Cherokee chief demands apology: Scott Brown staffers ‘downright racist’

By David Edwards
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 13:24 EDT
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Scott Brown staffer mocking Elizabeth Warren's heritage with "Tomahawk Chop"
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The Cherokee Nation principal chief on Wednesday demanded an apology from Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) after his staffers mocked Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren’s heritage by shouting “war whoops” and doing the “Tomahawk Chop” at a campaign rally.

“The Cherokee Nation is disappointed in and denounces the disrespectful actions of staffers and supporters of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown,” Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Bill John Baker said in a statement obtained by National Journal. “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.”

“We need individuals in the United States Senate who respect Native Americans and have an understanding of tribal issues,” he added. “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.”

For his part, Brown has refused to apologized for the actions of his staffers, but said it was “not something I condone.”

“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,” the senator insisted.

Brown’s statement underscores his recent tactic of attacking Warren on the issue of her heritage. A new Brown campaign ad is composed of news clips questioning Warren’s claims that her mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware Indian, which critics say she exploited for professional gain.

Warren responded with an ad explaining that her mother and father eloped because of disapproval on the part of her father’s family.

Watch this video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 25, 2012.

With earlier reporting by Arturo Garcia.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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