Linking Bin Laden to Geronimo stirs outrage

Osama bin Laden (AFP Photo / Files / HO)
A top US Senate official with the Senate Indian Affairs Committee has objected to the US military’s use of “Geronimo” as Osama Bin Laden’s code name.

Geronimo was a Native American hero who spent years fighting the Mexican and American armies to remain free until his surrender in 1886.

Loretta Tuell, staff director and chief counsel for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee argued linking the hero to one of America’s most hated enemies was completely inappropriate.

"These inappropriate uses of Native American icons and cultures are prevalent throughout our society, and the impacts to Native and non-Native children are devastating," Tuell told the AP.

"Apparently, having an African-American president in the White House is not enough to overturn the more than 200-year American tradition of treating and thinking of Indians as enemies of the United States," Steven Newcomb, a columnist for the newspaper Indian Country Today wrote.

"It's another attempt to label Native Americans as terrorists," Paula Antoine of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota told AP.

Jefferson Keel, president of National Congress of American Indians noted that 77 American Indians and Alaskan Natives have died fighting for the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq and more than 400 have been wounded.

The Senate Indian Affairs panel had already scheduled a hearing on racial stereotypes of native people prior to the Bin Laden incident. Tuell said the inappropriate use Geronimo in the raid will certainly be discussed.