Indigenous Congress members condemn violence
Indian Country Today
All six Indigenous Congress members are safe after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
All were in the building during the joint session before it was locked down. They later posted on social media or issued statements confirming they were unharmed.
“I am safe, but the violence at the Capitol is entirely unacceptable,” tweeted Rep. Yvette Herrell, Cherokee, of New Mexico. “I urge all those in Washington today to allow Congress to continue its business as the Constitution requires.”
(Related: Trump supporters storm US Capitol)
The other Indigenous House members are: Sharice Davids, Ho-Chunk, of Kansas; Deb Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblos, of New Mexico; Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee, of Oklahoma; Kai Kahele, Kanaka Maoli, of Hawaii; and Tom Cole, Chickasaw, of Oklahoma.
Shortly after the mob rushed the Capitol, Haaland posted a video saying she and a staff member were sheltering in place in her office.
“We’ll stay put until they tell us it’s safe to go out,” Haaland said. She later tweeted, “Violence is never the answer.”
Davids also posted on Twitter, saying: "Today is a dark day for our country. It's unacceptable that we have a President who has repeatedly condoned and even encouraged this despicable behavior. It must stop."
President Donald Trump shared a video asking people to leave the building. He ended telling protestors, "I love you. You are very special."
Asked about the president's statement in a live interview with ABC News, Mullin responded: "I understand what he's saying. I love them too; I don't hate them."
Mullin went on to condemn the actions of the violent protestors, saying they should be punished by the law.
Cole also condemned the violence, tweeting that he was "outraged by the lawless protests that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol today."
The chaotic protest interrupted challenges to Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Republicans Herrell, Mullin and Cole previously said they would be among those challenging Biden’s win.
Cole last month told Fox25 in Oklahoma City that "In my view, the election's over," and he would “respect the will of the American people," even though the presidential election didn't turn out the way he'd hoped.
But he has since changed course, tweeting Wednesday: “On behalf of my constituents, I am casting my vote against certification of the Electoral College’s count of the presidential election results."
The last-gasp effort is all but certain to fail, defeated by bipartisan majorities in Congress prepared to accept the November results. Biden is set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Santee Lewis, executive director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office in Washington, D.C., also said Wednesday her team is safe.
"I took precautionary measures by asking my staff to work from home today, never imagining something like this would happen. Everyone is safe but like everyone else, we are shocked," Lewis told Indian Country Today. "We are also worried about when we can safely return to our office which is two blocks from the Capitol and next door to CNN, which has received bomb threats."
Mike Woestehoff, Navajo, told Indian Country Today he attended Wednesday's Trump rally at the Washington monument, where he witnessed a peaceful gathering that included supporters of all ages enjoying music and big screens.
He says he left the rally after approximately an hour and did not witness anything at the Capitol.
"Trump supporters, like myself, respect American history, and felt like we were making it today," Woestehoff said. "We wouldn't want to destroy, vandalize or occupy the Capitol. We respect law enforcement, and we all are disgusted with these rioters at the violence they created."
Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.