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Posted at 2:27 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2012
Staffers for Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) have been caught on tape engaging in conduct often viewed as offensive by Native Americans.
WCVB in Boston released video this morning showing Greg Casey and Jack Richard, Brown’s deputy chief of staff and constituent service counsel, respectively, engaging in tomahawk chops and chanting ”war whoops” during a rally this week in Boston, according to the TV station.
The video shows the two staffers and other Brown supporters mixed among a crowd of supporters for Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren.
Brown challenged Warren on her Native American heritage at a debate last week hosted by WBZ. He was asked about the video by reporters today during an appearance at Boston’s South Station.
“Certainly that’s not something I condone. It’s certainly something that if I am aware of it, I’ll tell that member to never do it again,” Brown said today.
“The real issue here is, and the real offense is the fact that Professor Warren checked the box. She said that she was white, and then she checked the box saying she was Native American and then she changed her profile in the law directory once she attained her tenure,” Brown added. “That’s quite offensive to Native Americans and something that she should release her records, as I released my 32 years of military records.”
Warren said she often did not identify as Native American on admissions forms.
“I knew my father’s family didn’t like that she was part Cherokee and part Delaware, so my parents had to elope,” Warren said in a campaign ad this week. “I never asked for and never got any benefit because of my heritage. The people who hired me have all said they didn’t even know about it.”
To be sure, skin color is often not an accurate indicator of racial or ethnic background. Since the debate, both campaigns have released ads on the ethnicity question, with Warren embracing the ties to Native Americans in her genealogy.
Brown has his own ad on the issue this week, a compilation of news clips raising questions about Warren’s claims about her background. Warren acknowledges that as a child, she did not seek formal verification of her family story.