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Opinion: CNN Should Replace Rick Santorum With An Indigenous Commentator

Opinion: CNN Should Replace Rick Santorum With An Indigenous Commentator

Posted By Jeanette Centeno May 24th, 2021 Last Updated on: May 25th, 2021

As the deafening silence of CNN’s inaction echoed through Indian Country, several indigenous organizations including the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), pressured the station to cut ties with a former Republican senator, Rick Santorum. 

And the network has finally done so.

For four years, CNN allowed him to expound his narrow-minded racist views and remained silent. According to Santorum, Judeo-Christians “birthed a nation from nothing” and that although “there were Native Americans, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.” Those words cut through the very core of who we are, our past, and how many people—including some at CNN—have tried to erase us.

Sovereign tribal nations, with beautiful complex histories, gave this nation its essence, ideas for its government, favorite pastimes, and so much more, Yet, indigenous erasure continues in the media. CNN, along with many other news stations, does not employ indigenous commentators and journalists, which leaves our voices and stories untold. If we aren’t seen, we aren’t valued, and if we aren't valued in mainstream society, we are erased.



Representation of indigenous people in print media/newspapers is 0.36 percent and in TV news outlets? Zero percent. Lack of representation means we are not in control of our stories and our voice gets diminished.

Rick Santorum and CNN are just one example of this erasure, but indigenous organizations, people, and allies need to continue to demand change and justice. The current open space left by Santorum should be given to an indigenous journalist who will bring balance, insight, and a sense of decorum that is lacking at the station. This is a huge opportunity for those who control the media to change the narrative and include indigenous people, who will not allow our history and contributions to be white-washed.

There are more than 500 federally recognized sovereign tribal nations and thousands of allies who will not stand for anyone dismissing our past. Indigenous people need to tell their stories and newspapers and media have a responsibility to report pieces that are fact-based and analytical. The free press should report, challenge, and expose those who twist the narrative that is racist. Everyone deserves fact-based news that educates, regardless of your race, heritage, or political affiliation.

Tribal nations are led to believe we have no power in mainstream society, which is the furthest thing from the truth. We are consumers, avid readers, educators, vital members of society who want change and a voice. Politicians like Santorum will come and go, but we are constant. 



Still here. Still fighting. Still matter.


Home » Native American Articles » Native American Issues » Opinion: CNN Should Replace Rick Santorum With An Indigenous Commentator

About Jeanette Centeno

Jeanette Centeno (Taíno) is a nurse with 18 years of experience, ranging from Spinal Cord Injury patients to case management. She is committed to advocating for adequate healthcare and proper intervention for all people. Centeno currently works at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, one of the leading acute care hospitals in treating Spinal Cord Injury.



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Ted Cabana

I would like to see more Indigenous people on tv, in politics, and any position where there presence would by beneficial to all Americans.

Richard Staley

I agree

shallmons

I wish we were all color blind, that it didn’t matter to us what religion/faith any one had and that we weren’t looking for a reason to be offended. We can’t change what happened in the past. Horrible things happened then, and the sad thing is in parts of the world it is still happening. If we try to make up for the past it seems to just futher divide us.

Last edited 3 months ago by shallmons

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