President Donald Trump honored the families of Navajo war veterans yesterday. However, his words were not so kind when it came to Massachusetts’ Senator Elizabeth Warren, rekindling her “Pocahontas” nickname. Native Americans no happy.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had a nickname for Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren: Pocahontas. This was something most had forgotten about, until yesterday.
During a ceremony at the White House honoring World War II Navajo code talkers, Trump used the spotlight to take a jab at Senator Warren, referring to her as Pocahontas, a political slam from 2016.
Families of Navajo War Veterans Not Happy with President Trump Pocahontas Comment
The families of the war veterans viewed the political jab during the World War II veteran ceremony to be bad taste. The Navajo Nation responded to the remark as “cultural insensitivity.”
Mary Thompson, the great niece of a code talker told media outlets, “He can say what he wants when he’s out doing his presidential business among his people, but when it comes to honoring veterans or any kind of people, he needs to grow up and quit saying things like that.”
Was Trump’s Use of Pocahontas in Poor Taste?
Trump did explain that he had respect for the Navajo code talkers, just not for Senator Warren. However, was the political jab using a well-known Native American figure the right thing to do?
Pocahontas was the daughter of chief Powhatan, a very important chief who led a group of tribal nations in what is now Virginia. She is also said to have saved the life of John Smith. This tale of heroism has been the driving force behind her legacy.
The National Congress of American Indians believes that Trump used this well-known Native American’s name in a derogatory way. Naturally, the criticism and backlash has caused White House back-pedaling, ensuring America that Trump had no intention of making a “racial slur.”
Native Americans Honored at the Ceremony Have Mixed Feelings
Whether President Donald Trump had ill intentions when he used the Pocahontas comment or not, those who were being honored didn’t feel as if it was truly about them.
Pocahontas comment aside, Trump honored the Native American war heroes next to a picture of Andrew Jackson, a former president Trump admires. Trump may like former President Jackson, but for Native Americans, he is not the best memory.
Andrew Jackson’s political policies at the time directly impacted Native Americans of the southern United States via the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Those policies were the driving force behind forced Native removal in that region of the U.S. during Jackson’s presidency.
Should their be more cultural awareness coming from the White House and our Commander and Chief. Trump and Warren’s political jabs are nothing new, but there may be a better time and place. Do you believe Trump’s comments were out of place during a war veteran ceremony?