President Donald Trump has angered many moderate tribal members with his racist attacks on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). But now, it seems, even his own supporters with Native American ancestry find the insult unacceptable.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump happily ranted about his political foe by calling her "Pocahontas," mocking her for claims of Native American ancestry. But Trump took it to a whole new level when he used the slur while standing in the Oval Office with the last two living Navajo Code Talkers from World War II.
“I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people,” Trump said, a painting of former President Andrew Jackson over his shoulder. Jackson was the president who signed into law the Indian Removal Act. “You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her ‘Pocahontas.’”
In an interview with the Norman Transcript, one Cherokee Nation tribal councilor said Trump "hit a sour note" over use of the slur.
David Walkingstick of Tahlequah, Oklahoma said that he doesn't vote along party lines, but Trump won the Republican's vote in 2016.
“You kind of knew what you were getting with Trump,” he said. “Everyone knew Trump was a loudmouth, but he is a successful businessman. We need people trying to get our country out of debt and (promoting) job growth, and he was the one who was willing to make enemies to make that happen.”
The Cherokee nation was promised funding over 20 years for a medical clinic from former President Barack Obama's administration. When the new Trump administration came into office, they honored the promise, for which Walkingstick gives Trump major props.
“As far as the nuts and bolts of it, putting the numbers together, I think he’s probably done a pretty good job, but he’s probably offended some people along the way,” Walkingstick said of Trump's racist slurs.
He also noted that Trump's decision to downsize Utah's Bears Ear National Monument and plow through sacred grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe with the Dakota Access Pipeline are all things that earned him animosity.
“For a president to understand our sovereignty as tribes is crucial,” Walkingstick said. “I would say that he hasn’t been the most sensitive president to our tribal sovereignty.”