Native Americans Don't Love Senate Candidate's 'War Cry'
Loretta Sanchez made 'offensive' gesture during Democratic convention
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2015 11:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – She jump-started her campaign for a US Senate seat just days ago, but Loretta Sanchez has already put her foot in her mouth—by putting her hand to her mouth. The California congresswoman was talking with a group of Indian Americans at her state's Democratic convention Saturday night when she was caught making an unsavory gesture and statement on camera, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I'm going to his office, thinkin' that I'm gonna go meet with woo-woo-woo-woo, right? 'Cause he said 'Indian American,'" she said, tapping her hand to her mouth in a stereotypical Native American "war cry," CNN notes. One San Jose delegate who claimed she was in the room said, per the Orange County Register, "Everyone was just shocked," while an Irvine delegate noted, "[It] was the kind of behavior you'd expect to see at a preschool." California AG Kamala Harris, Sanchez's opponent, added, per KCRA, "You know, I don't know what to say to that. That's shocking."

Meanwhile, the Pechanga Tribal Chairman emailed a statement to the Times that "she knows better, and we are very disappointed." It's not Sanchez's first time raising eyebrows. Among her other cringeworthy feats, per CNN: setting up a 2000 fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion and accusing a Vietnamese Republican challenger in 2010 of being "very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic." Sanchez started the apology trail on Sunday, saying that her actions came amid a whirlwind of a "crazy and exciting rush of meetings" and that politicians "who don't hide behind handlers" sometimes err, the Sacramento Bee reports; she also defended her support of human and minority rights, saying that Native American tribes "know that I have always had their backs." Plus this: "And they know what many of you don't know. Like so many Mexican Americans, I am proudly part Native American—on my mother's side." (Native Americans didn't put up with Adam Sandler's latest movie, either.)