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Deb Haaland: ‘Unhappy’ Rick Santorum doesn’t know Native American history

Home Secretary Deb Haaland said on Tuesday he was “unhappy” former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) Recently claimed that “nothing” was in America before the arrival of the white colonizers and that Native Americans hadn’t done much for American culture anyway.

“Of course, that’s unfortunate,” Haaland, the country’s very first Indigenous Cabinet secretary, told HuffPost in an interview with Zoom, which you can watch above.

“It’s unfortunate that, first of all, maybe we haven’t done a good job of educating Americans about Indian history, because Native American history is really American history,” he says. it. “When you think of the influence that Native Americans had on the formation of the United States, right? The American Constitution is based on the Iroquois Confederacy. Native Americans of certain tribes in this country have some of the oldest democracies in the world.

Haaland was answering a question about offensive comments made at the end of last month by Santorum, currently CNN’s senior political commentator.

“We made a nation out of nothing. I mean, there was nothing here, ”he said during a speech at an event with young conservatives. “I mean, yeah, we have Native Americans, but frankly there’s not a lot of Native American culture in American culture.”

Haaland offered to give Santorum some book recommendations to help him understand the real history of Native Americans, who lived in America thousands of years before European explorers showed up in the late 1400s and 1500s. Indigenous peoples already had their own rich cultures and traditions, and as Haaland mentioned, the very foundation of the United States and its system of representative democracy stems from a political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations, founded in 1142.

The Senate even paid tribute to the Iroquois with a resolution of 1988 stating: “The confederation of the original 13 colonies into one republic was influenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy, as well as many democratic principles which were incorporated into the constitution itself.

European colonizers attempted to eradicate indigenous peoples by forcibly evicting them from their lands, massacring them, infecting them with new diseases, rounding them up and putting them in reserve, breaking treaties with them and bringing them back. kidnapping their children and putting them in boarding schools to assimilate them into white culture.

“I mean, I could probably suggest some reading material for the senator that, you know, would help him diversify into his knowledge of American history,” Haaland said of Santorum. “I hope he takes a second look.”

When asked about specific books to suggest to Santorum, Haaland said there were too many and that she would return to HuffPost.

Indigenous-led groups have asked CNN to fire Santorum for his remarks. President of the National Congress of American Indians, Fawn Johnson, issued a particularly fiery statement, claiming Santorum is a “deranged and embarrassing racist who dishonours CNN” and calling on the media to fire him.

“Take your pick. Are you on the side of the white supremacists who justify the Native American genocide or are you on the side of the Native Americans?” Johnson asked.

CNN did not respond to multiple requests for comment on its intention to keep Santorum under contract.

But Santorum was back on the network Monday night as a guest on Chris Cuomo’s show. Asked about his comments about Native Americans, he did not apologize. He said his comments were “out of context”.

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