Native News Network Staff in Native Currents. Discussion »
FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA Harvard Law School graduate ('06) and Democratic candidate for Arizona's First Congressional District, Wenona Benally Baldenegro has issued a statement in response to offensive media characterizations of American Indians, following questions of US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren's American Indian ancestry. Baldenegro was a student at Harvard Law School, during the same time that Dr. Warren was a Harvard Law professor.
Baldenegro, a member of the Navajo Nation, is running a historic campaign to be the first American Indian woman ever to be elected to the United States Congress."I do not have the answers to the questions regarding Dr. Warren and her background. Only she can answer any lingering questions. What I can say is that I am greatly concerned about the tremendous disrespect with which this story has been reported by some in the media. Fox News' Michelle Malkin wrote an article where she referred to Dr. Warren, using extremely offensive names, including 'Sacaja-whiner,' 'Pinocchio-hontas,' 'Chief Full-of-Lies,' and 'Running Joke.'"
"The right wing website, The Daily Caller, re posted Malkin's piece, with the headline 'Sitting Bulls**t.' While The Daily Caller has since changed its title, Malkin's article continues to be circulated around the internet without any accompanying commentary condemning the use of such degrading and offensive terms. We should not tolerate it, and I stand with the Native American Journalists Association, and the Indian nations that have publicly condemned these highly offensive characterizations. "
"Instead of perpetuating stereotypes of American Indians, Americans would be much better served with commentary discussing tribal sovereignty, tribal rights and the very serious issues that our tribal communities face, today. The focus should be placed on how our members of Congress intend to uphold tribal sovereignty and enact legislation consistent with the federal trust responsibility."
Arizona's First Congressional District, where Baldenegro is running, is a Democratic-leaning district has 23 percent American Indian population. The First Congressional District has the highest American Indian population of any Congressional district in the United States.
Baldenegro's campaign has been endorsed by the United Steelworkers of America, Rep. Raul Grijalva, AZ-7, Rep. Linda Sanchez, CA-39, the Progressive Democrats of America, and several American Indian tribes, including the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona, the Colorado River Indian Tribes in Arizona, and the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians in California.
She grew up in a single parent household in Kayenta, Arizona, a rural town on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona. Her humble upbringing taught her the value of perseverance and of hard work.
Baldenegro attended public schools in Kayenta, and went on to receive a law degree from Harvard Law School, as well as a Master Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Prior this accomplishment, she completed her undergraduate degree at Arizona State University and was the first American Indian to graduate from Arizona State University's Barrett Honors College. For the past decade, Wenona has worked with a broad base of advocacy groups, policymakers, and local nonprofit organizations to advocate for the interests of Arizona's rural communities, and to develop and finance small businesses, housing, and construction projects.
posted May 10, 2012 11:57 am edt