Cherokee Nation Chief Denounces Scott Brown’s ‘Racist’ Staffers

The Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation denounced Scott Brown staffers for making "war whoops" and tomahawk chops in a YouTube video which mocked the Native American heritage of Brown's opponent Elizabeth Warren, Think Progress reports:

Brownstaffer“The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse,” said Chief Bill John Baker in his statement, “The use of stereotypical ‘war whoop chants’ and ‘tomahawk chops’ are offensive and downright racist.”

Baker called on Brown to “apologize for the offensive actions of his staff and their uneducated, unenlightened and racist portrayal of native peoples,” and said, “A campaign that would allow and condone such offensive and racist behavior must be called to task for their actions.”

Elizabeth Warren Responds to Scott Brown's Attacks on Her Race: VIDEO [tlrd]
Brown Staffers Mock Elizabeth Warren with Native American War Whoops, Tomahawk Chops: VIDEO [tlrd]


  1. Rick says

    Oh, please. Go to a home football game at Florida State and you will see and hear 70,000+ people doing the tomahawk chop and war chants in unison….and they do so with the blessing of the Seminole tribe, itself.

    These guys were simply making fun of a white woman trying to claim she is a minority for purposes of political gain in a liberal state.

    And frankly, for gay people to continually oppose vigorously the man who broke the logjam on DADT repeal by being the first Republican in Congress to support it is not only to demonstrate incredible ingratitude, but political stupidity as well.

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    “….and they do so with the blessing of the Seminole tribe, itself.”

    Prove it.

    “These guys were simply making fun of a white woman trying to claim she is a minority for purposes of political gain in a liberal state.”

    Then why didn’t the issue come up during the campaign until the Republicans brought it up?

    I think about 2 or 3 weeks ago you said that Warren would loose. It wasn’t Boston’s own Ratbastard who said it. It was you. Well, we’ll see.

  3. Caliban says

    Here is a photo of Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Bill John Baker.

    You’ll notice that he doesn’t have long black hair in a ponytail or wear turquoise jewelry. A feathered head-dress would definitely clash with his CEO look and dress. He looks no less “anglo” than Elizabeth Warren. His name isn’t “Running Deer” or any other stereotypical name Scott Brown might have gotten from watching The Lone Ranger. Yet he is the CHIEF of the Cherokee Nation. See how STUPID it is that Scott Brown can point at Warren and say “Look at her! She doesn’t have Native American ancestors!”

    This gathering of Brown’s supporters was an embarrassment.

  4. Pete N SFO says

    What the Chief says is correct. In Politics, you always have to consider context. That’s the rule… Don’t like it, don’t get in that game.

    Brown was happily enjoying the issue until it started to backfire as Warren basically ‘owned it'; she does have heritage, plain & simple.

    Now that his staff has created an explosion, they should just own it and try and move on.

  5. AB says

    Rick, a lot of people find the Seminole fans (and the braves fans) doing that to be offensive, but at least they aren’t doing as mockery and out of malice.

    Further, what gain does claiming Native heritage give Warren? Is it an automatic ticket to election? Judging by the enormous numbers of Natives in Congress, you’re undoubtedly right.

    It’s not OK to use racist caricatures and stereotypes regardless of who you’re trying to make fun of. These staffers were way out of line, and its clear that Brown doesn’t care. That says a lot about him.

  6. RJP3 says

    Well the Seminole Tribe is well in bed with the Florida state government for BILLIONS in gambling revenue…. what is a little humiliation for their ancestors by college students …. and it is a different tribe.

    Beyond that — the lie that she used her minority status for political advantage is a lie. She never mentioned it. The Right Wing Propoganda rag the Boston Herald has made an false smear issue out of it — to help their candidate. Reality check.

  7. Rick says

    @Caliban You are demonstrating your own ignorance of Native American culture. There is tremendous diversity among the different tribes–some are more traditional (and do use traditional names of the sort that you ridiculed) and some do incorporate elements of traditional attire into their daily dress….and certainly use it ceremonially.

    Going to the great lenghths that some of you white boys do to be perfectly politically correct when it comes to racial minorities often just makes you look ridiculous, as in this instance.

    And again, if you kneejerk liberals are going to attack every Republican who supports us on an issue as soon as any Democrat challenges him or her in a re-election bid, the message they are going to take with them from that is that there is no point in taking the political risk of bucking their own party’s maajority to support gay rights because the gay community will show no appreciation whatsoever for it and will stab them in the back at the first opportunity.

    And that will, in turn, practically guarantee that any gay rights legislation going forward will be doomed to defeat because none of it ever passes without at least some Republican support.

    But then again, the stupidity that has characterized the gay Far Left for a couple of decades now seems as limitless as it is unfathomable.


    Rick (1/8th Cherokee)

  8. Rick says

    “Further, what gain does claiming Native heritage give Warren?”

    In liberal Massachusetts, the same advantage that being black gives Obama. It makes a lot of white people feel good to vote for a “minority”……

  9. Derrick from Philly says

    Read the article, Rick. Does the Tribal Council in Florida speak for the rank-n-file folks? And how do young Seminoles feel when those silly college kids start singing that stupid Hollywood creation of “Indian war music”?

  10. Caliban says

    Rick, as usual you’re wrong. It’s almost amazing how you beat the odds and don’t even manage to meet the accuracy level of a stopped clock. That takes a special skill.

    There is no way you can look at another person and say if they do or don’t have Native American heritage, particularly when it’s more than one generation removed. I don’t know if Elizabeth Warren has that heritage or not. I believe SHE believed it, based on stories her mother told her as a child. It also seems to be true that father’s parents believed it too and held it against her mother.

    And the truth is it doesn’t really MATTER if Elizabeth Warren does or doesn’t have a Native American heritage because she NEVER exploited it for educational or financial gain!

  11. Mikemike says

    Oops. This ridiculous attack was the best he had and they overplayed it to the point where people will tune it out.

    Worse, this has yet again exposed the plain and simple nastiness of the GOP base. The “Massachusetts moderate” thought he could play his “nice guy” routine until November, but, as with Romney, the mask slipped a bit too soon.

  12. Yupp says

    JHT : We can believe, basically, NOTHING on these stupid blogs anyway, as far as personal claims go (even with photographs) so….isn’t that kinda, neither here nor there ? (I get your point, though)..

  13. ratbastard says

    This is of course beyond silly. As for the chief, that he’d side with the ‘progressive’ Dem is not a surprise; he knows what side his bread is buttered.

    The chief should be busy dealing with the TERRIBLE social problems and crime on tribal land and reservations. Many tribes have been heavily infiltrated and controlled by sophisticated organized crime syndicates.

  14. Mark says

    Ms. Warren should notify Scott Brown’s campaign, he can have four racist staffers, or he can have 3 more debates…he doesn’t get BOTH. he also has to make a public UNCONDITIONAL Apology to Ms. Warren and her family.

  15. kipp says

    Does Andy live in Massachusetts? I’m not sure why the Brown/Warren senate race is so newsworthy (apart from the senate balance of power – but that is determined in more than just the race in Massachusettes).

    It’s pretty obvious to anyone with a little perspective that:

    1) Elizabeth Warren did claim Native American heritage is contexts in which doing so was improper and it’s difficult to believe such behavior was not, at least partially, motivated by the possible advantages she might have accrued. That she didn’t gain from her claim is secondary to the issue that she made it in the first place. My family too claims my great-great grandma was an Indian – but I would never think checking the ‘Native American’ box on an ethnicity form was appropriate. Someone as smart as Warren would have known better.

    2) Scott Brown’s staffers are jackasses who are doing a great job turning a valid, but trivial, talking point about their opponent into fodder for Warren’s campaign.

    3) Sanctimony *thrives* at Towleroad.

  16. Thomas says

    First off, I’m half Onondaga. I don’t care what the Seminoles condone, I find tomahawk chops incredibly offensive. Assuming all native people are of the same mindset is like asking a a German why his people wear berets and eat escargot.

  17. Yupp says

    Thomas : The differences between Native American tribes can easily be compared to the European nations (including the wars they fought against each other). Too mny people don’t realize that.

  18. Rick says

    “Assuming all native people are of the same mindset is like asking a a German why his people wear berets and eat escargot”

    Ergo, my point above, Thomas. The point about FSU is that the Seminoles are perfectly fine with themselves being portrayed as warriors, with all the positive traits that implies regarding courage and manliness.

    Other tribes might not be fine with it.

    Just as some tribes might consider dressing up in feather bonnets for a pow-wow to be ridiculous–and being portrayed wearing such traditional dress by the media as demeaning, whereas other tribes consider it the continuation of a proud tradition, at least in certain contexts.

    I asked a full-blooded Native American classmate of mine in grad school what he thought of that term and what her preferred to be called and he pointed out that that term was just as historically inaccurate as American Indian (since the people it refers to were descended from Asian migrants) and so he really did not care one way or the other.

    The point is that throwing around the term “racist” so casually, as the political Left in America does with such regularity, is irresponsible.

    I think what Brown’s aides did was pretty silly, but I don’t think it was motivated by hostility to Native Americans….as I said, I think they were just making fun of Ms. Warren’s bogus claims to be a “minority” for the sake of political gain.

  19. epic says

    here it is nice and simple for you, if you think Elizabeth Warren has used her native ancestry to “get ahead”, you are not only an idiot, you are also a racist bigot for agreeing with insulting campaign…and the really sad part is that it doesn’t even really insult Mrs. Warren, it insults all minorities who are discriminated against, it insults intelligence, and most of all it insults common decency.

    Anyone feeling the need to justify or agree with this is not only part of the problem you are guilty by association, if you are comfortable judging others simply by skin color or geography you are substandard human beings, and I abhor the cruelty you heap upon others because of your obvious insecurities, you are everything that is wrong with society, I usually want to help the mentally/emotionally disadvantaged…I’m just too damn tired to care about your silly little problems

  20. sugarrhill says

    Wow, the trolls are out in full force today.


    1. You’re lying. You’re embracing rumor as fact.

    2. No one cares about this Native American flap, only Brown’s campaign because they think it has traction because they have nothing else to combat Warren. Anyone that is basing their decision on this has already made up their mind about Warren. They either don’t care or are trying to convince others that is should matter when it doesn’t.

    3. There is a difference from calling Warren a liar and mocking her with the
    use of stereotypical and racist war whoop chants and tomahawk chops.

  21. kipp says


    Not everyone who disagrees with you is a liar or a troll.

    I’ve likely been reading this blog longer than you have (not that it matters). I tend not to comment much because of low quality of the discussion.

    Elizabeth Warren listed herself as Native American in the AALS directory for over 10 years. Google it.

    My family has always said my paternal great-great grandmother was a Choctaw Indian. I am not ashamed of whatever NA ancestry I may have – but that ancestry doesn’t make me a “Native American web developer.”

    I would respect Warren if she merely acknowledged the past indiscretion while emphasizing its triviality. Instead, her campaign is trying to frame the issue as an attack on Native American ancestry rather than a criticism of her past (dubious?) (expedient?) claims of being a minority.

    Browns staffers are jackasses, as I said before. I case you’re wondering, my definition of jackass generally includes the qualities of being racially insensitive and generally offensive.

  22. millerbeach says

    Wow…I finally agree with “Rick”…nope, you sure don’t talk out of your hat. It’s a different orifice of which you speak out of, and it’s not the pretty orifice.

  23. Diogenes Arktos says

    @Derrick from Philly: some of the youth in the tribes think that the political correctness of their elders is inappropriate in this day and age – especially as regards sports teams

Leave A Reply