Writer Schools Santorum With Reminder of How U.S. Constitution Was 'Lifted From Native American Culture'
Former Republican Senator and current CNN political contributor Rick Santorum enraged Americans across the country last week with remarks at a Young America's Conference summit.
Santorum dismissed the contributions of indigenous peoples to American culture, falsely claiming there was no Native American culture in American culture.
"We came here and created a blank slate. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans but candidly there isn't much Native American culture in American culture.It was borne of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty, to practice their faith, to live as they ought to live, and have the freedom to do so."
Not only were there millions of indigenous peoples across the Americas in the thousands of years before colonizers arrived, but the influence of Native Americans on American culture continues today. The names of no fewer than 26 states have origins in indigenous languages. Native American farming and harvesting techniques remain widely in use today.
And as novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen pointed out, the United States Constitution itself emerged largely from Native American documents—specifically the Iroquois Confederacy.
Nguyen linked to an article from History.com, which reads:
"The Iroquois Confederacy dates back several centuries, to when the Great Peacemaker founded it by uniting five nations: the Mohawks, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, the Oneida and the Seneca. In around 1722, the Tuscarora nation joined the Iroquois, also known as the Haudenosaunee. Together, these six nations formed a multi-state government while maintaining their own individual governance."
The influence of the Iroquois Confederacy on the United States is noted across multiple pieces of correspondence among the constitutional framers.
Furthermore, Nguyen said Santorum also alluded to the infamous 1915 film Birth of a Nation, in which the Ku Klux Kan are the protagonists and Black Americans are portrayed as animalistic and dangerous.
And he is referring to BIRTH OF A NATION, the 1915 movie that lionized the KKK and lynching, screened in the White House, which only goes to show that all racism is intersectional.
— Viet Thanh Nguyen (@viet_t_nguyen) April 26, 2021
The novelist's receipts made waves across the internet.
He wasn't the only one to call out Santorum.
Many were livid that Santorum continues to get airtime on CNN.
Tristan Ahtone on Twitter
Tristan Ahtone on Twittertwitter.com
“The Native American Journalists Association strongly cautions Native American and Alaska Native reporters from working with, or applying to jobs, at @CNN in the wake of continued racist comments and insensitive reporting directed at Indigenous people. https://t.co/zKsIr6PKUi”
Santorum said in a statement: "I had no intention of minimizing or in any way devaluing Native American culture."