President Trump's use of "Pocahontas" as an insult during a ceremony honoring Native Americans on Monday set off a range of reactions about whether the term's racially insensitive.
In this case, Native American leaders said, it was.
John Norwood, general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, told NBC News Trump's use of the name to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren "smacks of racism."
“The reference is using a historic American Indian figure as a derogatory insult and that’s insulting to all American Indians,” Norwood told the network, adding that Trump should "stop using our historical people of significance as a racial slur against one of his opponents.”
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye told CNN that the aside was "uncalled for," particularly in that setting.
“This was a day to honor them, and to insert something like that — the word ‘Pocahontas’ as a jab to a senator — you know, that belongs on the campaign trail,” Begaye said, according to Politico. “That doesn’t belong in the room when our war heroes are being honored.”
The administration held the ceremony, meant to honor Navajo Code Talkers who aided America in World War II, before a portrait of Andrew Jackson — the president who signed the Indian Removal Act.
The National Congress of American Indians, the largest organization of Native American tribes, called it "a slur" in a statement.
"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," said NCAI President Jefferson Keel, a Vietnam War combat veteran.
The White House defended Trump's use of the name for Warren, who's made unverified claims of Native American ancestry.
"I think that's a ridiculous response," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday. "I think what most people find offensive is Sen. Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career."
The president's second son, Eric Trump, defended his father's use of the name on Tuesday, criticizing an ABC reporter who had questioned Trump's remark.
"The irony of an ABC reporter (whose parent company Disney has profited nearly half a billion dollars on the movie ('Pocahontas') inferring that the name is “offensive” is truly staggering to me," Eric Trump tweeted.
"The movie was about the real person," one user, Wolfgang Vann, replied. "Your father used the name as a term to belittle someone."
Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner
Source : http://www.king5.com/news/nation-world/is-pocahontas-a-racial-slur-native-americans-say-otherwise/495309898475