by Sam Lewin
Thursday, Apr. 29, 2004 at 4:22 PM
Bruce Whelan, the Lakota leader of the Shannon County Republican Party, took issue with Limbaugh's comments - "I am kind wondering what history books Rush Limbaugh was reading from."
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Limbaugh unites South Dakota Democrats and Republicans
Both angry at his latest comments
PINE RIDGE SD - Both Republicans and Democrats in South Dakota are criticizing conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh for his latest comments regarding American Indians.
Last Friday, Limbaugh spoke about former newspaper publisher Tim Giago's decision not to challenge South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle in the Democratic Primary. Giago had said he would take Daschle on in an attempt to bring attention to issues important to Indians in the state. Last week he abruptly dropped out of the race.
A transcript of Limbaugh's full comments follows:
"Days ago, my friends, I predicted that Tim Giago - South Dakota Native American activist - would be scalped. Politically. He had the audacity to run for Democrat Senate minority leader Tom Daschle's seat. Now Daschle is in a tight race, the radio show is in trouble, and since Democrats view Native Americans as they do every minority - as their private property - Giago had to go. Last week, Daschle and Giago had a pow-wow. What happened in the tee-pee is unknown, but when the smoke signals cleared, Giago was Home on the Range. He dropped out of the race. Now he supports Daschle...who agreed to "talk" with Indian leaders about the Black Hills...which the federal government took in violation of a treaty - an issue unresolved since 1877. As for Giago: since he's back on the reservation, maybe Daschle will forgive him for asserting himself."
The comments have South Dakota Democrats crying foul.
"I think Rush Limbaugh's comments were at a minimum incredibly insensitive. To use words like pow wow and smoke signals the way he did is offensive. Senator Tom Daschle and Tim Giago had a thoughtful dialogue on issues important to our Native American friends and it is unfortunate that Rush Limbaugh chose to paint a thoughtful discussion the way he did," said South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Jason Schulte.
Bruce Whelan, the Lakota leader of the Shannon County Republican Party, also took issue with Limbaugh's comments, although he agrees with some of what was said.
"I am kind wondering what history books Rush Limbaugh was reading from. Scalping did not originate from the Indian-it originated from the Europeans. It is a tragedy that some of the negative stereotyping that comes from our media reinforces blaming the victim. I don't like words likes scalping, tee-pee and smoke signals," Whelan said. "[But] Democrats are definitely taking advantage of the vote here. We are definitely property of the Democrats here and we are tying to change that."
This is not the first time Limbaugh's comments about Indians have generated controversy. He once said, "There are more American Indians alive today than there were when Columbus arrived or at any other time in history. Does this sound like a record of genocide?"
Whelan said he did not think that Limbaugh's views are representative of Republicans as a whole. "No, I'm sure they aren't. There are things he says that even I roll my eyes too," he said.