Montana Republican rebuked for 'chief' comments
A Republican lawmaker in Montana was forced to apologize on Friday for referring to state Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, a Democrat and member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, as "chief."

Rep. Ed Butcher also wondered out loud if a gavel used by the House Agriculture Committee "would qualify as a war club." His remarks were blasted by Indian lawmakers and by Republican and Democratic leaders as inappropriate.

"I've known Ed for a long time, and I don't expect anything different," Windy Boy told The Great Falls Tribune. "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

Butcher said he meant his remarks as a compliment but he apologized on the House floor anyway. Windy Boy, however, wasn't present because he was attending a tribal council meeting.

"He's a tribal leader," Butcher told The Billings Gazette. "I always thought the chief was the main man."

Butcher has come under fire in the past for his remarks about Indian people. In 2001, he referred to reservations as "ghettos."

He was also forced to apologize in 2004 for calling a group of developmentally disabled students "vegetables" during an education meeting.

Get the Story:
Lawmaker apologizes for comments (The Billings Gazette 1/6)
Lawmaker's remarks draw peer criticism, prompt floor apology (The Great Falls Tribne 1/6)
Butcher rebuked for 'insensitive' comments (AP 1/6)