The principal chief of the Cherokee Nation denounced Senator Scott Brown’s campaign staffers on Wednesday for what he called offensive and racist behavior against Native Americans, and he called on Brown to apologize.
A day earlier, Democrats released a video filmed outside a Brown campaign event showing Republican staff members, including an aide in Brown’s Senate office, performing tomahawk chops and shouting war whoops amid a crowd of boisterous supporters of both candidates.
The gestures appeared to mock Elizabeth Warren’s professed Native American ancestry.
“The conduct of these individuals goes far beyond what is appropriate and proper in political discourse,” the chief, Bill John Baker, said in a statement. “The use of stereotypical ‘war whoop chants’ and ‘tomahawk chops’ are offensive and downright racist. It is those types of actions that perpetuate negative stereotypes and continue to minimize and degrade all native peoples.”
The state Democratic Party identified the staff members as Brad Garnett, who works for the Massachusetts Republican Party, and Jack Richard, a constituent services lawyer in Brown’s Senate office.
Brown’s campaign has neither confirmed nor denied the identity of those in the video. On Wednesday evening, the campaign issued a statement on the incident.
“Senator Brown has spoken to his entire staff — including the individuals involved in this unacceptable behavior —and issued them their one and only warning that this type of conduct will not be tolerated,” spokeswoman Alleigh Marre wrote. “As we enter the final stretch of this campaign, emotions are running high, and while Senator Brown can’t control everyone, he is encouraging both sides to act with respect. He regrets that members of his staff did not live up to the high standards that the people of Massachusetts expect and deserve.”
The campaign also released a comment from a member of the Pequot tribe calling Warren a fraud for her undocumented claims of Native American ancestry.
Warren, who bases her assertions of Native American ancestry on family stories, has acknowledged that she listed herself as a minority in a legal directory often used by law school recruiters. But she has insisted she never received any professional benefit because of that assertion.
Brown demands Warren provide a list of clients
Senator Scott Brown sent a letter on Wednesday to his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, demanding that she release a list of her corporate legal clients while she has served as a Harvard Law School professor.
He cited media reports about her work on cases involving Travelers Insurance and LTV Steel, which he said conflicted with her reputation as a consumer advocate and middle-class guardian.
“Taken together with your refusal to satisfy media demands for a full six years of tax returns and your refusal to release your university personnel files, these new revelations leave voters with a disturbing and confusing picture of whose interests you really represent,” Brown wrote. “During this campaign, you have accused others of siding with big corporations. As it turns out, you are the only candidate in this race who has stood on the side of large corporate interests over the middle class.”
Warren called on Brown, a lawyer, to release his own list of legal clients.