November 28, 2017

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye told CNN on Tuesday that he believed President Trump’s use of the name “Pocahontas” to refer to Sen. Elizabeth Warren is an ethnic slur.

Alisyn Camerota, the co-host of CNN's News Day brought on Sonny Skyhawk and Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye to discuss Trump's latest debacle.

Camerota explained that Begaye was in the room when Trump used a racial slur to demean Sen. Warren during the ceremony honoring the Navajo code talkers and asked what his response was.

Russell Begaye said, “This was a day when the Code Talkers were being honored. They’re war heroes that helped put an end to the war. We are enjoying freedom today as it is because of their work, because of what they did, their sacrifices. Some of them did not return. Some of those that were there with us in the oval office yesterday, they were injured there on the islands when they were there in the campaign.”

He continued, "So this was a day to honor them, and to insert something like that, the word Pocahontas as a jab to a Senator. You know, that belongs on the campaign trail. It doesn’t belong in the room when our war heroes are being honored.”

Begaye was glad the White House made this gesture but then said inserting that name was "uncalled for."

He also said we need to honor these war heroes in any environment.

Camerota asked, "You thought it was unnecessary?"

He replied, "It was unnecessary."

Camerota asked, "Do you see it as an ethnic slur?"

Begaye replied, "I feel that the way it was used, yes, it was - because now Pocahontas is a real person. It’s not a caricature, it’s not someone, something that’s just made up. This is a person, a young lady, a Native American woman that played a critical role in the life of this nation, and to use that person in that way, you know, is unnecessary and it’s being culturally insensitive.”

I'm sure Sarah Huckabee Sanders would tell him that's he's mistaken and using the name Pocahontas the way her boss did was not a racial slur or insensitive.

She would know, after all, she's the expert on Native American cultural studies.

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