The statewide election for superintendent of public instruction pits Elaine Sollie Herman, a Republican, against Denise Juneau, a Democrat and enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes.
Herman has been criticized for a recent Internet message posted under her name on the Web site MeetUp.com, which encourages people to abandon their computer keyboards and meet face-to-face on interests ranging from knitting and independent films to political views.
Here is the post:
“I am in MT running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. I am asking for HELP from young concervative (sic) Bloggers. My web site is: electelainesollieherman.com. ‘I live in the ‘Peoples Republic of Helena.' My opposition is a young Indian.”
Left in the West: “Help! The young Indians are coming.”
Indn's List, Indigenous Democratic Network: “A young Indian--Republican says that's a bad thing.”
The Daily Kos: “We'd object if McCain said ‘Contribute to my campaign. I'm running against a young black man,' and we should object to Herman's words, too.”
Herman said she doesn't understand the negative reaction.
“Whoever is bringing an issue to it must be a racist, in themselves, to be saying that ‘Indian' is a problem, you know?” she said. “There is Indian education. And my opponent is an Indian. You could write, ‘old black,' or ‘old white lady.' I am old. And I am white.”