Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
It's been a busy news week for us at the Native News Network. In particular, three stories have kept us busy: Chief Spence's hunger strike in Ottawa, Canada; the death of Senator Daniel Inouye, D - Hawaii, who served on the US Committee on Indian Affairs during the past several decades and the reading of the apology outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
I traveled to Washington to cover the apology story and conduct other business.
As I was about to leave Washington, I received a phone call from a friend in Los Angeles, who wanted to know if heard that President Obama said the Republicans should peel off the partisan war paint in order to avoid the fiscal cliff.
The "fiscal cliff" is term used to describe the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 will go into effect after the December 31, 2012 passes without action by Congress. The fiscal cliff will mean taxes for all Americans will go up.
My friend remembered when the Native News Network objected in August to NBC's "TODAY" host Matt Lauer during coverage of the 2012 London Olympics told his ex co-anchor Meredith Vieira "don't be an Indian giver."
He wanted to know if we would have something to say about President Obama's "war paint" comment.
Here are the President's comments he used during a White House press briefing while discussing the looming year-end deadline:
"If you peel off the partisan war paint, we should be able to get something done."
Perhaps, President Obama used the term in the context that war paint is being used as a means of posturing along political party lines. He knows he and Congress are in the depths of a war over how to deal with the nation's fiscal business.
While he did not specifically say Indian war paint, one can assume most Americans would insert the word Indian into his comment.
One wonders if the President should be called out on this. Matt Lauer was.
His use of term, while it appears was said in a very flippant fashion, was unnecessary and in appropriate.
One of the serious arguments against the use of American Indian mascots and other imagery in sports is the fact that non-Indians dress up with war paint to play Indian.
This publication strongly objected when the Pentagon used the term "Geronimo: KIA" which was used as code talk to inform Osama bin Laden was dead last year. Then we wrote "Geronimo was no Osama." We called out the Obama administration for it.
We again call out President Obama on his use of war paint in his statement on the fiscal cliff. His administration held the White House Tribal Nations conference two weeks ago in Washington where he reminded tribal leaders of all he has done for American Indians since taking office. He said more work needs to be done.
The President can begin with eliminating American Indian terms out of his conversation that are inappropriate.
posted December 22, 2012 12:30 pm est