Richard Nixon: Our First Native American President

Richard Nixon: Our First Native American President

Bill Clinton may have been the first African American president (sorry, Barry), but Richard Nixon is being hailed as the first Native American president.

Of course, it's the Nixon Foundation that's doing the hailing for Orange County's favorite disgraced son.

This headline is over a Nixon Foundation item on the Dick booster group and the National Archives having presented a May 23 Nixon Legacy Forum at Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma: "RN: The First Native American President."

There's no evidence anyone has actually said that--although we bet Elizabeth Warren was thinking it--but American Indian leaders were reportedly present to laud Nixon the president for having reversed two centuries of mistreatment against America's tribal nations. This was encapsulated in a July 1970 message about self-determination.

"President Nixon got it right," Walter Echo-Hawk, a University of Tulsa law professor and Pawnee Nation Supreme Court justice, is quoted as saying at the event. "The creation of that policy in 1970 was a historic moment."

As far as Echo-Hawk is concerned, that moment rivaled "in importance the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, and the women's movement in American history."

The question now, besides where to put the presidential teepee at the Yorba Linda Dickland, is what Nixon's Indian name would have been. Chief Stubbly Face? Chief Slopey Nose. Chief Forked Tongue?

Strangely, in announcing Nixon as the nation's first Indian president, 18 1/2 minutes of smoke signals were missing.

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