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Trump makes string of racist comments about Native Americans during attack on Elizabeth Warren

Trump makes string of racist comments about Native Americans during attack on Elizabeth Warren

Speaking at a rally in Las Vegas, Donald Trump has claimed that Elizabeth Warren believed she was an “Indian” because she had “high cheekbones”, again dubbing her “Pocahontas“ in a mocking reference to her previous claims that she was of Native American heritage. 

Later, again referring to her as Pocahontas, he called Ms Warren “mean” after her performance in Wednesday’s Democratic primary debate in which she energetically confronted several of her rival presidential candidates.

Mr Trump has previously been called racist by Native American leaders for calling Ms Warren Pocahontas and referring to native Americans as “Indians”, yet he keeps returning to it at campaign rallies. 

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He has also been called out for twice making jokes on Twitter involving historical incidents of genocide against Native American people.

In February 2019, in a tweet about Ms Warren joining the presidential race, he signed off with “Welcome to the campaign TRAIL, Liz!” This was widely interpreted as a reference to the Trail of Tears, a series of forced government relocations of Native Americans in the 1830s that led to countless deaths.

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His son, Donald Trump Jr even responded on Instagram with a post using the word “savage” — described at the time as either “shockingly tone deaf — or a chilling deliberate choice.”

Just a month before that, the president, in another tweet aimed at Ms Warren, referred to Wounded Knee in South Dakota, the site of the 1890 massacre of hundreds of unarmed Native Americans by American troops.

For her part, Ms Warren was criticised for referring to her Native American heritage. A DNA test showed that she had Native American ancestry, but a spokesperson for the Cherokee Nation said that being a tribal citizen is “rooted in centuries of culture and laws, not through DNA.”

Ms Warren has apologised to the Cherokee Nation.

In December, 2019, Mr Trump signed three pieces of legislation that positively affect Native Americans. The three bills include compensation to the Spokane tribe for the loss of their lands in the mid-1900s; reauthorisation of funding for Native language programmes; and federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana.

In a statement the president said: “We remain committed to preserving and protecting Native American cultures, languages, and history, while ensuring prosperity and opportunity for all Native Americans.” 

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