore.”
Trump’s remarks were in reference to Warren’s description of her Native American heritage, which became a campaign issue in her 2012 bid for Senate, when her opponent accused her of taking advantage of minority status.
Warren has been a harsh critic of Trump, saying on Twitter that his “racism, sexism and xenophobia doesn't drive me nuts. It makes me sick. And I'm not alone.”
Native Americans make up about 11 percent of New Mexico’s population, but often have low voter turnout.
Some Native people who attended the rally said they will support Trump in the general election, with a few citing that they liked the candidate’s pro-business stance, according to reports. Others, including Debra Haaland, the first Native American to chair the state’s Democratic Party, said Trump’s racist rhetoric and divisive policies are out of step with the state’s values.
“Donald Trump’s statements about women, about minorities, about immigrants in our great country have no place in New Mexico politics,” she said.