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speaking out

Native American groups denounce Trump's 'Pocahontas' comment

After President Trump made a snide remark about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during an event Monday honoring Native American code talkers who served in World War II, referring to her as "Pocahontas," several Native American groups spoke out against his comment.

"The name becomes a derogatory racial reference when used as an insult," Dr. J.R. Norwood, the general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, said in a statement. "American Indian names, whether they be historic or contemporary, are not meant to be used as insults. To do so is to reduce them to racial slurs." Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation, said that "in this day and age, all tribal nations still battle insensitive references to our people. The prejudice that Native American people face is an unfortunate historical legacy."

Trump has called the senator "Pocahontas" on several occasions. Warren told MSNBC it was "deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur." Warren, who says she has Native American ancestry, has been criticized by some conservatives for registering as a minority in law school directories during the 1980s. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump didn't use a slur, called Warren's response "ridiculous," and accused Warren of lying about her heritage "to advance her career."