A Native American politician in Kansas is tired of his colleagues’ lame excuses about their lack of cultural sense. In a truly historic moment, Representative Ponka-We Victors earlier this month became the first Indigenous woman to chair the Kansas House of Representatives — and now she says she won’t accept the request. the fault of a white legislator for trying so hard to ruin it.
“I’m tired of accepting these apologies when someone should know how to act in the chambers of the Kansas House of Representatives,” Victors said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “You should know right from wrong and how to handle yourself.”
On March 23, Victors, a Democrat, made history as the first Indigenous woman to serve as president of state. However, the moment of victory was almost immediately defiled when Rep. John Wheeler, a Republican, told her he wanted to check to make sure she wasn’t using a tomahawk in place of one. hammer.
Wheeler apologized for the offensive joke after an awkward silence enveloped the room.
“I am making a point that seems to be considered offensive,” Wheeler said, according to Kansas City Stars. “If that’s the case, I certainly apologize.”
However, Victors did not take it as a genuine apology.
“He did not come to see me personally. He’s justifying it, making excuses for what he said and he’s trying to be funny,” she told The Daily Beast. “Like, don’t use my culture as your joke.”
She added: “I’m tired of accepting apologies. I want to start seeing some consequences for people who talk this way. “
This is not the first time someone has talked like this. Violators also brought Randy Wason, the Kansas commissioner of education, to make derogatory remarks about Indigenous Peoples at a convention earlier this year, joking that they were more dangerous than tornadoes.
“You have to worry about Indians raiding town at any moment,” he said, according to Star.
There have been calls for Watson to resign, but the state board of education voted to suspend him for a month without pay.
Victors said politicians try to use their age as an excuse for deafening comments and lowering their tone.
“They blame their age, they blame this, they blame that,” she said. “You have to be careful and mindful before you say it, and not everyone — whatever you’re going to say — won’t think it’s a joke or think it’s funny.”
Victors recounts a memory she had from childhood when a white classmate called her a “dirty Indian” in kindergarten.
“Since then, it’s like I have to ask for respect for my culture, for my name,” she said. “It’s crazy when [Wheeler] offended me, when he talked about my pickaxe being a tomahawk. It takes me back to my first day of kindergarten. I feel the same way. … I’ve been dealing with this all my life. I had no choice but to stay strong during my school days, throughout college, and now here in the home of the state. ”
When he first became a state representative, Victors was the only Native American legislator. Now, she has Representative Christina Haswood and Representative Stephanie Byers working with her. But despite the increased representation, the Victors want lawmakers to do better and be held accountable for their ignorance.
“People should know their own manners,” she said, “and if not, don’t run for office.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-trailblazing-native-american-politician-ponka-we-wont-accept-her-colleagues-apology?source=articles&via=rss Why Native American Politicians Support Ponka-We Don’t Accept Colleague Apologies