Rival U.S. Senate candidates Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and California Attorney General Kamala Harris have drawn the ire of the California Democratic Party’s Native American Caucus. Sanchez offended members with a “war whoop” during a speech Saturday at the California Democrats Convention, and Harris is in trouble over her stance on tribal lands.
“We believe they both display a lack of understanding and sensitivity to Native American tribal issues and individual Indian issues,” caucus Chairwoman Mary Ann Andreas, of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, told the Sacramento Bee.
Sanchez’s “war whoop” landed her troubled campaign in dire straits. She apologized, citing the excitement of the day and claiming that she also has Native American blood.
The Bee notes that Harris is also facing heat for her office’s position in a long-running dispute over the boundaries of the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ reservation boundaries.
Harris reportedly filed an amicus brief, with the support of Gov. Jerry Brown, on behalf of an evicted resident who has refused to pay 17 years of rent and who was reportedly accused of trespassing on tribal lands, which she argues is not part of the reservation. The Native American group is angry with her because they believe she took the position without first consulting them and reviewing the facts, the Bee notes.
Harris’s campaign spokesman Nathan Click reportedly issued a statement in which he said Harris has deep respect for California’s sovereign Indian nations and Native Americans, and that “She looks forward to discussing who will best represent the interests of Native Americans and all Californians over the course of this campaign.”