viet thanh nguyen
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.
CNN's Rick Santorum: "We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native… https://t.co/nKMyRC7xHL— Jason Campbell (@Jason Campbell) 1619446523.0
"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.
I can't believe we have to waste words on Santorum, but here's a link to how the U.S. Constitution was at least par… https://t.co/8afJ8ZuF1G— Viet Thanh Nguyen (@Viet Thanh Nguyen) 1619459893.0
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.
Excellent response to Santorum's offensive comments on Native Americans. Thanks to writers that share their knowled… https://t.co/GoFx2hTFW8— Patti Seese (@Patti Seese) 1619490580.0
MAYBE I was taught this in HS history and forgot, but I'm glad to now know. Hey, something good came out of anythin… https://t.co/8DcpkBO5BM— Chris Moran (@Chris Moran) 1619464247.0
The Iroquois Confederacy, founded by the Great Peacemaker in 1142, is the oldest living participatory democracy on… https://t.co/6mGB6l1tmu— Catrina Forcier (@Catrina Forcier) 1619460943.0
He wasn't the only one to call out Santorum.
What did Native nation contribute to the US? Just the concept of a confederacy that became the foundation of the U… https://t.co/hOHs6Ai3z2— Rebecca Nagle (@Rebecca Nagle) 1619457544.0
This is much worse than genocide denial - it is the elevation of genocidal societies over all others https://t.co/OyeYiUxkyR— Vincent Bevins (@Vincent Bevins) 1619459092.0
I’ve got a sinking feeling a whole bunch of American Dads in that audience have lacrosse playing sons.... thank Nat… https://t.co/OFfc6OlBGZ— Stephanie Ruhle (@Stephanie Ruhle) 1619460529.0
Many were livid that Santorum continues to get airtime on CNN.
Tristan Ahtone on Twitter
Tristan Ahtone on Twitter twitter.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”
Why is Rick Santorum still at CNN when Reza Aslan, Octavia Nasr and Marc Lamont Hill were let go for much, much less?— Wajahat "Fasting" Ali (@Wajahat "Fasting" Ali) 1619982134.0
Fire. Rick. Santorum. @CNN this isn’t hard and should be done by morning.— Jeff Timmer (@Jeff Timmer) 1619490624.0
Santorum said in a statement: "I had no intention of minimizing or in any way devaluing Native American culture."