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Silly Outrage Over "Geronimo" Code Name for Osama Bin Laden

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

It is the height -- or depth -- of political correctness: several prominent Native Americans are outraged that the military used the code name "Geronimo" for Osama Bin Laden during the raid that killed him.

After Bin Laden was gunned down, the message sent to the White House was: "Geronimo EKIA," which stands for enemy killed in action.

That didn't sit well with Loretta Tuell, staff director and chief counsel for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. A member of the Nez Perce tribe, Tuell called Geronimo "one of the greatest Native American heroes," and said using his name in association with a hated terrorist was just not right.

"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 said.

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The Senate Indian Affairs panel had previously scheduled a hearing for Thursday on racial stereotypes of native people. Tuell said this self-manufactured Geronimo controversy will be discussed.

Steven Newcomb, a columnist for the weekly newspaper Indian Country Today, also took issue with it, writing:

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.

Paula Antoine of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota said this: "It's another attempt to label Native Americans as terrorists."

However, there is some rational thinking in the Native American community. Jefferson Keel, president of National Congress of American Indians, the largest organization representing American Indians and Alaska Natives, said, "Osama bin Laden was a shared enemy."

He pointed out that 77 American Indians and Alaskan Natives have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with more than 400 others wounded.

The Associated Press tried to get a comment about this from the White House. A spokesman told a reporter to ask the Pentagon. A Pentagon spokeswoman had nothing to say.

Geronimo, by the way, was an Apache leader in the 19th century who fought the Mexican and U.S. armies for years until he finally surrendered in 1886.