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Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum has drawn widespread criticism over the past couple of days after comments he made dismissing the history and influence of Native Americans in American culture surfaced online.

Santorum, a senior political commentator at CNN, made the remarks about early European settlers and religion at an event hosted by the conservative group Young America’s Foundation last Friday, which have spurred at least three organizations affiliated with Native Americans to denounce Santorum and call on the network to fire him.

“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,” Santorum said.

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His comments have come under intense scrutiny for their dismissal of indigenous peoples, who had been living in America for thousands of years prior to the arrival of European colonizers.

Once those explorers — among them, Christopher Columbus, who himself enslaved and brutalized many native inhabitants — arrived throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, they sought to conquer the land.

But Santorum, in discussing the history of the country, glossed over those parts, instead offering a simplified version predicated on the notion that America was “settled predominantly by people who were coming to practice their faith.”

“They came here because they were not allowed to practice their particular faith in their own country, and so they came here mostly from Europe, and they set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles,” Santorum said.

National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp came out with a passionate statement on Monday, where she called Santorum an “unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN.”

“Televising someone with his views on Native American genocide is fundamentally no different than putting an outright Nazi on television to justify the Holocaust,” Sharp said. “Any mainstream media organization should fire him or face a boycott from more than 500 tribal nations and our allies from across the country and worldwide.”

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Sharp went on to note that “what European colonizers found in the Americas were thousands of complex, sophisticated, and sovereign Tribal Nations, each with millennia of distinct cultural, spiritual and technological development.”

New Mexico Representative Teresa Leger Fernández, a chair of the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States, also shot back at Santorum for his comments on Monday.

“Indigenous peoples are more American than Rick Santorum,” Fernández wrote in a tweet.

Crystal Echo Hawk, the founder and executive director of IllumiNative, a nonprofit focused on increasing the visibility of Native Americans, also called on CNN to fire Santorum, so that he no longer has a “national platform where he can spew this type of ignorance and bigotry against communities of color on air.”

“Allowing him to spread racism and white supremacy to the American public is reckless and irresponsible,” she said.

The Native American Journalists Association went a step further in a statement on Monday, not only urging CNN to “immediately dismiss Santorum” but cautioning 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.”

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Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.