Published February 11, 2017
WASHINGTON – Picking up where he left off on the campaign trial, President Trump on Thursday referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) as “Pocahontas” during a meeting that had absolutely nothing to do with the president injecting Warren into the conversation.
To the dismay of American Indians, Trump once again used Pocahontas’ name as an insult towards Sen. Warren.
On Thursday, Trump referenced Warren being silenced by the Republican-led U.S. Senate while she attempted to read a 1986 letter written by Coretta Scott King, the late widow of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. According to Politico, “Trump referred to Warren several times as ‘Pocahontas,’ the moniker he gave her during his campaign, and told the Democrats he was glad Warren is becoming the face of ‘your party.’”
Trump feels Warren is vulnerable because she used American Indian heritage on some application forms when seeking employment in academia years ago. It was brought up during her 2012 senate campaign.
Last summer when candidate called Warren “Pocahontas” one critic of Trump was Irene Bedard, whose voice was heard by millions when she gave voice to Pocahontas’ character in Disney’s 1995 blockbuster animated film, “Pocahontas.” Bedard is an award-winning actress, who is also known for her roles in “Into the West,” “Tree of Life” and “Smoke Signals.”
To Bedard, the fact Trump uses Warren’s claiming of American Indian heritage as a classic misdirect.
“I am not overly concerned about Warren claiming American Indian heritage. I think this should be about Trump using Pocahontas in his name-calling. Trump doesn’t have a great history with Native America. Back during his casino days, he went to Capitol Hill and stated once Native Americans are involved, so is organized crime and the Native Americans involved don’t look like Indians to me,’” says Bedard, who is now president of the Sleeping Lady Films.
“It’s not that I don’t care about Elizabeth Warren and what she did. I give to her that at least she respects Native American people and causes and women. It’s just that that isn’t the issue at hand. Believe me, appropriation is a whole other can of worms. But we are talking about the presidency. And this is not the appropriate discourse the leader of the leader of the ‘free world.’”
Trump’s continued referring to Warren as Pocahontas now that he is president is done to the aggravation to American Indians.
Kevin Gover (Pawnee), the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and former assistant secretary of the Interior – Indian Affairs, shared the following post on his Facebook page on Saturday:
“Pocahontas persists. The Smithsonian Channel this year will broadcast a program on Pocahontas proposed by the National Museum of the American Indian. She remains embedded in the national memory. The popular culture over four centuries has created an imaginary Pocahontas. We think people should know about the real one.”
American Indian attorney Mary Kathryn Nagle (Cherokee) shared her sentiments on MSNBC:
“Trump’s inability to discern the difference between Sen. Warren and Pocahontas is no accident. Instead, his attack on her native identity reflects a dominant American culture that has made every effort to diminish native women to nothing other than a fantastical, oversexualized, Disney character.”