The Great White Gianforte Says Indians Just Need More Respect for Free Markets

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Since the Montana press is largely letting Greg Gianforte’s past vanish from the special election, we’re going to repost some of the most important stories from our coverage of him last year. Collectively and individually, they paint a picture of a man who will not represent Montanans in a way we can be proud of.

The native peoples of Montana have some experience with rich white men from back east coming to their territory and telling them they need to change their culture to become successful. It seems history is repeating itself as Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte has expanded his bigoted view of the world from the LGBTQ community to the Indian people who live on Montana’s reservations.

In a recording made in July, Gianforte is heard telling a white audience that the reason for economic difficulty in Indian country is not because of systemic racism and cultural degradation, nor the failure of state and federal governments to truly offer the assistance Indian country needs. No, the reason the free market isn’t blooming in Indian country, according to Mr. Gianforte is the absence of rule of law, inadequate respect of property rights, nepotism, and a culture that does not celebrate success.

One expects that Mr. Gianforte will come with proposals to mandate that Indian children stop learning their own languages on reservation schools, too, and replacing those with computer coding. The former is just a means of cultural transmission and heritage preservation while the latter is a chance to work for low pay telecommuting from their reservations that often lack decent access to high-speed Internet.

Now, Greg Gianforte didn’t have the courage to tell any actual Native people his real feelings about them and reservation life. While he talks about property rights, he refuses to take a stand on the CSKT Treaty, which restores property rights and boosts economic viability for western tribes. When Gianforte talks to Montana Indian leaders directly, he assures them that, as governor, he will boost prosperity on reservations, but the measure of a bigot is what he says when his target isn’t in the room.

Mr. Gianforte believes that Montana Indian peoples lack the values and culture to become economically success, raising two important questions: why would Montana elect a bigot governor and how would Gianforte, if elected, change these issues he sees as obstacles?

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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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Janet Goodell
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Janet Goodell

Where was this address given and to whom? Sounds something like DJT’s address ostensibly for African Americans but given to a white audience. I tweeted then that he would maybe address NA’s from his golf club in Scotland.

Publius II
Guest
Publius II

Spot ON, T-rump and ‘G’ are both TONE deaf….fyi, SCOTLAND did NOT want to leave the UK Donald DUCK, you twit (as Brits call him), and he should know that as his mother emigrated from SCOTLAND during the Great Depression and TOOK a job from an out of work American if T-Rump’s anti-world argument would hold….

Rocky
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Rocky

I believe Gianforte’s arrogance stems from his belief that American Indians don’t vote. I hope they prove him wrong.

Lillian Big Man
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Lillian Big Man

Perhaps Gianforte and his family need to move to a reservation and experience reservation life first hand and see how well he fares.

Publius II
Guest
Publius II

Huntley??? That’s all American Caucasian country, miles and miles away from any reservation…..duh!

Sandy Spang
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Sandy Spang

I guess it is all in how close you are to the subject. We have businesses springing up everywhere using the free advertising on facebook – food vendors, restaurants, auto detailing, website design, custom craftwork -using their heads and talents just as my father’s generation did and they did not have “handouts.” For TWENTY FIVE YEARS we ran a custom trail riding business that brought in people from ALL OVER THE WORLD and we enjoyed them all. It is as it is everywhere – look for the good and you will find it! And in EVERY WORLD the opposite is… Read more »

LK
Guest
LK

But you’re not Native, right? So kind hard to white splain to Natives how they should live their lives. Ever been discriminated against? Thought not. You see, when you’re white, you’re always right! Right?

Son of anarchy
Guest
Son of anarchy

Montanas Native American reservations have much higher suicide, burglary, alchoholism and and lower life expectancy than the rest of Montana. Is he so wrong in that the federal gov/bullock administration has not made a good solution for these historically oppressed people by making a system of dependence? Also my friends from crow country told me these unfortunate realities. I am white but feel this situation was not created by my generation. True harmony occurs when people have a purpose in life, not a tribal check to wait for.

LK
Guest
LK

History is lost on you, my friend. See, that’s why you need a candidate who is actually from Montana. You simply can’t move here and pretend to know anything about Montana. It just doesn’t happen no matter HOW much money you have. Simple solutions only come from simpletons. Things are just a wee bit more complicated than what Gianforte has said. See, not only does he not KNOW anything about Native Americans, he doesn’t even suspect anything! I’m sure that he’s met lots of Native Americans over there in Bozo land. Last I heard, it was flooded with natives! Pow… Read more »

Walks off the edge
Guest
Walks off the edge

Having taught high school on the crow reservation and lived in Montana all my life of nearly 60 years I agree with much of what he says. Oh and I am also native. The reservations are worse than ghettos and the crime and drugs and corruption is what keeps much of the native population in poverty and unable to succeed.

LK
Guest
LK

Yes but, I hope that you didn’t teach history. BTW, no one is forced to stay on the reservation. Name me just ONE treaty the white man kept with the Indian. Just one. That’s it. That’s all. So, why would any Native think that the white man will keep the social contract? I too taught near the rez, Hardin, and everywhere I taught I had Native kids. And I saw the horrible racism first hand. You taught at Prior, right? For that is the only crow high school that I know of. A history lesson for GG.

LK
Guest
LK

p.s. I have worked closely with Native people on environmental issues for the last thirty years. They are amazing. Their relationship with the Earth is powerful. And we must follow their lead if we are to provide a sustainable future for our children as well. And their power and spirit comes from their culture, sometime a white boy from Jersey could never begin to comprehend. Why? ‘Cause it’s damn hard to go on a vision quest on the Jersey shore! Or maybe a Walmart parking lot. We’re all Native Americans now, and guys like GG made that happen. He’s a… Read more »

Walks off the edge
Guest
Walks off the edge

Wonderful people. Some of the best I have ever known. The aforementioned problems however are real and blaming other people’s attitudes (racism) is not the solution or the problem.

LK
Guest
LK

Yes but, my point is that FIRST one must at least understand the problem. You do, and I do. But Gianforte hasn’t a clue. That’s all I’m saying. And one doesn’t have a clue unless you’ve lived here a long time or grown up here in Montana. That disqualifies GG from even having an opinion on the issue. Remember, that opinions are like a**holes. Everyone has one. But that don’t make it right. He embarrasses himself and insults Native Americans every time he opens his mouth on the issue. Not only that, he reinforces stereotypes and sends subtle and not… Read more »

Vince LaRoche
Guest
Vince LaRoche

I am Native American and probebly not going to vote for this guy purely on his stance of land issues and hunting access.
with that said he has a point… it is time for tribal people and officials to start working towards a better comunity and infrastructure… and if you can’t get the fuck out

Bill
Guest
Bill

Vince, I like your input. Also, beware of the usual twisted political rhetoric based on emotional intimidation and not the facts as reported by the Missouian: “Gov. Steve Bullock and Democratic organizers took aim at Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte on Monday after an anonymous liberal blog surfaced …….” and “The incident provided fodder for Democrats who sought to extend their narrative……..”

Makes you want to vote for Gianforte just so you don’t show support for this type of tactics.

JD
Guest
JD

Are you kidding me?! If you really think that GG and the Republicans don’t use the same kind of bull crap mud slinging, than you need to pull your head out of your bung.

The air plane, Bullock having an affair? Give me a break.

Greg Gianforte has no idea what it’s like to struggle in his life. Yeah he worked hard for his money, but he came from money, he is money. He is a joke.

I hope he decides to run for Governor again and Brian Schweitzer kicks his rump.

LK
Guest
LK
LK
Guest
LK

Whoa, wait, what?? Did he REALLY say that? Why yes he did! GG said that the reason the rez doesn’t prosper is because of a “lack of nepotism”! That’s surely what the tribes need is more nepotism, right? Methinks that GG ain’t the sharpest knife in the drawer! I think maybe some online English classes might be in order for the smartest man in Montana! His cultural language skills are lacking!

Edward R Burrow
Guest
Edward R Burrow
Bill
Guest
Bill

of course I would favor life long politicians like Bullock and the past administration based on their success rather than a very successful businessman and his ability to pick the right team members……..not….

LK
Guest
LK

Right you ARE, mr. bill. GG is the smartest dude in the room! Oh sure, he has NO clue as to what the word nepotism means, but what the heck. He’s a computer nerd! And we all know that computer nerds are the most well-rounded folks out there, right? Can’t expect a c nerd to speaka the English very well, for they speak their special computer languages! No need for English. And speakin’ of languages, GG is kinda like the Native Americans himself. For you see, he’s also a code talker, just like the Navajo. Yup. When GG says property… Read more »

Bill
Guest
Bill

Well, lets see how the Native American”s vote. Four more years of the same?

And the usual twisted political rhetoric based on emotional intimidation and not the facts as reported by the Missouian: “Gov. Steve Bullock and Democratic organizers took aim at Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte on Monday after an anonymous liberal blog surfaced …….” and “The incident provided fodder for Democrats who sought to extend their narrative……..”

Find out the read facts.

Makes you want to vote for Gianforte just so you don’t show support for this type of tactics.

LK
Guest
LK

I don’t know what you’re talking about, Bill. Could you provide a link? BTW, I seriously doubt that the Native vote will go to GG.

Bill
Guest
Bill

LK, you tell me? Who do you think the Native American’s will vote for that may provide the best odds economic improvement. with 4 more years of Bullock or a very successful businessman GG?

LK
Guest
LK

Ya got me again, Bill. For you see, I’m not really educated in the school of business. But wait! THESE guys are. And this is what they have to say about guys like our very own GG. http://www.businessinsider.com/asshole-ceos-startup-founders-and-success-2014-11 I, like all the Natives I know, will be voting for Bullock. We like real people, not outta state arrogant yahoos like Mr. I-was-only-joking-when-I-cut-off-access! I’m thinkin’ that maybe G-O-D told him to block off access so that his fundi pals could go down to the river to pray and take a nice cold holy dunkin’! Baptized in the privacy of GG’s own… Read more »

Bill
Guest
LK
Guest
LK

OUCH! Right in the old donuts! I think ol’ GG’s relatives felt that one clean back in Jersey! The smartest bald headed dude in Montana just got outfoxed again! Maybe he needs a wee bit more nepotism in his portfolio!

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/local/2016/08/23/outdoor-businesses-gather-discuss-threats/89240414/

His fruity labor is showing!

Bill
Guest
Bill

This was more in response to LK response and Vince LaRoche concerns to GG property rights.

Stacy Jacobs
Guest
Stacy Jacobs

This is a ridiculous article that completely twists and misrepresents what he believes and actually said.

LK
Guest
LK

Here it comes! I knew that this was coming. The fascists to NOT care one whit what you think. They WILL use violence to get their way and they don’t care who sees it. Dogs on peaceful protestors? Why not?! Indiscriminate use of pepper spray by thugs on people? Why not?! These are NOT cops. They are thugs! Goons, just like in the old days. Goons for hire. There’s an endless supply! Now, where does it go from here? Again, I don’t want to think about it. But I know that the Indian people will NOT stand down at Standing… Read more »

LK
Guest
LK

Even the oil industry knows that this pipeline is a loser. And they admit it! What does that tell you about the thugs using violence? Yes, this maybe be Keystone II, or it may be Wounded Knee II. Or both!

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Dakota-Access-Pipeline-Is-Set-To-Become-The-Second-Keystone-XL.html

Bill
Guest
Bill

The other Bill. LK, Montana gets 80 million a year from pipeline property taxes. Some eastern Montana counties have very low property tax because of this.

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