Thursday, May 07 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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brian_cladoosby-ncai-bw-web.jpgWASHINGTON, D.C. – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's comparisons of Islamic terrorism to the cowboys and Indians stereotype drew fire from the National Congress of American Indians on May 7.

In his presidential run announcement on May 5, Huckabee said, “When I hear our current president say he wants Christians to get off their high horse so we can make nice with radical jihadists, I wonder if he can watch a western from the ‘50s and be able to figure out who the good guys and the bad guys really are.”

NCAI President Brian Cladoosby released the following response in reaction to Governor Mike Huckabee’s quote: “This week I learned about Governor Huckabee’s speech announcing his candidacy for U.S. President and was dismayed to hear him compare Native Americans to jihadists.”

“There are many things we have left behind from the 1950’s, including overt racism and sexism. We hope that the old trope of the Indians as the bad guys in Western movies is also left behind. It is hurtful when public officials use stereotypes of Indians as the 'bad guys.' Even if it is a metaphorical expression, racial stereotypes should be avoided. It is particularly hurtful to suggest that Americans should reflexively identify images of Native people defending our homelands as the 'bad guys.'”

Eric Walker, Democratic National Committee spokesperson, said in a statement to Indian Country Today Media Network, which initially reported on the comparison, “Mike Huckabee has spent his entire career offending Americans of all stripes – African Americans, Jews, Mormons, LGBT Americans to name a few – and now with these recent comments, he can add Native Americans to this growing list,”

He continued, “Native Americans have a proud heritage, and deserve better than to be compared to jihadists as part of a GOP candidate’s cheap joke.”

Cladoosby echoed the sentiments in his statement, saying, “Native Americans are the most committed to our shared homeland. Nearly 24,000 American Indians are currently serving in the U.S. Military, and there are an estimated 383,000 American Indian and Alaska Native military veterans. According to the Oxford Companion to American Military History, American Indians have the highest record of military service per capita compared to any other group in the United States.

What began the exchange was Obama's previous comments at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

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