Native Americans on Pro-Gun Billboards Create Controversy

(CNN) -- A pro-gun billboard that features images of Native Americans is drawing both contempt and support in Colorado.

"Turn in your arms. The government will take care of you," the sign says.

While the sarcasm is evident, the group behind the message is not. Lamar Advertising, the company that owns the billboard, told CNN affiliate KUSA that the group who paid for the message wants to remain anonymous.

Regardless, the billboard has outraged some residents in Greeley, about 50 miles north of Denver.

"I think it is insensitive, because even though it is what may have happened in the past, people are still living that. Relatives are still living that," Kerri Salazar, a Greeley resident and Native American, told KUSA.

"I personally do not own a gun. I don't feel the need to, but for those that do, that is their right," Salazar said.

"My hope would be is that they can just take the picture down, leave the saying. ... Believe me, I get it."

But Dudley Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, told CNN he supported the billboard.

"Where can we send a check to support more?" he asked.

Some say the billboard makes light of the cruelties the federal government inflicted on Native Americans.

Maureen Brucker told the Greeley Tribune the billboard reminded her of the horrors of the Wounded Knee Massacre on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1890.

According to a historical reports, a few hundred Sioux left their reservation to visit a dying chief. The Sioux surrendered quietly to troops, who disarmed almost all of them.

But a scuffle broke out over one man's rifle. A shot rang out from the group of struggling men, and soldiers with machine guns fired into the Native Americans, who were armed only with clubs and knives. An estimated 150 to 200 Native Americans were killed, including dozens of women and children -- some miles away from the camp. A few dozen soldiers were reportedly killed.

Brucker told the Tribune she thinks those behind the billboard should talk about their views openly.

"I thought it was pretty cowardly that someone would put something like that up and spend the money for a billboard but didn't have the courage to put their name on it," she said.

Responses to "Pro-gun billboard featuring Native Americans draws ire (Video)"

  1. Angi says:

    I think that those who feel it is making light of the situation are missing the point. This it brings to mind Wounded Knee to Ms. Bruker IS the point. That is the WHOLE point. The purpose of the billboard is clear - why should Americans trust a government who can practice genocide, who can round up all Japanese and put them in internment camps, who would take away the rights of law-abiding citizens under the guise of "safety" leaving them helpless, as these men and women were? The image is evocative exactly *because* it illustrates the point that the US Government cannot be trusted to behave honorably towards its citizens.

  2. Unknown says:

    I am Native, and I do not take offense to this billboard. It speaks the truth. What I take offense to is the the Lies that are told in History classes in the schools about the first thanksgiving. That is one of the BIGGEST lies and most offensive story that has not only been told once, it is told every day in History classes across the nation.

  3. Michelle says:

    If anything this is good publicity for improving the living conditions for Native Americans.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I see where majority would be hurt by this..majority rules. Ugh.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Who is demanding, out even asking anyone to"turn in their arms"?

  6. lowbar77 says:

    Wow, what a mixed bag of stuff. I would have to agree with Angi's statement above. I would hope that this wouldn't offend any Native Americans. They were treated with complete injustice. They were forced into signing agreements, then were disarmed, moved from their homes, and eventually brutalized and killed by our government. (I live in Mankato, MN, where there was the largest mass execution of Native Americans in the country.)Then our government just decides that the agreements that they signed do not have to be fulfilled. What a crock! The Native American people of this country deserve a sincere apology, in the very least, from our government and reparations for the money they never received.

    As a side note, this ad just points out that our government cannot be trusted to take care of anyone. If you believe otherwise, then you haven't learned anything from history.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Did Lamar Advertising have permission and approval of Native Americans?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Our government cannot take care of itself, let alone anyone else...!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Re:Anon. Who says Lamar has to get anybody's permission or approval for free speech? Seems most native Americans would agree with the message. All (ALL) can use historical images and comment freely about history and politics. Free speech is free speech.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am not of this country. I am a UK migrant living in Australia but I feel strongly on this issue. I agree there is a dark and sorry history - but should that be used to prevent taking steps to end gun violence today? The lessons of history are very important and should inform what we do today and in the future. We need to be more clever about this, not just to avoid replicating the mistakes of the past, but in finding new ways to ensure everyone's safety. Use history to improve not to stalemate. How many more innocent children must be killed, as they were in the past? Remember them - distant and recent past and present. Now please think about what needs to change to end this violence and ensure greater safety for all?

  11. Anonymous says:

    The day after the gun Ban in Australia a jewelry store was robbed by men using Machetes. I am part NA and agree with the sign. My family still has a deed for 6000 acres On L.I.NY approved by the Dutch and English Courts. Unfortunately, the Town of Huntington refuses to move. Now NY is still trying to stop N.A.s from selling tax free cigarettes on territorial Reservation. Conn. didn't have the worst school massacre, it happened at Wounded Knee, Twenty three soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for that action. Bow your heads you idiots!

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