Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R – Oklahoma)
Published November 2, 2018
WASHINGTON — Speaking on Fox News, Congressman Markwayne Mullin called the Trail of Tears a “voluntary walk.” Mullin, one of two American Indians in the 115th Congress, is a tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
Mullin made his remarks during an interview on Fox News last month as he blasted Senator Elizabeth Warren for her claims of American Indian ancestry. During the interview, Mullin said he still lives in the eastern Oklahoma city of Westville, “where my family literally stopped walking on a volunteer walk. Now, I use that as a loosely term.”
Mullin’s comment sparked this tweet from Brandon Scott of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, saying in part, “It’s called the Trail of Tears! Volunteer walk????? Are you kidding me???”
After Mullin’s “voluntary walk” comments began surfacing on social media late this week, Mullin defended his comments.
His office emailed this statement out to local media in Oklahoma:
“I know the story of my family and the history of the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee Nation states that there were Cherokees who voluntarily relocated before the forced removal. My family did exactly that—and that is what I was referring to in my comments. They moved west before the forced removal and settled near the Arkansas/Oklahoma border where my family and I still live today.”
According to newsok, Mullin blamed any confusion about his comments on “political activists” attempting to twist his words. “Let me set the record straight. I know the story of my family and the history of the Trail of Tears,” he said.
Mullin, an adamant Trump supporter, is seeking his fourth term in Congress. Next Tuesday, Mullin will face Democrat Jason Nicols, also a Cherorkee Nation tribal citizen, whose relatives arrived on the Trail of Tears.
Mullin served as co-chair of Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition. Since Trump won the presidency Mullin has voiced his support to privatize tribal lands to tap into energy products such as oil, natural gas and even coal.
RELATED: Congressman Mullin Seeks to Clarify His Statements to Privatize Tribal Lands