Sen. Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) issued an apology on Wednesday for a video of his staffers making war whoops and performing tomahawk chops during a recent rally, reported the Associated Press. They were mocking Elizabeth Warren for claiming Native American heritage.
Brown reprimanded his aides: They have been given their “one and only warning that this type of conduct will not be tolerated,” he said.
“Senator Brown has spoken to his entire staff—including the individuals involved in this unacceptable behavior—and issued them their one and only warning that this type of conduct will not be tolerated,” Brown spokeswoman Alleigh Marre said in a statement. “As we enter the final stretch of this campaign, emotions are running high, and while Senator Brown can’t control everyone, he is encouraging both sides to act with respect. He regrets that members of his staff did not live up to the high standards that the people of Massachusetts expect and deserve.”
His apology comes on the tails of criticism throughout Indian country of Brown’s campaign perpetuating offensive stereotypes of American Indians.
Yesterday the National Center for American Indians (NCAI) released a statement calling the video of Brown’s staffers “extremely disgusting.” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker also issued a statement requesting an apology from Brown. Baker labeled the video degrading and “downright racist.” Baker was a delegate to this year’s Democratic National Convention.
While the NCAI condemned Brown for making false claims—such as “referring to someone’s skin color as an indicator for Native American identity”—the organization also cast blame on Warren for neglecting to speak with American Indian press.
Warren’s campaign has not respond to any requests for interviews from American Indian media, which “could have gone a long way to reducing tension and increasing awareness,” said NCAI Executive Director Jacqueline Pata.
On multiple occasions, Indian Country Today Media Network has requested interviews with Warren. While she has continued to do interviews with the mainstream and local press, including national appearances on MSNBC, Warren still avoids American Indian press, thus allowing public misconception about Native identity to be perpetually misrepresented. See: Elizabeth Warren Avoids American Indian Media.