‘Embarrassing Racist’: Native American Orgs Rip Santorum For Claiming There Was ‘Nothing’ Before Colonizers Arrived

the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The sixth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top seven candidates, and another for three other candidates lower in the current polls.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks to reporters after the presidential debate on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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April 27, 2021 8:14 a.m.

The leaders of organizations for Native Americans are raking CNN commentator Rick Santorum over the coals after he claimed that white European colonizers “birthed a nation from nothing” in America and that “there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), ripped Santorum’s “caveman mentality” on Monday night and demanded that CNN fire the former GOP senator.

“Before I correct the record, let me address Rick Santorum directly without mincing words: Rick Santorum is an unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform,” Sharp said in a statement.

The NCAI leader asserted that CNN giving someone with Santorum’s views on Native American genocide a platform “is fundamentally no different than putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust.”

“Make your choice. Do you stand with White Supremacists justifying Native American genocide, or do you stand with Native Americans?” Sharp said.

“Not much Native culture in American culture … could that be because of America’s colonial genocide, cultural genocide, displacement, systematic erasure and dehumanization of Native peoples?” Tara Houska, the founder of Giniw Collective and a co-founder of Not Your Mascots, tweeted. “We’re still here. We aren’t ‘nothing,’ we’re why you’re on this land. Read a book.”

IllumiNative also called on CNN to oust Santorum, saying that he “continues a long history of white supremacy by erasing the history of Native Americans.”

“The contributions of Natives are everywhere,” the organization tweeted. “Our land, ways of being & systems of [government] were, in fact, so important that they were stolen by the people who arrived here.”

Santorum made the racist comments during a speech to the conservative group Young America’s Foundation on Friday.

“We came here and created a blank slate. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here,” he said. “I mean, yes we have Native Americans, but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”

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