In his new children’s book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, President Obama describes, ostensibly for the edification of First Daughters, 13 pioneering figures from American history. Among the usual suspects are Albert Einstein, Jackie Robinson, and Neil Armstrong. Sitting Bull also gets an entry; Obama describes the Sioux chief as a “medicine man who healed broken hearts and broken promises.” The President goes on to observe, “Though he was put in prison, his spirit soared free on the plains, and his wisdom touched the generations.”
It’s heartwarming, but far from surprising, that the United States’ first multi-racial president would cast a wider ethnic net when choosing American heroes. It’s also far from surprising that the vehemently partisan Fox News would casually misuse Indian history in its attack du jour on this President. “Obama Praises Indian Chief Who Killed Custer” read Tuesday’s headline at Fox Nation (it has since been changed to “defeated”).
While it’s sad that Fox News would get its facts wrong (Sitting Bull did not participate in the Battle of Little Big Horn), it’s sadder still that the network so callously uses the Native American story as a tool in its continuous war on the President. Fox News doesn’t really care about Sitting Bull and Custer; in fact, just inches from the text of the story sits a link that comically declares “Fox Nation Salutes: November Marks Native American Heritage Month.”