TSA apologizes to traveler over treatment at Minnesota airport

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The Associated Press

'My braids are not reins, I should be treated with dignity, as should everyone else,' said the traveler on social media

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An official of the Transportation Security Administration apologized Tuesday to a Native American air traveler who says an agent treated her offensively at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. 

Indigenous rights activist and attorney Tara Houska says she was headed home to Bemidji Monday when a TSA agent said she needed to pat down her long braids and then pulled them behind her shoulders and said "giddyup" as she snapped them like reins of a horse.

"My hair is part of my spirit. I am a Native woman. I am angry, humiliated. Your "fun" hurt", "Houska tweeted.

Houska, who is Objibwe, says she doesn't want the agent fired, but thinks TSA needs to improve its sensitivity training. 

In a statement, the agency said TSA officials investigated the incident, and on Tuesday afternoon TSA's Federal Security Director for Minnesota Cliff Van Leuven spoke with Houska and apologized for the officer's actions and comment.

"TSA holds its employees to the highest standards of professional conduct and any type of improper behavior is taken seriously," the statement said.

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