I've seen both my Native and non-Native friends reacting to Donald Trump's Pocahontas comment in front of the Navajo codetalkers he was supposed to be honoring yesterday, and we're all in agreement here, there is never a time or place for this kind of disrespect and behavior. A lot of Native Americans have responded to Trump's remarks yesterday, including the Navajo Nation.
Official Statement from Navajo Nation below.
HISTORICAL CONTRIBUTION OF NATIVE AMERICAN CODE TALKERS IS INVALUABLE, CULTURAL INSENSITIVITY IS UNFORTUNATE
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, during an event at the White House honoring Native American Code Talkers, President Donald Trump made reference to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”
The remark prompted immediate backlash.
“First and foremost, we appreciate the honor and recognition that has been bestowed upon the Navajo Code Talkers, who truly are National Treasures and protectors of freedom,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said.
The reference to Sen. Warren as “Pocahontas” is a part of an ongoing feud between the senator and President Trump over statements Warren had made to have Native American heritage during her Senate campaign.
“In this day and age, all tribal nations still battle insensitive references to our people. The prejudice that Native American people face is an unfortunate historical legacy,” President Begaye said. “As Native Americans, we are proud people who have taken care of this land long before there was the United States of America and we will continue to fight for this Nation.”
President Begaye said the Navajo Nation does not want to engage in this dialogue between Sen. Warren and President Trump.
The purpose of the day’s event was to honor all Native American Code Talkers who used their native languages to encode sensitive messages and protect U.S. wartime communications in both World Wars I and II.
“It was our Code Talkers that ensured the freedom of the United States and that’s what is important to remember here,” President Begaye said.
Marty Two Bulls Editorial Cartoon
National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Jefferson Keel also issued a statement on the White House Ceremony.
WASHINGTON, D.C. | On November 27, 2017, the National Congress of American Indians President Jefferson Keel issued the following statement:
“We regret that the President’s use of the name Pocahontas as a slur to insult a political adversary is overshadowing the true purpose of today’s White House ceremony,” stated NCAI President Jefferson Keel, a decorated U.S. Army officer and Vietnam War combat veteran. “Today was about recognizing the remarkable courage and invaluable contributions of our Native code talkers. That’s who we honor today and everyday – the three code talkers present at the White House representing the 10 other elderly living code talkers who were unable to join them, and the hundreds of other code talkers from the Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Lakota, Meskwaki, Mohawk, Navajo, Tlingit, and other tribes who served during World Wars I and II. We also honor the service and bravery of all of our veterans and those currently serving from Indian Country. Native people serve in the Armed Forces at a higher rate than any other group in the country, and have served in every war in this nation’s history.
“And we honor the contributions of Pocahontas, a hero to her people, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in Virginia, who reached across uncertain boundaries and brought people together. Once again, we call upon the President to refrain from using her name in a way that denigrates her legacy.”
And here's a quick round-up of some other folks commenting on the event.
The President calls a white woman “Pocahontas”—who was a Native American victim of child rape—at an event “honoring” Diné WWII code talkers, all in front a portrait depicting the original architect of Indian removal, Andrew Jackson. https://t.co/Du9DDg2cC3
— Lakota Law Project (@lakotalaw) November 27, 2017
CNN Spoke with the found of American Indians in Film and Television, Sonny Skyhawk, as well as Navajo Nation President, Russell Begaye.
And Gyasi Ross commented on MSNBC yesterday:
TAGGED: code talkers Navajo Trump