Navajo Nation calls Trump's 'Pocahontas' jab insensitive, inappropriate | KOB 4
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Navajo Nation calls Trump's 'Pocahontas' jab insensitive, inappropriate

Meg Hilling
November 28, 2017 07:18 PM

FARMINGTON, N.M. -- The Navajo Code Talkers are a national treasure, but a ceremony meant to honor those veterans this week took a sour turn.

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President Donald Trump took a moment to make what many are calling a poorly timed and insensitive comment about a Democratic lawmaker.

"I just want to thank you because you're very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here," Trump said. "Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you because you are special."

It didn't take long for Trump to receive some serious backlash for that comment directed at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Warren has previously said she has Native American lineage. This statement has been debated on a number of occasions by various politicians.

Within hours, the president and the vice president of the Navajo Nation released statements condemning trump's comment as "insensitive" and "inappropriate."

"This is where we are honoring and respecting our veterans, especially our Code Talkers. And to put in a slur that has become racial -- Pocahontas didn't belong there -- it was inappropriate. It was not the time to do it. It wasn't the place to do it," President Russell Begaye of the Navajo nation said on MSNBC Tuesday.

MORE: Trump's 'Pocahontas' remark draws sharp criticism in New Mexico

But the backlash doesn't end there. On the Navajo Nation and throughout much of the United States, people took to social media to express frustration with the comment. Some writing "uncalled for," others saying "a racial slur seriously."

In New Mexico, the Native American Center at San Juan College looks to remind people of the importance of recognizing the Native American cultures in their communities.

"I think there is an incredible opportunity here in New Mexico -- for not only lawmakers but, you know just residents of New Mexico -- to learn about what history exists within their communities, what indigenous cultures exist, what Native American cultures exist, " Byron Tsabetsaye with San Juan College Native American Center said.

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Meg Hilling

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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