Col. George Armstrong Custer (Courtesy; Pat Rogers, Republican National Committee leader (Courtesy; Gov. Susana Martinez, R-N.M. (Courtesy

RNC Official Says NM Governor Disrespected Custer by Meeting American Indians

Rob Capriccioso

WASHINGTON – Pat Rogers, a Republican National Committee (RNC) leader, is facing calls for his dismissal after telling the staff of Gov. Susana Martinez, R-N.M., that because she agreed to meet with American Indians, she disrespected the memory of Col. George Armstrong Custer.

Custer is infamous for being a U.S. Army commander in the mid-1800s who killed many American Indians during what are historically known as the Indian Wars. He was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

Rogers is a GOP lobbyist and partner with the Modrall law firm of Albuquerque, New Mexico. A recent member of the RNC Executive Committee, he is also an RNC National Committeeman for his state. He is currently in Tampa, Florida preparing for the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Rogers was appointed to the GOP executive committee by former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who faced his own Indian-themed controversy after using the phrase "honest injun" in 2010.

Rogers made the Custer-friendly statement in an e-mail obtained by Independent Source PAC and publicized by ProgressNow New Mexico, a liberal advocacy organization that is urging his exit from the RNC. Organizers with the group say his writing was a “tactless and bigoted statement.”

Rogers' Email - Courtesy

“The state is going to hell,” Rogers wrote in part of the e-mail. “Col. [Allen] Weh would not have dishonored Col. Custer in this manner.” Weh was a Republican candidate for governor of New Mexico in 2010 who ran against Martinez.

The e-mail was sent following a meeting in June between Martinez and the state's tribes, according to ProgressNow. It was directed to senior members of the governor’s administration. The governor’s office has not responded to requests for comment.

“George Armstrong Custer may be regarded as a kind of military hero by Pat Rogers, but to the Native peoples of America Custer represents the bellicose imperialism that was responsible for the systematic slaughter of American Indians throughout this continent,” according to an e-mail being circulated by ProgressNow.

"Such a blatantly racist statement against our Native people is offensive from anyone, but to come from a national GOP leader and lobbyist for some of our country's largest corporations is indefensible," said Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, in a statement.

"These e-mails show the contempt and disrespect New Mexico's Republican leadership has for our Native people. Unless they drop Pat Rogers immediately, we can rightly assume that those organizations he speaks for, including the RNC, Modrall Sperling and his lobbying clients, feel the same way."

“Well, there’s an entirely different angle to this," added Chris Stearns, a Navajo lawyer and chairman of the Seattle Human Rights Commission. "I think you could argue that when Gov. Martinez met with Pat Rogers, she disrespected the memory of intelligent people everywhere.”

ProgressNow New Mexico has posted an online tool that allows people to e-mail RNC leaders and the corporate CEOs of Rogers' law firm and lobbying clients to call for his firing.

Rogers was forced to resign in July from the board of a state group, the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, after his role in a separate e-mail scandal was investigated. He had been criticized for using personal e-mail accounts to contact state government officials attempting to influence their decision-making--a practice that carries questions under state law.

The RNC and Rogers have not responded to requests for comment, although they have previously taken umbrage with ProgressNow New Mexico for its activism.

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modestomartinez's picture
Submitted by modestomartinez on
Custer disrespected our American Indians long before

bertkaulaity's picture
Submitted by bertkaulaity on
This just goes to show how deep and wide the indifferences the political parties are towards the Native Americans, setting us back with their racist statements, Mr. Rogers Thats a laugh, looks like we're seeing the true nature of one of this nations political leaders, I'm voting for sure and it won't be for the

notnek's picture
Submitted by notnek on
I have become use to the fact that ,acceptance of any color or culture contrary to the doctrine of Discovery will never change. This is nothing new from the right that believes or will never educate themselves to any facts about the lives and conditions of the people.

tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Rob Capriccioso, your article is akin to race baiting and racial agitation correlating with the themes of Democratic "Re-gressive" movements, i.e. ProgressNow New Mexico. Obviously "George Custer" has nothing to do with history of State of New Mexico and Gov. Martinez. New Mexico was a territory in the Southwest and Custer is synomous with the Greater Northern Plain. Kit Carson would have been more synomous with State of New Mexico.

tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
DISRESPECT????? Heck, Sonny Skyhawk has a blurp on how Matt Lauer of NBC's today show used "INDIAN GIVER" to describe his co-host>>>>>> Progressives have just as many douchebags to disrespect as one-sided allegations to any-one with an "R" in their political party..... Come on people, don't believe all the news that is spoon fed to you.

gnscott's picture
Submitted by gnscott on
This clown makes the following statement: "secret supporters (all along) of JAJ". I took the trouble to register to this site to ask one question: What in the world is "JAJ"?

evansbarr's picture
Submitted by evansbarr on
after 500 years,the only things that change is time, the mentality is the same.his culture is greed.

evansbarr's picture
Submitted by evansbarr on
after 500 years,the only things that change is time, the mentality is the same.his culture is i didn't

michaelmack's picture
Submitted by michaelmack on
Using Rogers rationale, every President since at least Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Republican and Democratic, have been dissing Custer. No, when politicians make some inane comment such as this, especially when all the historical facts show how ludicrous (and stupid) such comments are, they have another political agenda in mind. The questions to ask are: what is Rogers REALLY after? Usually such politicians are just grandstanding for some personal agenda. In this case Indians simply are used as a convenient scapegoat. So what's really going on here? Perhaps nothing. But such comments reveal how easily politicans feel that Indians can be used for their convenience. The real issue is when is Indian Country going to stand up and say "we're not going to take this anymore"? Until we do this, we will remain convenient scapegoats for any ignorant loudmouth.

jojojohnny's picture
Submitted by jojojohnny on
It was Pat Rogers, not Capriccioso who said that meeting with native Americans was disrespecting Custer - how is the author race baiting by pointing that out? It's an incredibly prejudiced statement...or do you agree with it? Should everyone in the government avoid meeting with native American groups to keep from disrespecting the people who slaughtered the groups' ancestors?

tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
For those who ONLY see through skin color, DISRESPECT comes from ALL RACIAL COLORS. Barrack Obama.DISRESPECTS Fort Sill Apache Nation by referring all questions to the Defense Department! >>>>>>>>>> Harlyn Geronimo, Geronimo's great-grandson, said to the Senate Commission on Indian Affairs,[38] "(use of 'Geronimo' in the raid that killed Bin Laden) either was an outrageous insult (or) mistake. And it is clear from the military records released that the name Geronimo was used at times by military personnel involved for both the military operation and for Osama Bin Laden himself." >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Funny how disrespect isn't just from those aweful Republicans.

zontor's picture
Submitted by zontor on
This is my first post on this site. What race baiting? Obviously you have no understanding of the US policies towards the native population from our inception through to today. And you want to know what is the ultimate hypocrisy? Everyone in this country admits the native population has been screwed for over 500 years and the answer? Screw them even more. This issue isn't left or right it is a systemic problem with Western civilization believing it is superior to any other culture it has met. I find it appalling you would publish such a glaringly ignorant comment. Besides Custer was a primadonna who got what he deserved.

gsevalikova's picture
Submitted by gsevalikova on
Both political parties have committed many sorry acts and they are not done yet,it seems. I do wonder if Pat Rogers had early negative incidents,like fistfihgts,getting beaten up,maybe,and he's hated Native Americans ever since? Could he be a closet Fascist also? In the Democratic party there really is communist agitaors out here,anyway. And there are Fascists in the Republican party,and some GOP activists are trying to root tham out.

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
What an ignorant & bigotted washichu! I will not even mention the evil one this bigot even named. Needless to say, this one whose name shall not pass my lips got EXACTLY what he deserved in 1876! Too many in this western society deem those of us who do not agree with their idea of what makes someone or some society civilized to be the enemy & needing conquered & destroyed. I have news for these ignorant ones. OUR peoples were far, far more civilized than any of them ever were in those days. We helped these weaklings to survive the harsh winters. We taught them how to hunt the game, plant gardens, etc. OUR peoples are the ones who have been offended when maligned with such nonsense as this washichu spouts. After all these years OUR peoples are STILL being taken advantage of, lied about, our women & children harmed & our elders disrespected. Just recently I read a news article from a native newspaper that was about an election. This woman who is native, went door to door asking folks to vote for her. Some of the ignorant ones she ran into at times flat out told her they would not vote for her because she WAS Indian! I was shocked to read this since this was on a reservation. Needless to say, this woman won the election in spite of the adversities she ran into while running for election! I applaud this sister in overcoming the odds. Hoa! Brothers & sisters far & wide, our many peoples STILL come across ignorance, bigotry, racism even in this day & age. What can we do about it? Live each day with pride, grace, respect & living in a manner that reflects who we all really are: A people with honor in spite of all we face in this world among those whose hearts & minds are turned evil generation after generation. March on brothers & sisters far & wide. We have no one to please but our Creator. Remember, when you hear ignorant things about our peoples, prove the ignorant ones wrong about who we as a people are. Live with honor, with respect, decency & proud of your tribe & where you come from. Two Bears Growling Buffalo's Thunder

Ronica Athena Bennett's picture
Ronica Athena B...
Submitted by Ronica Athena B... on
I dont know who raised you a Nazi maybe.My kiya was full blooded native american(Puyallup Tribe) and the very thought that u have no respect and find it funny to make snide remarks about a whole race of people being massacred, which wouldnt of happened if we would of only been as condesending,self righteous,and greedy as the very people we taught how to survive. I bet this Weh guy also probably wouldnt have opened his mouth with a comment that obviously was demeaning and condescending to a whole race of people even if he had racist feeling toward them cuz most people just arent that stupid. I dont care if he gets fired for his comment toward us native americans i think he should be fired cuz of lack of intelligence.He obviously cares about what this Weh guy would do so thought Id add that in maybe will make a light go off in his head.