Brown says he regrets staffers' war whoops

Thursday September 27, 2012

BOSTON (AP) -- A spokeswoman for Repub lican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown says he regrets members of his staff were seen shouting war whoops and performing tomahawk chops and that they have been given their "first and only warning" against such conduct.

The comments came after a second video surfaced showing Brown speaking to supporters while war whoops can be heard in the background.

The whoops escalate as Brown criticizes Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native American heritage.

Brown doesn’t react in the brief clip, posted by the Democrat-leaning Blue Mass Group.

On Tuesday the group posted another video showing staff members for Brown and the state Republican Party shouting war whoops and making tomahawk chopping motions with their arms.

Two Native American organizations have called the behavior "racist" and "disturbing."

Warren has said she was told growing up that her mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware Indian, but she hasn’t offered any documentation of that heritage. She called both videos appalling, and American Indian groups also decried the actions shown.

The principal chief of the 310,000-member Cherokee Nation, Bill John Baker, a Democrat, called the behavior offensive and racist.

"It is those types of actions that perpetuate negative stereotypes and continue to minimize and degrade all native peoples," Baker said in a statement.

The National Congress of American Indians, which describes itself as the nation’s largest American Indian and Alaska Native advocacy group, called the videos disturbing and called on Brown to take "corrective action immediately."

The group’s executive director, Jacqueline Pata, also faulted Warren for allowing the public discourse about American Indian identity to become misrepresented and failing to educate the public about federal rules "that make proving Native ancestry very difficult for some people."

She also criticized Warren for not meeting with Native American media groups.

Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat and Warren supporter, faulted Brown.

"If this is what they do in public, what do they do in private?" Patrick told repor ters. "The tone is set at the top."

Brown’s campaign issued a comment from George Thomas, who identified himself as a Pequot and member of the Affiliated Tribes of New England and called Warren’s heritage claims "insulting."


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