Republican Congressman’s Disrespectful Comment About Native Americans Stuns Local Tribes

rep-paul-gosarWhile 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.



Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Eg Kbbs

    Not sure if it isn’t worse that he said this while not intending to cause offense as it shows a total lack of respect (yet he can’t see why).

    • John Hickman

      Are you really surprised when you look at the variety of conservatives we have developed these days?

      • Smarie62

        No, not surprised at all.

  • Avatar

    When congressman refused to elaborate any further and burden the questions on his/her own aides, it signals that certain aforementioned congressman aren’t interested at doing his job which is to work for real Americans, an original Americans, the natives.

    Not so subtlety, Gosar.

  • JanMutcher

    Its the whole (fingers in ears) la, la, la if I don’t acknowledge you as a full citizen, it makes it easier to run roughshod over you and your rights.. Meaning, if you are Indian, Black, Latino or women, don’t count on equal treatment, because if it’s not to our advantage, you don’t exist.

  • Scott E. Starr

    Um, well, sadly, as a Native American and Native American Studies student, I can definitively say he’s technically correct. The U.S has Native Americans
    cross- listed as sovereign nations and also as domestic dependent
    nations. Not only is that a contradiction, but the U.S. also has
    plenary (universal) power over tribes. That’s why our tribes always
    lose against Uncle Sam even when they win. You guys don’t now this stuff? Nobody knows the government’s power and over-reach better than us Indians. This guy is still a tool though.

    • Brandi Royal

      I’m Native American too but it’s e way he said it that’s offensive

      • Mark Schmidt

        They never did think we are people and it seems that has not changed a bit.

    • Marilyn Olsen Scheffler

      That’s really sad to hear and I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know about that.

  • Mark Schmidt

    The contempt for Native Americans is prevalent in the western US…this guy is not as bad as some. I have no faith remaining in this country any more…getting worse by the week.

  • Marilyn Olsen Scheffler

    Well, for one thing he is from Arizona which kind of is a clue about how he feels about anyone who isn’t white! I can’t tolerate anyone who make disparaging remarks about another race anyway and it’s usually republicans that do it.

  • sherry06053

    What he said is typically ugly of this country’s southern republicans. In contrast, I would like to hold up CT’s Pequat’s and Mohegan’s casinos as examples of revenge. Although very small in comparison to the horrors that our ancestors put them through, what better way, in modern times, to get some gratification and validation than to soak up our gambling dollars? Unfortunately, other states nearby are contemplating their gambling laws, but Foxwoods is one of the biggest in the country and Mohegan Sun is huge, too. And I’m GLAD!

  • Rose Bounds

    The fact that he’s right is entirely more offensive than the fact that he said it. Are we upset because we hate hearing the truth? As a Native, I do not find his comments as offensive as the reality in which they are based. Although that certainly doesn’t excuse the guy from being the obviously insensitive jackass, he revealed himself to be.

  • mike46

    ” built upon the enslavement of one race ” I didn’t know that we enslaved the entire black race. Nor did I know that blacks were the only race enslaved. Apparently all those white indentured servants (slaves) didn’t count.