The Cherokee Nation released a statement today from Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, denouncing the behavior of staffers for Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown at a rally Saturday. Staffers reportedly used “war whoop chants” and “tomahawk chops” and Baker has called on Brown to apologize.
In the statement, Baker said,
“The Cherokee Nation is disappointed in and denounces the disrespectful actions of staffers and supporters of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse. The use of stereotypical “war whoop chants” and “tomahawk chops” are offensive and downright racist. It is those types of actions that perpetuate negative stereotypes and continue to minimize and degrade all native peoples.
The individuals involved in this unfortunate incident are high ranking staffers in both the senate office and the Brown campaign. A campaign that would allow and condone such offensive and racist behavior must be called to task for their actions.
The Cherokee Nation is a modern, productive society, and I am blessed to be their chief. I will not be silent when individuals mock and insult our people and our great nation.
We need individuals in the United States Senate who respect Native Americans and have an understanding of tribal issues. For that reason, I call upon Sen. Brown to apologize for the offensive actions of his staff and their uneducated, unenlightened and racist portrayal of native peoples.”
A video posted on YouTube that was shot by a state Democratic Party staffer, shows members of Brown's staff and specifically Brad Garnett, a field coordinator for the Massachusetts GOP making tomahawk chopping motions and whooping sounds, presumably in reference to Elizabeth Warren's claims of Cherokee heritage. Jack Richard, Brown's Constituent Service Counsel is also seen making tomahawk chop motions.
According to WCVB.com, NewsCenter 5, others included in the video are Jerry McDermott, Brown's State Director and Jennifer Franks, Special Assistant to Senator Scott Brown.
Brown made a statement that he did not condone the actions of his staffers, but has not officially apologized. "The real offense is that (Warren) said she was white and then checked the box saying she is Native American, and then she changed her profile in the law directory once she made her tenure," he said according to WCVB.com
"The individuals involved in this unfortunate incident are high ranking staffers in both the senate office and the Brown campaign," Chief Baker said. "A campaign that would allow and condone such offensive and racist behavior must be called to task for their actions." Chief Baker asked Sen. Brown to apologize for his staff's actions.
Tell us: What do you think of the actions of Sen. Brown's staffers? Should Brown apologize?