Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe addresses a #NoDAPL rally outside of the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on August 24, 2016. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Harold Frazier: President Trump owes apology to Navajo war heroes for 'Pocahontas' slur

POTUS 'Pocahontas' comment to American Heroes

By Harold Frazier
Chairman, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

I am deeply ashamed of the way the President of the United States has treated Native veterans during an honoring ceremony at the White House.

Veterans are brave heroes who sacrificed everything, despite the historical trauma to tribal nations, when asked to defend the United States. Absolutely nothing should have taken away from honoring the veterans for their contributions to the war that ensured the American way of life.

The President of the United States had an opportunity to honor veterans and bridge gaps in the relationship tribes have with the Federal government. Instead, he chose to disgrace himself, his position and the nation he represents. It has been more than 200 years of living together yet the President of the United States knows nothing about us.

We have been forced to learn the way of the American life. We have learned American religions, language, economy, politics and society. We all share in following the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A dream that all of those things we learn about, try to keep us from achieving. The President’s comments are another reminder that we are not allowed to participate.

Pocahontas was only a child when she became a victim of rape, kidnapping, imprisonment, and her forced conversion to Christianity. What happened to Pocahontas is still happening today to our women. Native American women continue to be victims of rape and exploitation by white men. The President of the United States is practicing that by exploiting native women as an insult for political machismo.

Pocahontas is beloved by native people and is recognized as a victim of European colonialism. To use her name in that manner is disgusting and reflective of the President of the United States’ ignorance.

This President of the United States does not deserve to represent the American people if he cannot acknowledge the contributions of the people who make America great. The President of the United States has shown no responsibility when caring for American resources or the people.

An apology is in order for the warriors that were present, to the native nations and the United States for his behavior.

The President of the United States wanted to utilize an opportunity to honor native warriors who defended this land to make a political attack. I have one for him, leave the office you bought and take your swamp things with you.

Harold Frazier is serving his second term as chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, based in South Dakota. He also serves as president of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association. He previously served as vice chair of the tribe and as an area vice president for the National Congress of American Indians.

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