The Indigenous community responded with outrage and called for the firings of several Fox News hosts who made a series of overtly racist comments on air.
On Wednesday, October 13, Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy during an appearance with her husband—former Wisconsin Republican Representative Sean Duffy—blamed the struggles of the Indigenous community on "government dependency" which she claimed leads to "alcoholism" and "family breakdowns."
You can see an excerpt of the segment here:
Co-host Jesse Watters agreed, alleging Democrats are responsible.
"Yeah, they're just going to try to send more slush funds to the reservations, and make them out to be victims, and then have them keep voting for Democrats."
Campos-Duffy went on to assert that Christopher Columbus—long wrongly credited with "discovering" the United States and the Western world—is "the first victim of cancel culture."
She suggested Indigenous groups were "just as brutal" as Columbus and other colonizers.
Her husband concurred, claiming Indigenous groups "burned villages, raped women, [and] seized children" in addition to, he said with no trace of irony whatsoever, taking land.
The Fox News segment soon attracted the attention of IllumiNative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing "the visibility of—and challenge the negative narrative about—Native Nations and peoples in American society."
IllumiNative founder and executive director Crystal Echo Hawk also issued a longer statement about the racist, inaccurate rhetoric.
""This rhetoric is incredibly harmful and dangerous and very clearly rooted in racism and White supremacy."
"Instead of allowing people to perpetuate revisionist history that erases the true history of this country—we need to start calling it what it was."
"For so long, Americans have chosen to omit and forget us from history and the present day."
"They render us down to grossly inaccurate stereotypes to perpetuate the discrimination and oppression of Native Americans that begun with their 'founding fathers.'
"But we know these are lies non-Natives tell themselves to feel better, even proud about the horrifying truth of this country—and of their ancestors."
The controversy also garnered attention from the online community, which also widely criticized Fox News for airing the segment.
Fox News has not responded to requests for comment.
The remarks from the Fox hosts came on the heels of Columbus Day, which many states, cities, towns and organizations around the country have begun to recognize as Indigenous Peoples' Day.
The change has been precipitated by a shift in public awareness of the truth about Christopher Columbus' acts as scholars have given greater attention to the harms committed under his governance, particularly the genocide, rape, sex trafficking of children, torture, murder and enslavement of Hispaniola's Indigenous Tainos as well as other Indigenous people of the Caribbean, Central and South America.
Although there has been a slow shift in the way the history of America's Indigenous peoples is taught, many schools still teach Columbus "discovered" America.
However, Columbus never actually set foot in North America. The holiday celebrating his "discovery" further perpetuates this myth.
Also long disproven are the myths about his accomplishments.
Vikings explored and had settlements in North America 500 years before Columbus. It was widely known the Earth was round, but Columbus falsely believed the Earth was much smaller than other explorers calculated.
It was widely believed another land mass existed in the Western Hemisphere of accurately calculated views of the Earth, which was why the explorers who arrived within a few years of Columbus knew they were landing on new territory and not in Asia.
The more the lies taught for decades to justify his holiday are stripped away and the truth revealed, there is little to admire about Columbus.
The truth also fails to support the Duffys' racist rhetoric and stereotypes about Indigenous people.
Indigenous people living off reservations outnumber those living on reservations. Alcoholism and substance abuse levels as well as divorce and single parent households have been on par or less than their White contemporaries for several decades.
A recent study by the National Institute of Health showed a majority, 59.9% of Indigenous people choose to completely abstain from alcohol opposed to 43.3% of White Americans.
And government assistance has long been highest amongst economically disadvantaged White Americans over all other groups.
The Duffys' racist portrayal of Indigenous people in the United States as drunks all living on reservations collecting money from the government is an inaccurate, harmful lie.
Hopefully Fox News will recognize the error and take appropriate action.