Here's Why Donald Trump's "Pocahontas" Nickname for Elizabeth Warren Is So Offensive


When it comes to insulting his political foes via Twitter, Donald Trump usually opts for a good old fashioned playground taunt

There's "Lyin' Ted" Cruz, "Little Marco" Rubio, "Crooked Hillary" Clinton and, more recently, "Goofy" Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts who has sparred with him repeatedly.

But Trump's newest nickname for Warren — "Pocahontas" — has a far more insidious implication. It's a dig at the senator's much-maligned claim to be of 1/32 Cherokee descent, and some are saying it unnecessarily invokes a young Native American woman who died at the hands of European colonialists. 

In May, the Native American State Democratic Party Chair of New Mexico Debra Haaland penned an article that injected necessary context into the debate:

The story of Pocahontas is heart-wrenching. Toward the end of her life she left her people, went to England, contracted a disease and died at a very young age. When I think of that story — and the hundreds of sad and disturbing stories of how Native people have suffered throughout history, I can't imagine making a mockery of their names or their lives. 

Others, like playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle, believe that Trump's conflation of Warren's claim to Cherokee heritage with a member of the Powhatan tribe makes it clear that he's unable to parse out the difference between various types of Native American backgrounds.

"Trump's inability to discern the difference between Sen. Warren and Pocahontas is no accident," Nagle told MSNBC. "Instead, his attack on her native identity reflects a dominant American culture that has made every effort to diminish native women to nothing other than a fantastical, oversexualized Disney character."

Some just think Trump's comments are gross in a more general way — and can sum it up neatly in one tweet.

"Stop w the Pocahontas shit," wrote user @aurabogado. 

Maybe it's best if Trump just takes advice from Warren herself, who doubled down on Hillary Clinton's recommendation that he delete his Twitter account on Friday.

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