Fox News defended a billboard that uses images of Native Americans to push a pro-gun agenda, claiming the message is not offensive despite widespread reporting of condemnation from Native American groups.
Fox's The Five defended a billboard purchased in Greely, Colorado by an anonymous group that depicted three Native Americans with the message “Turn in your arms, the government will take care of you”:
After guest host Juan Williams claimed Native Americans found the billboard insensitive, Eric Bolling replied “I can't find what's insensitive... others think it was accurate.” Bolling added that if you read the Denver Post article “the comments by Native Americans were hey I'm not offended by this.” Co-host Dana Perino agreed, saying “I am not offended by this at all, I think it's effective advertising”:
But reporting on the billboard has highlighted the concerns of several Native Americans from the area. FoxNews.com reported on the billboards in an article titled “Native Americans incensed over pro-gun rights billboard in Colorado.” The article included statements from three Native Americans from the area who expressed anger over the billboard. One resident, Maureen Brucker felt “the billboards are making light of atrocities the federal government committed against Native Americans. Kerri Salazar, also a Native American said she was ”livid when she learned about it." The article continued:
She said she doesn't have a problem with the gun rights message, but she's offended the Native American people were singled out, apparently without their consent.
“I think we all get that (Second Amendment) message. What I don't understand is how an organization can post something like that and not think about the ripple effect that it's gonna have through the community,” she said.
A post from CBS Denver also quoted Native American residents who found the ads insensitive:
Native American Keri Salazar says the ads are offensive and hurtful.
“It should never be to where an ethnic group should be exploited like that to serve the need of another purpose,” she explained to CBS4′s Tom Mustin.
But it's a painful image for Native American Christina Gutierrez.
“Native Americans drive by and see that, it's a reminder of how they are still treated today,” she said.
“This is just one more exploitation,” said Salazar.
In addition to complaining about the exploitative nature of the billboard, Irene Vernon, a Colorado State University professor, pointed out that the ad depends on revisionist history in order to promote its pro-gun message:
But Irene Vernon, a Colorado State University professor and chairwoman of the ethnic studies department, told the Associated Press that the plight of Native Americans history with the U.S. is much more complicated than whether or not American Indians were armed.
“It wasn't just about our guns,” said Vernon, herself a Native American.
Others who saw the billboard criticized it for politicizing or making light of the United States broken promised to Native Americans that date back to the country's founding.