President Donald Trump offered another shake your head moment on April 28 at an NRA rally in Atlanta, where he again referred to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas. And today the National Congress of the American Indians has condemned the President for his comments.
The president has not shied away from his insult from 2016 where he Tweeted that “Pocahontas was not happy” among other comments aimed at Warren, and repeated again in February, by telling the cheering Atlanta crowd: “In the next election, you are going to be swamped with candidates, but you’re not going to be wasting your time…It may be Pocahontas, remember that.” He went on to say that Warren is not a big supporter of the NRA.
The NCAI, the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country released a statement condemning the President for his derogatory use of the name.
“NCAI is a bi-partisan organization that works equitably with both sides of the political aisle, and it is not our common practice to comment on the partisan name calling that has come to dominate American politics,” said NCAI Executive Director Jacqueline Pata in the official release. “But we cannot and will not stand silent when our Native ancestors, cultures, and histories are used in a derogatory manner for political gain.”
Pocahontas is a “well-known historical Native figure” that has been turned into a derogatory term. The NCAI release states that, “in fact, the cultural misappropriation of Native American cultures and traditions unfortunately was a common occurrence during the 2016 election season, with multiple attacks by candidates and their surrogates during debates, rallies, and live broadcast appearances.”
As ICMN has reported in a variety of pieces, Pocahontas was a real person with her own story in history that was a “tale of tragedy and heartbreak.” And for that reason “the name of Pocahontas should not be used as a slur,” NCAI states.
“With the election long over, we hoped that President Trump would refrain from using this name as a pejorative term and other such terms that insult Native peoples and degrade their cultures in order to score political points,” said NCAI President Brian Cladoosby. “We hope that this was but a momentary slip-up, and that it is not indicative of how this Administration intends to treat and work with Indian Country moving forward.”