- By Darren Thompson
NEW YORK — During news coverage on Native American Heritage Month, ABC reporter Kyra Phillips misspoke and referred to Indigenous people as “Indigenous creatures” on ABC News’ streaming channel on Thursday morning.
“Celebrating Native American Heritage Month, when we come back we’ll take a look at Indigenous creatures taking Hollywood and pop-culture by storm,” Phillips mistakenly said on Thursday's broadcast.
The mistake has been corrected, and the news company hasn’t issued an explanation to the error, which was captured and published on TikTok by user @indigenousdronepilot.
“I was taken back when I first seen it, but not surprised,” Brooke Waukau (Johnson), whose TikTok handle is @indigenousdronepilot, told Native News Online. “For outsiders looking in, that misuse of words could look like a harmless mistake, but for Indigenous people it is a reminder of the mistrust and broken relationship we have with the media.”
As of press time, the video has had more than 730,000 views, thousands of shares, and social media is abuzz with memes, comments, and posts.
Popular social media handle Injun Comedy said in a post on Facebook, “We’re not ‘something else’ any more, we’re ‘Indigenous creatures’ now.” The popular social media group has more than 225,000 followers and has already posted links to merchandise that have the text “Indigenous creatures.”
Native Hoop Magazine posted on its social media today, defending the ABC News story about Native American Heritage Month. “That clip of ABC News calling us indigenous creatures is taken way out of context,” Native Hoop Magazine wrote on its Facebook on Friday. It shared a link to the network’s publication of the story and its title includes “Native American creators.”
The ABC story was about Native American people involved in the creation of several hit shows such as Reservation Dogs and the movie Prey.
“We don’t want them to honor us once a year for Native American Heritage Month,” said Waukau, who’s also a MMIW Task Force Coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. “We want them to do their job all year round and run stories on our missing men, women, and children.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article erroneously named 20/20 anchor Amy Robach as the anchor who referred to Native Americans as "Indigenous creatures." The ABC reporter who made the reference is Kyra Phillips.
More Stories Like ThisNative Bidaské with Sterlin Harjo, Award Winning Filmmaker and Co-creator and Showrunner of “Reservation Dogs”
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Hears 30% of Navajo Nation Homes Lack Running Water
Lawsuit Filed by Fort Belknap Indian Community Against Greenberg Traurig, LLP Reads Like a Movie Script
Special Edition Native Bidaské: Oglala Composer Mato Wayuhi
Ho-Chunk Trucker Spreads MMIP Message, Offers Safe Haven from Domestic Violence
Native News is free to read.
We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps. Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.