May 16, 2015

Rep. Sanchez makes "war whoop"

Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez appears to disparage American Indians

At California Democratic Party convention, Senate candidate makes whooping gesture Attorney General Kamala Harris calls it ‘shocking’ Sanchez would not say if gesture was an appropriate one

By Christopher Cadelago and David Siders
Two days after entering the race for the U.S. Senate, Rep. Loretta Sanchez met with an Indian American group on Saturday and mimicked a racial stereotype of American Indians.

In a video shown to The Sacramento Bee and posted online shortly after, Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, describes a pending meeting she had with an East Indian.

“I am going to his office, thinking that I am going to meet with a,” she said, holding her hand in front of her mouth and making an echo sound. “Right? ... because he said Indian American.

“And I go in there and it was great. It was just great because he said ‘I want to get my community involved.’ Involved. And that was the first time that we saw the Indian American community really come. ...”

Kamala Harris calls Loretta Sanchez's Native American 'war cry' shocking

By Peter JamisonU.S. Senate candidate and Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris was at a loss for words Saturday when told that her principal opponent, U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Santa Ana, had been videotaped making a joke about the difference between Indian Americans and Native Americans in which she tapped her hand to her mouth in imitation of a "war cry."

"I don’t know what to say to that. That–that–that’s shocking," Harris said, raising her eyebrows in disbelief when the comments were shared with her after an afternoon news conference. "That’s shocking," she repeated.

Sanchez made the controversial comments while speaking to the Indian-American caucus at a restaurant near the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday. A video of her gaffe made the rounds on Twitter and YouTube and quickly became the talk of the California Democratic Convention and wasn't helped by the curious explanation Sanchez offered after the fact.

She said the joke concerned her confusion over whether a potential campaign supporter she spoke to on the phone was Native American or Indian American.
Senate candidate apologises for Native American 'war cry' in California

By Jon SwaineA California congresswoman has been sharply criticised for making a stereotypical “war cry” sound when referring to Native Americans at a political meeting.

Loretta Sanchez, a candidate for the Democratic nomination in next year’s open US Senate race in California, was recorded on a cellphone video tapping her hand over her open mouth while whooping, during a talk at the California Democratic Party convention on Saturday. On Sunday, she apologised.

Speaking to delegates, the 10-term congresswoman said she had said something offensive “and for that I sincerely apologise.”

Sanchez defended her record on civil rights, human rights and Native American rights. She also said American Indians had “a great presence in our country and many of them are supporting our election.”
Congresswoman First Dodges Reporters, Then Apologizes for Making Indian 'War Whoop'

By Simon Moya-SmithThe man who filmed Sanchez said people in the room were taken aback by Sanchez's offensive gesture.

“I was shocked and appalled that she’d make the disparaging comments about Native Americans that way,” Uduak-Joe Ntuke of Long Beach, California told NBC Sacramento affiliate KCRA.

Joe Horse Capture, who is A’aninin and based in Washington, D.C., told ICTMN he finds it concerning that a congresswoman who wishes to represent a state with a large Native American population lacks “the basic understanding of Native American culture – what is appropriate and what is inappropriate.”

Horse Capture said Sanchez’s claim that she is part Native American is trite, since many who are caught offending Native Americans later claim to have some indigenous North American heritage.

“And what people often do when they find themselves in a culturally inappropriate circumstance is they claim that they‘re Native American,” Horse Capture said. “Of course if she were actually tied to her Native American culture and practiced her heritage she would know better.”
Below:  Kamala Harris.

Indians aren't amused

POLITICS: Inland Native American leaders outraged at Loretta Sanchez's ‘war cry'

By David Olson“We are deeply disappointed that a ten-term Member of Congress and a candidate for U.S. Senate in a state as diverse as California would demonstrate such poor judgment and deeply offensive behavior,” Lynn Valbuena, chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, said in a statement.

“In one of our state’s highest offices, the people of California deserve a Senator who is a leader on issues of equality; and we expect that the sincerity of Ms. Sanchez's apology will be evident in her future conduct should her campaign move forward. We would expect that Ms. Sanchez, who claims Native American ancestry, will demonstrate greater respect for California’s native people and join us to denounce stereotyping in all forms.”

Mary Ann Andreas, chairwoman of the California Democratic Party’s Native American Caucus and former chairwoman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, said in a statement released with other officials from the caucus that “recent comments and mimicking of a cliché Indian war cry can only be described as insensitive and insulting.”

Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, told the Los Angeles Times in an email Sunday that Sanchez “knows better, and we are very disappointed.”
'War cry' gaffe may deter donations to Loretta Sanchez's campaign

By Michael FinneganFor Sanchez, a 10-term congresswoman who has never run for statewide office, the main problem now will be less with voters than with potential donors. Her campaign could require $20 million or more, all of it in donations of no more than $2,700, the federal limit.

Harris, who romped to reelection in November, has a head start in fundraising and endorsements, along with the experience of running twice for statewide office—all of which effectively makes her an early front-runner, said Rose Kapolczynski, who managed Boxer's four Senate campaigns.

"There's a flow in a primary," said Kapolczynski, who is unaligned in next year's Senate contest. "As the front-runner gains support, support begets support. Support begets money. Money begets money. And Loretta needs to disrupt that dynamic in order to have a chance."

Pechanga Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro hinted Sunday that Sanchez's remark had harmed her longstanding ties with Native Americans, a major source of money in state and federal campaigns.
Nobody's perfect

Neither Sanchez nor Harris is perfect when it comes to Native issues:

Statement Concerning California Senate Candidates From Democratic Party Native American Caucus Chairwoman Mary Ann Andreas, Vice Chairman Andrew Maisel and Board MembersThe California Democratic Party Native American Caucus has deep concerns regarding the actions of both declared candidates running for Senate in California.

We are dismayed by the lack of sensitivity to tribal issues and to Native Americans as individuals that we see in our announced candidates. Their comments and actions provide little assurance that they grasp the government-to-government relationship guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

In the case of U.S. Representative and candidate Loretta Sanchez, her recent comments and mimicking of a cliché Indian war cry can only be described as insensitive and insulting. The remarks were made at a private meeting not a Native American Caucus event as reported by members of the media. However, these comments coming from a longtime friend makes it doubly difficult.

In the case of candidate Kamala Harris, she has chosen to ignore the federal policy and legal findings of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Interior in a case concerning California lands held by the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT). Despite existing federal policy, without any effort to discuss the issue with CRIT and without concern to the facts, Attorney General Harris filed an amicus brief supporting an individual trespassing on tribal lands who refused to pay rent to the tribe. This person is suing the tribe because he was evicted from the land on which he was squatting.

California has benefitted from the presence and activism of Senator Barbara Boxer in her distinguished career in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. The interests of all Californians, especially Native Americans, have been well served by her genuine efforts to learn about the first Americans and then to fight for their basic rights of self governance and self determination.

We are disappointed in the apparent lack of sensitivity and awareness that our current Senate candidates have for Native Americans. We extend an invitation to both Ms. Sanchez and Ms. Harris to personally meet with our California Native American Caucus and tribal leaders. They both should treat this as a learning opportunity and begin learning our history, our cultures and our issues. Without such an effort, we cannot expect informed decision-making and fair representation.
In her Native Appropriations blog, Adrienne Keene rightly links the recent gaffes by Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, and Loretta Sanchez:

When you’re invisible, every representation matters: Political edition

By Adrienne K.In an oft-repeated refrain on le blog, I say again: How can we expect support for our sovereignty, our tribally controlled schools, healthcare, and housing, our environmental concerns, our children, our women, our elders, or our land if 90% of America, including our government officials, only see us as these narrow stereotypes? When you’re invisible in society (which carries through to congress–only 2 Native people in the 115th congress), every representation matters. Clearly, our politicians aren’t immune to these deep-seated stereotypes, and this isn’t something minor that can just be shrugged off. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer the leader of the United States not blatantly frame Native peoples as the “bad guys” before he/she even steps into office.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Brown Staffers Whoop and Chop and Whooping "Indians" at 2011 Stanford Powwow.

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