Opinion: Mayor's 'shotgun' remarks an outrage to all Americans
"Imagine for a moment: New York Governor David Paterson finds himself in the eleventh hour of a controversy involving an African American group exerting its fundamental rights against the State of New York. He turns to Mayor Bloomberg for advice, thinking the Mayor may have a promising diplomatic strategy to suggest. Instead, the Mayor quips, "Get a white robe and piece of rope, and show them who's boss -- now that would be a great video!" Shock. Outrage from all corners. Marching in the streets. Political heads roll.

The real shock and outrage is that Bloomberg recently made essentially the same statements about Native Americans, and no one raised an eyebrow. Last week, in response to the Governor's request for guidance on how to deal with the sensitive issue of the sale of tax-free cigarettes on sovereign Indian lands within New York State, the Mayor suggested -- cowboy up. With the diplomatic grace of a wrangler hunting Indian scalps, his government-to-government negotiation advice was: "You know, get yourself a cowboy hat and a shotgun. If there's ever a great video, it's you standing in the middle of the New York State Thruway saying, you know, 'Read my lips -- the law of the land is this, and we're going to enforce the law.'" Brilliant.

As an enrolled citizen of the Seneca Nation of Indians, who lives and works on Seneca territory, I am outraged and deeply saddened by the Mayor's cavalier and insensitive remarks. They smack of the not so distant past when states would offer cold hard cash for the scalps of Indian men, women and children. It was not that long ago U.S. political leaders proclaimed that the only good Indian is a dead Indian. The Mayor's shoot-from- the-hip statements are truly unbelievable in this day and age. Such statements against any other ethnic group would be unfathomable, and answered with quick condemnation. Indians, however, have always been the weakest ethnic group (economically and politically), and an easy and safe target for verbal gunslingers like Bloomberg."

Get the Story:
David Kimelberg: Cowboys and Indians: Bloomberg Shoots From the Hip (The Huffington Post 8/18)