President Donald Trump has provoked the ire of Native Americans once again by using a meeting meant to honor Native World War Two veterans as an occasion to joke that there is a “Pocahontas” in the U.S. Congress, an apparent slur against Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
After listening to one veteran speak at length about his experience as a “Navajo code talker” during the war, Trump heaped praise on the veterans and said he would not give prepared remarks himself.
“You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump said. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”
As Trump spoke, the veterans stared at him silently in a manner suggesting bemusement. The “joke” had clearly fallen flat, causing the U.S. leader to place his hand on the shoulder of one of the veterans and say: “But you know what – I like you.”
To add insult to injury, the ceremony took place before a portrait of a glaring President Andrew Jackson, who was a fervent advocate and executor of genocidal policies toward the Native peoples of the United States.
During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly mocked Warren as “Pocahontas” in reference to past claims by the representative that she had Native American ancestry.
“Pocahontas” was the name of a famous 17th-century Native American young woman who was the daughter of Powhatan chief Wahunsenaca. As a teenager, Pocahontas’ husband was murdered and she was kidnapped by the English colonizers and subjected to repeated acts of sexual violence and rape. At the time, Native women were sexually targeted in masses by English colonists.
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