Column: GOP never apologized for offending Indians

"Dr. Steve Kagen, who is running for the congressional seat in the 8th District against Rep. John Gard, made an inappropriate remark in reference to Indians.

As public relations director and an enrolled Oneida, I was appreciative of the opportunity to address him personally with the issue and hear his public apology. A few years ago, we experienced a similar, yet more severe action by the GOP when they had a cartoon posted on their Web site of a Native American scalping a taxpayer. All eleven tribes in Wisconsin demanded an apology. We've never received one.

Oneida tribal leaders have received several comments and concerns about this particular issue and how racial slurs and mascot concerns are addressed by tribal government. We must set the record straight and move on. The Oneida Tribe has stood firm on its position to oppose derogatory Indian mascots and racism in any form. Although the leadership does not condone the comments made by Kagen, his apology has been accepted.

What concerns tribal leadership to a greater degree is the attention given to these comments made by a politician in what he thought was being humorous, and the neglect of the issues discussed in the debate relative to health care, education and other critical concerns of Indian people. It is a very unfortunate happenstance to raise the public concern over one comment and completely disregard the years of political lobbying done by tribes to bring attention to derogatory mascots, substandard housing, health care and education on reservations."

Get the Story:
Bobbi Webster: Kagen has apologized for inappropriate remark, so let's move on (The Green Bay Press-Gazette 10/27) $ad1 Related Stories:
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Editorial: Wis. GOP offended the first true Americans (4/21)
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Wis. tribe criticizes GOP cartoon as racist (4/16)