Video: O.C. Congresswoman Makes 'Shocking' Gesture Mocking Native Americans [UPDATE]
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who is running for Barbara Boxer's Senate seat, was caught on video making a gesture mocking Native Americans. On Saturday, at a restaurant near the California Democratic Party's convention in Anaheim, Sanchez was recorded on video speaking with the Indian-American caucus about meeting with a supporter, but being confused about his nationality. "I am going to his office, thinking that I am going to meet with a," Sanchez said, and made the "war chant" whooping sound with her hand tapped over her mouth, thought of as an offensive stereotype of Native Americans. The video, taken by Long Beach delegate Uduak-Joe Ntuk, was first shown to the Sacramento Bee.
Scroll to the 0:30 mark for the remark
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is considered the Democratic frontrunner for Boxer's Senate seat, said she found the gesture "shocking" and said, "I don't know what to say to that," when first told of Sanchez's remarks. Later the same evening, she added, "It is shocking and there is no place for that in our public discourse."
Sanchez explained her gesture later that day, saying, "What I said was that I got a call from somebody from over the phone and he said I want to talk to you about having help from the Indian community, and I thought he meant the American Indian community, in the sense of the Native American Indian community."
"I think that Native Americans have an incredibly great history, and a great presence in our country, and many of them are supporting our election."
Ntuk, who shot the video, told the L.A. Times that the gesture by Sanchez was "not what we stand for in the Democratic Party."
Loretta Sanchez represents the 46th District in the House of Representatives, which covers Anaheim and Santa Ana in Orange County. On Thursday she announced she would be running to take the outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer's seat. Harris' campaign was launched in January.
Update [11:20]: While speaking to delegates at the convention on Sunday morning, NBC 4 reports Sanchez apologized for her actions.