Roy Moore who refers to American Indians as “reds” and Asian Americans as “yellows.”
Trump focuses his racist tendencies on American Indians
The racist tendencies Donald Trump brought with him to the presidency are still alive and well. Just this month Trump enthusiastically endorsed Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore who refers to American Indians as “reds” and Asian Americans as “yellows,” both patently racist slurs. Moore also says he believes the last time America was “great” was when slavery was legal.
Recently, President Trump has focused his racist tendencies on American Indians.
Trump insults the American Indian Code Talkers
The ceremony was intended to honor American Indian Code Talkers.
The American Indian Code Talkers are true American heroes. Code Talkers from various tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Lakota, Meskwaki, Mohawk, Navajo, Tlingit) were used in WW I and WW II to confound the enemy, given that American Indian languages are geographically specific in the U.S. There are only 10 living Code Talkers.
Trump recently used a ceremony designed to honor the American Indian Code Talkers to invoke a racially-charged term to disparage a political opponent.
The three Code Talkers who were present at the ceremony are Navajo. Their story illustrates the value of the Code Talkers. During WW II, the Germans routinely broke the Americans’ military transmission codes. The Marines recruited 29 Navajos and trained them as Code Talkers. The Code Talkers invented and memorized more than 200 new Navajo words for military terms, creating an unbreakable code. A key factor in many American military victories, the American Indian Code Talkers’ work saved thousands of lives.
President Andrew Jackson oversaw the “The Trail of Tears.”
In what can only be described as a singularly cruel act, Trump held the Code Talker ceremony under a portrait of U.S. President Andrew Jackson, who championed the Indian Removal Act and is the architect of American Indian genocide in the Southeast. Jackson oversaw the “The Trail of Tears,” during which over 51,000 American Indians were torn from their homes and forced to march, under horrendous conditions, over 1,000 miles to Oklahoma. Over 15,500 perished in this murderous march.
In a television interview, Arizona State Representative Wenona Benally, member of the Navajo Nation, commented on this insult: “The basis of the Indian Removal Act was to exterminate Indian people.” She compared the thinking behind the Indian Removal Act and “The Trail of Tears” to Hitler’s genocidal notions.
Trump disparages Native women…
Trump used the Code Talker ceremony to further his grievance against U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), whose family lore has it that she is of Cherokee and Delaware heritage, an assertion Trump mocks. Trump told the Code Talkers, “… we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”
Let’s be clear: there is no “they” … only Trump uses that slur.
Trump’s disparaging reference to an American Indian historical figure was not received well within Indian Country. The Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, an intertribal league of sovereign American Indian Nations of the eastern and southern U.S. seaboard, said that “American Indian names, whether they be historic or contemporary, are not meant to be used as insults. To do so is to reduce them to racial slurs.”
The National Congress of American Indians said that, “We regret that the President’s use of the name Pocahontas as a slur to insult a political adversary is overshadowing the true purpose of today’s White House ceremony.”
Ten Native women, elected officials and community leaders condemned Trump’s statement and action.
The strongest reaction came from Native women. Ten Native women, elected officials and community leaders, held a press conference at the Arizona State Capitol to condemn Trump’s statement and action.
Arizona State Representative Wenona Benally (Navajo) said that, “As indigenous women, we are outraged that the president of the United States would use Pocahontas’ name in such a disparaging manner … (and) more so, that it was in front of our Code Talkers.”
Dawnafe Whitesinger (White Mountain Apache Tribe), a Navajo County Supervisor, called Trump’s “Pocahontas” remark “shameful” and “racially explosive.” Such remarks diminish the presence of Native Americans, she said.
2006 Miss Indian World Violet Duncan (Plains Cree and Taino) referenced the fact that the real person Trump refers to as “Pocahontas” (her real name was Matoaka, the daughter of the Chief of the Powhatan Nation) was a victim of violence at the hands of men. At the age of 17, Matoaka was abducted and taken prisoner by the English and held hostage at Jamestown for over a year. She was taken to England as part of a propaganda tour to get people to come to the American colonies and died on the way back to America, at the age of 21.
The Native women’s perspective was that instead of using Native women as a vehicle to hurl racial insults, Trump should provide financial and political support for initiatives that address the issue of violence against Indigenous women. “Documented statistics show that one in three women — one in three Native women — will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime,” Duncan said. “I believe (Trump’s) incendiary words and his actions create an atmosphere where the exploitation of Native women is further incited.”
Trump disrespects Indian history and heritage…
Trump reversed Obama’s action on the the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), which would run adjacent to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, was conceptualized in 2014. The DAPL will transport up to 500,000 barrels of oil a day under the Missouri River, Standing Rock’s source of water. The Standing Rock Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux, Meskwaki and other Indian tribes opposed the DAPL. Two major tribal concerns were that leaks in the pipeline would contaminate the reservation’s water, precipitating a health crisis, and that sacred and culturally significant sites are directly in the pipeline’s route.
In the spring and summer of 2016, over 4,000 people representing more than 100 tribes gathered by the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in protest of the DAPL. The protests resulted in the Obama administration’s calling a halt to the DAPL.
Almost immediately after his election, Trump reversed Obama’s action and allowed the DAPL to proceed. The completed part of the pipeline has already leaked and contaminated the river—exactly what the Sioux and other tribes feared.
It bears noting that documents obtained by public-records requests by reporters reveal that the CEO of the company building the DAPL (Energy Transfer Partners) contributed $103,000 to the Trump campaign.
And last week Trump decreed that the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah will be reduced by almost 85%. Bears Ears was created by the Obama administration as result of an intense pressure campaign by five Indian tribes—the Ute Tribe, the Navajo Nation, the Zuni Pueblo, the Hopi Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.
The 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah will be reduced by almost 85%.
Bears Ears is known to contain more than 100,000 cultural and archaeological sites, making it the most significant unprotected archaeological area in the United States. Trump’s action opens Bears Ears up to pillaging, grave robbing, and artifact theft, as noted by Shaun Chapoose of the Ute Indian tribe in Utah: “What I’m afraid is going to happen is every pot hunter, every grave robber, every artifact person that’s trying to make a buck will basically inundate the place and dig up what’s left.”
Arizona State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai, a member of the Navajo Nation, succinctly but eloquently captures the Indians’ perspective: “Our heart and soul is our land.”
Apart from the sacred and archeological sites, Bears Ears is historically significant in that it was in Bears Ears that many Indians took refuge as they escaped the genocidal “Trail of Tears.”
Trump’s racist history
Trump refusing to rent to Blacks was just the beginning.
Trump’s racism really should be no surprise, given that the U.S. Department of Justice found evidence that the Trump Management Corporation had refused to rent to black tenants (1973).
And … the case of the “Central Park Five” wherein four black teenagers and one Latino teenager were falsely accused of attacking and raping a jogger in New York City. Trump ran newspaper ads demanding the conviction of the teens and that they be sentenced to death. DNA evidence determined that the teens were COMPLETELY INNOCENT (1989).
And … Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino paid a $200,000 fine for transferring black dealers off the tables to accommodate a big-time gambler’s prejudices (1992).
And … Trump promoted the lie that President Obama was not born in the U.S. and suggested that Obama wasn’t a good enough student to have been accepted to Columbia or Harvard Law School and demanded Obama release his university transcripts (2011).
And … Trump (1) pardoned the most racist Sheriff in America, Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of running a racial-profiling campaign against people who looked like Mexicans and who on national television boasted that he was “honored” to be compared to the KKK and (2) asserted that members of the KKK and neo-Nazi groups are “fine people” (2017).
Some fear that Trump is going back to his old ways. Fact is, he never left them. He is now setting his racist sights on American Indians. To their everlasting shame, his minions and sycophants cheer him on. c/s.