While there’s often plenty of controversial debate when it comes to race relations between whites and African-Americans, you really don’t see a whole lot of discussion when it comes to how we treat Native Americans. Because while slavery often makes the headlines as one of the most horrific acts we’ve ever committed in this country, it can be argued that the history of our treatment of Native Americans is just as bad or even worse. As the popular Internet meme says, this nation was built upon the enslavement of one race and the genocide of another.
And while it’s sadly not uncommon to see a politician make some kind of derogatory comments about African-Americans, it’s rare you’ll see any politician even remotely say anything controversial about Native Americans.
Well, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) did just that during a discussion about a controversial plan that would pave the way for the country’s largest copper mine.
Apparently as Phil Stago of the White Mountain Apache Tribe voiced concerns over the proposal, Gosar belittled Native Americans by referring to them as “wards of the federal government,” claiming the government still has control over much of what they do.
“He kind of revealed the truth, the true deep feeling of the federal government: ‘Tribes, you can call yourselves sovereign nations, but when it comes down to the final test, you’re not really sovereign because we still have plenary authority over you,'” said Stago.
Naturally, the congressman has refused to elaborate further on what he meant by his comments, only stating through his spokesman Steven Smith that it was not the intent of the congressman to offend Native Americans.
Though I’m not sure how one would go about spinning a reference to Native Americans as “wards of the federal government” into any sort of positive compliment. It’s one of those statements that is fairly self-explanatory – there’s not a whole lot of leeway there.
But then again, is anyone really shocked to see a Republican make some sort of insensitive or offensive remark toward a minority group? That’s the sad state of affairs for the GOP nowadays. I’m not even sure if you can still refer to it as “headline news” for someone from their party to say something blatantly offensive about minorities.
Though I can’t wait to see conservatives who might read this article try to defend Gosar’s pathetic comments.