Donald Trump's Pocahontas comment draws objection from Calgary writer
Nicole Robertson critical of presidential candidate's remarks before North Dakota rally
A Calgary-based media consultant is making headlines and trending on social media after she shouted an objection to Donald Trump's use of the word Pocahontas to describe a United States senator.
Nicole Robertson, president of Muskwa Productions and Consulting, was in the audience when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was speaking to the media before a rally on Thursday in Bismarck, N.D.
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Asked a question about Senator Elizabeth Warren, Trump said, "Who, Pocahontas?"
That prompted Robertson, who works to promote awareness about Indigenous peoples, to shout out, "That's very offensive, sorry."
"Oh, I'm sorry about that," said Trump, who then repeated the word several more times in reference to the Massachusetts politician, who has claimed to be partly Native American.
"I think she's as Native American as I am, OK, that I will tell you," he said. "But she's a woman that's been very ineffective other than she's got a big mouth."
Watch A Native American Reporter Explain Why Trump's Mocking Use Of "Pocahontas" Is "Extremely Offensive" <a href="https://t.co/bCs5tzDatf">https://t.co/bCs5tzDatf</a>—@MuskwaMedia
Pocahontas was a Native American woman who in the 17th century lived in what is now Virginia when English colonists had arrived in the New World. She converted to Christianity, married a white tobacco farmer and was presented to English society as a "civilized savage."
The word is now seen by many aboriginal people as a racial slur.
The fact that Trump seemed unaware of the word's power to offend suggests he is ignorant when it comes to Indigenous issues, Robertson told CBC News.
"He's coming from a very amateur perspective," she said. "There needs to be, full out, an apology, number 1. We, as Native American, Native Canadian women have gone through enough marginalization, victimization."
Robertson said her exchange with Trump has put her at the centre of a media frenzy as she continues to get interview requests from news organizations all across the continent.
"It has become a topic of discussion for all the major U.S. networks," she said.
While some of the reaction on social media has been racist and hateful, Robertson said most people have congratulated her for speaking out.
"I'm just so appreciative of the support," she said.
Robertson, who is Cree, says on her LinkedIn page she created Muskwa Productions in part to help "First Nations in their communication strategies to create accurate representations of their news and events to educate and inform mainstream media."
She was in Bismarck working with the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation as its members attended the petroleum conference at which Trump was speaking.
Trump doubles down on Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ attack after Native American woman calls him ... <a href="https://t.co/aTaW1Be8QR">https://t.co/aTaW1Be8QR</a> via <a href="https://twitter.com/Yahoo">@Yahoo</a>—@MuskwaMedia
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