STATEMENT: State Rep. John Wheeler’s Words and Actions Degraded a Historic Moment for Native Americans in Kansas

March 24, 2022

Mayetta, KS – The following is a statement from Chairman Joseph Rupnick, chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, in response to state Rep. John Wheeler’s (R-Garden City) public anti-Native American mockery on the House Floor:

“One month after Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson made dangerous and inflammatory remarks about ‘Indians,’ state Rep. John Wheeler (R-Garden City) made a mockery of Native American culture and degraded a historic moment for Kansas, a state that is home to four federally recognized tribes.

“State Rep. Ponka-We Victors (D-Wichita), who broke barriers in so many ways to earn her role at that podium yesterday, and Native Americans throughout our state deserve  a firm public apology free of “ifs” from Rep. Wheeler.

“Kansas government, schools, and communities need to be free of caricatures of our families, parodies of our traditions, and words that diminish our worth.”