PBPN Tribal Council Issues Statement On Negative Comments In Topeka Mayor’s Speech

April 24, 2012 –

MAYETTA:  The Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Council issued a statement yesterday to the Topeka Capital-Journal in response to negative comments made about Indians during a speech that Mayor Bill Bunten gave at the State of the Community Event in front of approximately 350 people sponsored by the Topeka Chamber of Commerce.

In seeking to make fun of Shawnee County Commission Chairman Ted Ensley, after following him to the microphone for his speech, Bunten made several disrespectful jokes including one that said that in Ensley’s younger days, Ensley dated an Indian girl, “but when they went out dancing, it rained.”

After learning of Bunten’s remarks, Topeka attorney Pedro Irigonegaray, who was not at the event, publicly suggested that Bunten should apologize for the remarks that also were disrespectful to women and other groups.   In their statement, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Tribal Council said Bunten’s remarks were disappointing and disparaging and that the tribe has given millions of dollars to the Topeka community and northeast Kansas to help with their nonprofit organizations and schools and that they were disheartened that Bunten would discredit them and other groups which did nothing but perpetuate a negative stereotyping of people.

For the full story that appears in today’s Topeka Capital-Journal go to