Senate Candidate Makes Offensive Native American Gesture

Loretta_Sanchez_official_photo A video was released showing Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) making an offensive Native American gesture during the California Democratic Party’s convention in Anaheim on Saturday.

Sanchez, who recently announced her campaign for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.), was describing a phone call she had received from an East Indian man who wanted to meet with her.

“I am going to his office,” she said, “thinking that I am going to meet with a–” Sanchez then put her hand over her mouth and imitated a stereotypical Indian war cry. “Right?” she said. “Because he said Indian American.”

Delegate Amparo Diaz from San Jose, who witnessed this event, said “everyone was just shocked. We looked around to reassure each other we had just seen the same thing. Did it really happen?”

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose mother is from India, was likewise disturbed when she learned about Sanchez’s gesture. “It is shocking and there is no place for that in our public discourse.”

The Sacramento Bee asked Sanchez whether or not she felt the gesture was appropriate. Her only reply was “I think that Native Americans have an incredibly great history, and a great presence in our country, and many of them are supporting our election.”

Sanchez has since apologized and acknowledged that the gesture was in fact inappropriate. On Sunday at a state Democratic Convention in Anaheim, Sanchez stated, “In this crazy and exciting rush of meetings yesterday, I said something offensive and for that I sincerely apologize.”
She then attempted to excuse her actions by stating that she has Native American ancestry on her mother’s side.
“They know my record,” she said, referring to Native Americans. “They know how much I have spent – the time that I have spent with them at their tribal councils, listening to them, advocating for them. They know that I have always had their backs. And they know what many of you don’t know – that like so many Mexican Americans, I am proudly Native American on my mother’s side.”
Some have defended Sanchez, stating that she did not mean to offend anyone. Marni Magda, a Laguna Beach delegate who has volunteered for Sanchez and supports her Senate bid, stated Sanchez “would never be racist against anyone. She embraces all diversity. I think she thought she was being funny and didn’t realize there were people who would be offended.”
There is nothing funny, however, about what Sanchez did, and her attempt to justify her actions by claiming to have Native American ancestry is just as wrong. Nothing can justify the use of offensive gestures or language, especially when they are used to reinforce disrespectful stereotypes.

8 thoughts on “Senate Candidate Makes Offensive Native American Gesture”

  1. How can you imagine its right to insult a whole Nation by way of your extended Family if you are fortunate enough to be part of the First Nations double your shame

  2. This nation is in such a mess and so disrespectful of anyone who is not part of the wealthy 1%. Everyone who is not part of that tiny minority is discriminated against one way or the other. The Native Americans, African Americans, Poor Americans, Elderly Americans, and anyone who is not whitey white and rich. It is appalling and there seems to be nothing we can do about it. I am white, elderly and poor. My children are bi-racial. It is intolerable that our elected officials should denigrate anyone! It is shameful and makes me ashamed to be white.

  3. If shes so connected and knows First Nations history then she would realize the “Indian” she was going to meet with is totally different from a First Nations person and has nothing to do with the jester she made. Dumb people these days never surprise me anymore. Just like 99% of people she has apparent “Native blood” sorry stupidity is not an excuse and if you had support from First Nations people for your campaign…you just lost it. First Nations and Indians are two totally seperate groups of people and culture. One group being the original the other being imigrants. She needs a history and respect lesson before she speaks for anybody.

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