Dennis Rehberg’s Disrespect for Montana Indians

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One of the more infamous moments in Denny Rehberg’s entirely undistinguished career as Lt. Governor was his insensitive and incorrect observation that it was wasteful to spend money on AIDS/HIV, because “The problem with AIDS is you get it, you die, so why are we spending [money on] any people that get it?” It seems that Mr. Rehberg didn’t limit his offensive remarks to people with AIDS/HIV, as this letter, sent in by a reader, demonstrates. Published in 1994 in the Havre Bear Paw Bulletin, it shows Representative Rehberg in an incredibly troubling light, as he said that “Indians only work long enough hours to collect a check and then they’re gone,” among other remarks about American Indians.

Those attitudes are not only unbecoming of a U.S Senate hopeful; they’re unbecoming of a human being. Representative Rehberg’s inaccurate, disparaging remarks about Indian people in Montana are a sure indicator that he won’t work on their behalf in the U.S. Senate and that he doesn’t represent the values Montanans  support.

Shame on you, Mr. Rehberg.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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Iris FitzSHAWN RUNNING CRANEDARLENE BRIONESTerry SwisseGoingtowarnomore Recent comment authors
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CulbertsonGuy
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CulbertsonGuy

It’s not like he’s wrong about Indians. You never can get a day’s work from them.

Mal Gills
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Mal Gills

Coming from the guy posting tasteless jokes on blogs at 2:30 in the afternoon…

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers
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Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers

Come to work with ME some day, cupcake, and we’ll see how long you last! What a jerk. If you don’t puke and sneak out before noon, I’ll believe what you say. Open offer. Let me know when you’re ready, fat welfare farmer dude!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Fuk u cracker…

bruce
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bruce

Culbertson guy… liked your comment… tell me something…you live next to a reservation…would you hire a indian ?…no.. try firefighting… but someone like you would probaly die from the work…

bruce
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bruce

I know how to solve it… we were forced on indian reservations… if you dont like them…. leave this country

Norma Duffy (@Ilikewoods)
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I wrote a piece on my blog recently about Rehberg and other GOP trying to force Indian Tribal lands to only be able to trade with one other country….. Turkey! http://ilikewoods.blogspot.com/2012/07/nit-picking-new-gop-montana-way.html
The problem being, Turkey Mistreats its indigenous people pretty badly!

The Mans not right for Montana!

Iris Fitz
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Iris Fitz

Well, who said he was right for Montana in the first place?…Only himself?…and the people that were paid?…how sad…!!

incent Denny
Guest

Why,is anybody surprised,that anyone in Montana,would make such a statement?..as former owners of this continent,we should not even have to work even half a day,had we been dealt with honestly and fairly,for our resources,and land base. Instead,we’re a afforded,a pittance,that the recent Cobell decision affords us. Instead of the vast share of wealth,that the white people have enjoyed,up to now. God,will not let the treatment of we,Natives,historically,stand. There,is an comeuppance,far worse,than the orchestrators of the Holocaust. Disparaging remarks,racially superior atitudes,overt discrimination, only covers the now time, soon,someone,will have to answer,for our deaths,by massacre,and slow deaths by disease and starvation. White… Read more »

Iris Fitz
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Iris Fitz

If it weren’t for us Indians, where would he be? Who would he be? What would he be? He nor his followers are no better than we, at least we have tradition, honor, open mindedness and willingness to move along and not vote for the wrong person…what do they have?

Pamela Spang
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Pamela Spang

Danny brought a load of donations from Billings Food Bank when we were having the Ash Fire. My husband is the President of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. He was introduced to him and Danny totally ignored him. Never said good to meet you or is there anything I can do. He just brushed him off with”I have to go we are going to look at the fire”. I am a breed and I was totally shocked by his snub. Tester and Bacus came and sat down with him and had a good talk. They were very helpful. Any Indian who… Read more »

HelenaInsider
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HelenaInsider

One of the most disturbing news pieces I have get read out of Montana.

Sarah
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Sarah

Rehberg’s comments are despicable. Good blog post. A word of advice though — the members and descendants of the tribes are not “Montana’s Indians”…just a thought. Thanks for posting this info!

Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson

Sarah’s right. Native American/Montana Indians is a misnomer. Bering Straight crossers would be a more descriptive definition. From Wiki. “The discovery of Kennewick Man, along with other ancient skeletons, has furthered scientific debate over the exact origin and history of early Native American people.[4] One hypothesis holds that a single wave of migration occurred, consisting of hunters and gatherers following large herds of game, which wandered across the Bering land bridge around 12,000 years ago. Other hypotheses contend that there were numerous waves of migration to the Americas. The apparent diversity of ancient skeletal remains, which may include traits not… Read more »

Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson

And ya think you can come up with a more current article?

18 years ago? Really Don?

Did he play cowboys and indians in grade school?

HelenaInsider
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HelenaInsider

Pretty weak response, Ingy.

Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson

Pretty weak indictment. He made “derogatory statements”? Really? Statements so weak that they’re laughable perhaps?

Then’s there’s the work ethic question. You guys have any experience with NA labor? Could you say NA’s are reliable workers? Consistently on the job? Prone to longevity?

Moorcat
Guest

As do I….

Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson

Happy to oblige.

Indian reservations hold some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Average on the whole about 50%.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-111shrg57830/html/CHRG-111shrg57830.htm

Montana reservations, especially in the east, are logistically located adjacent to the oil fields and ND 3% unemployment rate.

50%>3%, so why the difference?

Is that 200 mile drive just a little too long?

Moorcat
Guest

OK.. so let me get this straight. You are saying that Natives are bad employees because the Reservation Unemployment rate is some of the highest in the Country?

You really are a wackjob, Swede.

Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson

No I’m saying any healthy 18+ year old able bodied eastern Montanan (white black yellow or red) can jump in a car or hitch hike approx. 200 miles to the east and get a high paying job.

Period.

You figure it out, Einstein.

HelenaInsider
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HelenaInsider

You are seriously unreal… wow.

Iris Fitz
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Iris Fitz

When will you guys stop trying to figure out the Indian? You never will!

Gerri
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Gerri

Wow really?? You really expect someone to erive 200 miles to get a good paying job? 200 miles from Belknap wouldn’t get you anywhere near places with good paying jobs. What about the car to get to that job? People who are poor run into obstacles such as transportation issues, such as a good running vehicle and money for gas to make it 200 miles. Unemployment is high, the infrastructure is not in place to create good paying jobs on most reservations. The jobs that are available are minimum wage part-time jobs which does no more than put groceries on… Read more »

Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson

Really? How ’bout looking here.

http://www.jobsnd.com/sites/default/files/Oilfield%20Employment%20Guide.pdf

Some oil field jobs provide room and board, even maid service.

Gotta pass random drug testing tho.

T.Jimmy
Guest

As far back as I can remember.First Nations have always worked put in more then eight hours.I guess this is something you do not see.Some work from sun up to sun down still go home and look after their family.I would not let people know that you were my co-worker if I was working along side of you.As far as I can see you were brought up with no manners.

DarkWing
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DarkWing

Poor Dingy Ingy. As most idiots do, you speak in generalities. You bet your ass there are Native Americans that are NOT very good employees, and yes there are some that might be called lazy. But, let’s not forget the GREAT employees, the ones searching every day for a job, the extremely intelligent, the ones that show up for work early every day, the ones that go the extra mile for their employers and/or customers, the ones that don’t ask anyone for anything. These folks far outnumber the bad. Do a little research on how your statistic are calculated. They,… Read more »

Goingtowarnomore
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Goingtowarnomore

All politician are from the same mold…can’t trust a word from any of them!

Iris Fitz
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Iris Fitz

Ha Ha You surely got that one right!

Terry Swisse
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Terry Swisse

The comments I’m seeing is pointless and if you have lived on a reservation you would know there aren’t enough jobs to go around and Denny making these comments suck from a man who is supposed to care about the people he serves, Rehberg and the swede are both assholes and don’ t know what they are saying! There is no need to run people down and ones who do are jerks guess I’m doing the same but only doing so because I’m in the right and they are wrong

Iris Fitz
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Iris Fitz

Thats right! You are right and they are totally wrong…how boring…if I spent most of my time analyzing and researching the european caucasian!! I guess doing research on a race of people makes them racist…i don’t know and don’t want to know. They are pitiful people! Rehberg, johansson and all of them that came from that same mold…remember to have pity on them, because we can!

DARLENE BRIONES
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DARLENE BRIONES

there, are white people that are just as, bad any, as far as employment is, concerned. where, i’m from ,the city missions are packed, with, your kind, futhermore, i have noticed alot of, mental people, hanging around, the streets and, that is effing, scary. so, before, you run a native american down take a good look at, your own. ignorant, people, it just tells, me how you people, were raised, the attitudes are learned and, it starts in, the home….

SHAWN RUNNING CRANE
Guest

PPL. CAN BE HATEFUL,…I LIVE AND DO MY BEST TO MAKE A LIVING THE BEST I CAN,…BUT THERE ARE PPL. OF EVERY RACE THAT DON’T WORK, I AM A (BY WHAT THE GOVERNMENT CALLS ME) BLACKFEET INDIAN, I QUITE SCHOOL AT THE AGE OF 16TEEN TO RAISE A FAMILY,…I COULD NOT MAKE IT NO WHERE HARDLY BECAUSE THE WHITE MAN WOUND’NT GIVE ME A FAIR SHAKE HARDLY .(AND NOT ALL WHITE PPL. ARE LIKE THAT!) THE WHITE MAN WANTS TO LIVE ON THE LAND BUT DON’T WANT TO BE FAIR,….AND NOT ALL WHITE PPL. ARE LIKE THAT,…THE BAD SEED IS… Read more »

SHAWN RUNNING CRANE
Guest

…………….”OH” ,……AND A FEW OTHER THINGS TO YOU DENNIS REHBERG AND CULBERTSON GUY (s)……THE BIBLE TALKS ABOUT HOW ONE SHOULD WORK HARD AND SEE GOOD FROM IT, IT TALKS ABOUT HOW TO BE HONEST, HOW TO TREAT YOUR FELLOW MAN, HOW TO BE GOOD TO YOUR ANIMALS, TO THE LAND,………..BECAUSE THIS IS PLEASING TO THE LORD……………….SO QUIT CRYING AROUND ABOUT ALL THIA BULL [email protected]#$%^&*&^%$# AND GET OFF YOUR @SS’ES AND DO SOMETHING TO MAKE THIS A BETTER COUNTRY,……..A BETTER WORLD……PEOPLE THAT WAT TO TREAT OTHERS LIKE THEIR NOTHING ARE THE ONE THAT ARE HATEFUL,IGNORANT………AND ABOVE AL,……OBTUSE! (bet you did’nt think… Read more »

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