The Damage Report: CNN Analyst Rick Santorum Has No Grasp of History
Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association Applauds CNN’s Decision to Terminate Rick Santorum’s Contract
CNN Severs Ties With Former Senator Following Racist, Inaccurate Remarks
Monday, May 24, 2021
Source: Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association

The following is the text of a May 23, 2021, press release from the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association.

RAPID CITY, South Dakota — After weeks of pressure from Native Americans, including the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association (GPTCA), CNN, the global news network headquartered in Atlanta, terminated its contract with former Senator Rick Santorum yesterday due to his wrongful, racist remarks disparaging Native Americans before a conservative youth group.

“As Native peoples, we stand strong for our treaty rights,” said Harold Frazier, Chairman, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and GPTCA. “Native Sovereign Nations have been at the center of America from the beginning. Santorum was ignorant and unapologetic. He had to go.”

Collective action pressuring CNN to terminate Santorum as a political commentator, was taken by Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, IllumiNative, TWIN, National Congress of the American Indian, other advocates and allies to address the misrepresentation of Native America in the media. Standing Rock Sioux historian, Vine Deloria has written, “Before the white man can learn to relate to others he must forgo the pleasure of defining them.”

Reaction to the news was swift and positive by all involved, including our GPTCA leadership.

“As Native women, we coalesced around a demand to CNN for dismissal due to Santorum’s denial of Native identity. We will no longer put up with this kind of treatment,” said A. Gay Kingman, GTPCA Executive Director. “Congratulations to all who were involved. While there is still more to do, we stood together to educate the media and express outrage at Santorum’s unapologetic racism. And we prevailed.”

“This is a teachable moment,” said Rodney Bordeaux, Rosebud Sioux President, in an editorial letter in The Washington Post on May 21st, 2021, the day before Mr. Santorum’s termination.

“Native Americans gave America food, clothing, medicine and homes, we had to address Rick Santorum’s whitewash in the media,” said Bordeaux. “Whitewashing Native American history continues America’s Genocide. Now it must stop.”


The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association (GPTCA) is made up of the 16 Native Sovereign Nations in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. All 16 Nations in the Great Plans are Treaty Tribes. GPTCA provides a forum for sharing information on matters of interest to its member Nations, promotes treaty rights, Indian self-determination and self-sufficiency. GPTCA provides public relations with and education for the non-Indian community.

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