October 31, 2022 Press Releases

In Meeting with Tribes, Kari Lake Excuses Campaign Manager’s Racist Tweet

Lake Insults, Ignores and Dismisses Other Tribal Leaders’ Concerns 

Kari Lake was outright disrespectful to Arizona’s tribal leaders during a meeting of the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona. Hopi Tribal Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma specifically asked Lake about her campaign manager’s vile tweet mocking Indigenous People’s Day with a deeply racist photo of Native Americans.


Chairman Nuvangyaoma told Lake, “I don’t think you realize the full gravity of that tweet.”  Lake decided to further insult Arizona’s 22 tribal nations by excusing her staffer’s tweet and blaming it on his age.  “They do stupid things…I can’t control everything they do,” Lake said. 


Even worse, earlier this year Lake refused to acknowledge her troubling comments that showed her ignorance of Indigenous history, which were panned by Indigenous advocates. 


Stephen Lewis, Governor of the Gila River Indian Community was not pleased with Lake’s response. “If Kari Lake can’t apologize for racism put out by her campaign manager, then who can? Leaders take responsibility for their team’s actions – especially when it comes from ‘the most important person on the campaign,’” Lewis wrote on Twitter.  


Chairman Nuvangyaoma also asked about Lake’s position on abortion and women’s health care. Lake repeated her stance on abortion, saying “I’m going to save as many babies as I can.” Lake also sidestepped concerns about ensuring Native peoples’ access to voting, saying only that she would work to ensure that every voter would know their vote counted. 


“Real leaders step up and take responsibility, they don’t make excuses for racism. This is further proof that Lake doesn’t have the backbone or the leadership skills Arizona needs in a governor,” said Josselyn Berry, spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party. 


More Reactions from Indigenous Leaders:


Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis: “Arizona’s Native peoples deserve better. All Arizonans should denounce this racist garbage.”



Debbie Nez-Manuel, a Navajo and national committeewoman for the Arizona Democratic Party: Lake owes all Indigenous people a heartfelt apology for the “gross imagery” and “ignorant” racist message of her campaign manager, Nez-Manuel said. “It’s just infuriating. This is probably one of the worst things I’ve seen….Kari Lake is the candidate. She’s 100% responsible for whatever her campaign manager does.”

State Senator Victoria Steele, a Tucson Democrat who is of Seneca/Cayuga Native ancestry: “Just because someone can read a teleprompter does not mean she has the intellectual ability to read and understand a history book. Clearly, she has lost her moral center if this is the kind of behavior she tolerates in her campaign.