N’DAKINNA – A tweet from a local Abenaki leader is going viral this week when Chief Wendall Urive tagged GOP leaders with the message “If you don’t like criticism, go back where you came from.” The tweet came after a heated exchange between online Democrats and Republicans about the state of the nation. Urive wasn’t part of the initial exchange, but his response has attracted a lot of attention, with some conservatives calling it racist.
“What kind of Abenaki name is Wendall?” tweeted @thegreatestvermonter. “Go back to your teeppee [SIC] and stop hating white people you racist!”
Urive has responded to several of the commenters online, but spoke to The Winooski in an effort to clarify a few things.
“First of all, I want to clear up the misconception that all Abenaki are savages trying to keep you all from our hordes of gold. That is a stereotype that just isn’t true. We live in houses and have names like ‘Wendall’ these days. We live in tipis like you live at the Renaissance Faire. Also, our ancestors lived mostly in longhouses.
“Second of all, I am tired of hearing how America needs to be made great again. If you don’t like America, fine, go back home. It was doing very well before you all arrived, and I am quite sure we could make it great again once you all are gone. And by ‘you all,’ I don’t mean white people. I mean anyone complaining all day long about how terrible things are for you when you actually have it better than pretty much any other time in history. So yes, I apologize, I was talking about white people I guess.”
GOP leaders are demanding an apology from Urive, claiming that no member of their party would ever tweet anything as hurtful and nasty as what Urive tweeted at them, and that his rhetoric is unbecoming of any sort of leader.