NCAI denounces Trump’s invoking of Wounded Knee Massacre in political attack

NCAI calls on all elected officials to refrain from disparaging Native peoples and histories for partisan gain

News Release

National Congress of American Indian

Today, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country, denounced President Donald Trump’s invoking of the Wounded Knee Massacre and the Battle of Little Bighorn in his latest Twitter attack against Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the casual and callous use of these events as part of a political attack. Hundreds of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho people lost their lives at the hands of the invading U.S. Army during these events, and their memories should not be desecrated as a rhetorical punch line,” said NCAI President Jefferson Keel.

“The President referenced the Wounded Knee Massacre, one of the darkest and most tragic chapters in the history of the Sioux Nation, to mock Senator Warren. On behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, I condemn President Trump’s racist and disrespectful tweet about this brutal incident, in which an estimated 300 unarmed men, women, and children were rounded up and slaughtered,” said Rodney Bordeaux, Chairman of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and NCAI Great Plains Alternate Area Vice President. “President Trump should remember that the United States has broken and continues to dishonor the treaties of peace made with our nation and other tribal nations of this country, and he should apologize immediately to the people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and other Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota nations for his shameful and ignorant misstatement.”

For the past 75 years, NCAI has worked as a non-partisan organization to educate both sides of the political aisle about the unique political status of tribal nations as governments, the federal government’s permanent trust and treaty obligations to uphold and support tribal sovereignty, and contemporary tribal nations and their priorities for brighter futures. In furtherance of that educational effort, NCAI encourages the Administration and Congress to learn about the issues that are important to contemporary Native peoples. It also calls on the President and all other elected officials to refrain from disparaging Native peoples, their cultural identities, and their histories for partisan gain.

“Flippant references to deadly historical conflicts and name-calling that mocks Native identity have no place in our political discourse,” said Keel. “I urge the President to focus instead on doing the people’s business, including ending the needless government shutdown that is harming so many Native people.”

To learn more about contemporary tribal nations and their issues, please click here. To learn more about the impacts of the partial government shutdown on tribal nations, click here.

About The National Congress of American Indians

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.

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