Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
After the disclosure of the videotape that captured US Senator Scott Brown's senatorial staff and campaign workers as they attempted to bring attention to Democratic challenger claiming to be part Cherokee and Delaware, I began to pay keen attention to the tightly contested Massachusetts senatorial race.
After the release of the video to the media, Brown basically said he does not condone such behavior and issued a reprimand that he will not tolerate any further antics.
As a US senator who has to decide on many issues impacting lives of American Indians nationwide, it is hoped he sees the total disrespect his staff has shown to American Indians everywhere. He still should demand the resignation of his staff for their racist antics. If these antics were done within the confines of an office setting, there would be grounds for a Civil Rights claim, because no one should have to witness such inappropriate behavior. Further, one wonders if the staff was attempting to act in a disparaging fashion against African Americans, would they still be employed. Why do American Indians provide such fodder for non-Indians? Why is it okay to play Indian, but not black?
At issue to Brown and his staff is the fact Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren checked a box in directories at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania as being American Indian.
During the first debate, a week ago Thursday, Senator Brown alluded to the fact she did not appear to be Native American. He should show up at the National Congress of American Indians. He would discover American Indians come in various shades and colors.
Two days after the debate, his staff attended a rally where they made
Indian war whoops and
tomahawk chop gestures. Antics, that this publication earlier this week called
When first confronted with the video by a Boston television news crew, Brown said:
"Well, I haven't seen it, this is the first I'm hearing of it. But I know we had a lot of rallies, so I don't know what you're specifically referring to, but if you're saying that, certainly that's not something I condone. It's certainly something that if I am aware of it, I'll tell that member to never do it again. But the real issue here is, and the real offense is the fact that Professor Warren checked the box. She said that she was white, and then she checked the box saying she was Native American and then she changed her profile in the law directory once she attained her tenure."
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updated 12:57 pm edt; posted September 29, 2012 8:50 am edt