One of the bigger political stories during what has been a quiet week on the East Coast was the news out of Massachusetts that supporters of Republican Sen. Scott Brown mocked challenger Elizabeth Warren with “war whoops” and made “tomahawk chops,” according to Indian Country Today.
Warren’s ancestry became a campaign issue after it was revealed that Harvard University touted her as a Native American, though it’s said it had nothing to do with their decision to hire her. Warren has said she identified herself as a minority not to gain any advantage but to help share her heritage.
Anyway, here’s a video of the chanting:
Why do I bring it up here? Aside from the parallels between Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, Sen. Daniel Akaka chairs the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
His office declined to comment directly on Brown’s supporter’s actions, but provided a link to a hearing the committee held in May 2011 on “The Impact of Racist Stereotypes on Indigenous People.”
Here’s part of Akaka’s opening statement:
The effects of institutional stereotypes go beyond having a symbol around which to rally team spirit or to provide entertainment. This is not an issue about people being offended. Our hearing is about the real harm that is done to all people, Native and non-Native alike, when mascots, movies and images reinforce the stereotypes and lines that divide rather than unite us.
— Michael Levine