Sioux tribes in South Dakota are demanding that U.S. President Donald Trump apologize to Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren after issuing a racist tweet.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted “If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!”
Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney Bordeaux condemned the president for his “racist and disrespectful tweets about one of the most infamous and brutal incidents against any nation of people.”
If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash! pic.twitter.com/D5KWr8EPan
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
The Wounded Knee Massacre on Dec. 29, 1890, is one of the darkest and tragic chapters in the history of the Sioux Nation.
Historical estimates of three hundred or more unarmed men, women and children were rounded up and shot by a detachment of the U.S. Army and buried in a single mass grave at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
Bordeaux is calling for an apology from Trump to the people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and other Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations “for his shameful and ignorant misstatements.”
Dakota-Lakota Sioux tribal attorney Ruth Hopkins says there’s nothing funny about the massacre of Lakota at Wounded Knee.
Hopkins says there are many living descendants of those massacred at Wounded Knee, as well as living descendants of those that survived the massacre.
“We still live with the historical trauma of that horrific event,” says Hopkins. “Natives have been under attack by Trump and his administration since he took office.”
Hopkins says the administration is pushing pipelines through Treaty lands without consent, putting sacred sites like Bear Ears in danger and taking land from tribes.
She says the current government shutdown is also putting tribes in peril.
“If that isn’t enough, he sees fit to personally attack us by mocking us and the acts of genocide committed against us,” says Hopkins.
Hopkins, who is a prominent Indigenous activist and tweeter, also says Trump invoking the name of Pocahontas is “disrespecting the memory” of Pocahontas and “using her name as a racial slur is unacceptable.”
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier took issue with Trump calling Warren Pocahontas.
“(Trump) has once again taken a racist jab, and in doing so brought up Pocahontas. Pocahontas was only a child when she became a victim of rape, kidnapping, imprisonment and her forced conversion to Christianity,” Frazier says in a release.
Frazier says what happened to Pocahontas “is still happening today to our women. Native American women continue to be victims of rape and exploitation by white men.”
Frazier says he believes the president’s tweet wasn’t thoughtless and that Trump put some thought into it.
In statement, the Chairman wrote “I ask you America, when are you going to come to your senses regarding this president?”
For years Trump has called Warren Pocahontas and has shrugged off accusations of racism.
He once offered her a million dollars to take a DNA test.
Warren has told media in the U.S. that she confirmed that her ancestry dates back six to ten generations after consulting a researcher at Stanford University.
On New Years eve, Warren announced her plan to seek the Democratic nomination to run for president in the 2020 election.