As I watched the recent Senate process to confirm the nomination of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, I felt that I was being transported to a bygone era. An era when a woman wouldn’t be sitting at her computer writing to a newspaper like the Star Tribune to express how offended she was to witness the treatment of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., by a body of men.
As an 89-year-old American Indian woman, I am equally offended by President Trump’s referring to Warren as “Pocahontas” every chance he gets. Not as a compliment, but as a slur.
After Sessions’ confirmation, the president used his social-media skills to again attempt to denigrate Warren when he tweeted: “Pocahontas is now the face of the Democratic Party!”
The president probably hasn’t read Hillary Clinton’s memoir, “Living History,” in which she writes that her maternal grandmother was of French-Canadian, Scottish and Native American descent. If he did read Hillary’s book, he probably would have given her an Indian name, too.
Another historic American-Indian woman he may have heard about is Sacagawea, which may be a little tricky to tweet. Since he couldn’t call both women “Pocahontas,” perhaps he could have called them “1 Pocahontas” and “2 Pocahontas.”
Every time the president calls Warren “Pocahontas,” it elicits more talk on the various talk shows about her supposedly native heritage. There is always someone on these panels who says that she lied about her heritage to take advantage of affirmative-action policies. This has never been proven, but that hasn’t stopped those who want to discredit her for purely political reasons.
There are probably just as many people who have varying degrees of Indian blood who are not federally recognized as there are people who are on the rolls who have less than the amount specified in their constitution and bylaws. Federally recognized tribal rolls are not sacrosanct. Take it from one who had dual enrollment most of her 89 years. I went from dual enrollment to being enrolled in one place with two different birth dates. After several trips to tribal offices, many letters and legal help, I am now enrolled in one tribe. I was afraid I would leave this world with the other one appearing on the rolls forever.
Maxine V. Eidsvig, of Minneapolis, is retired.