Pro-Gun Native American Billboard Sparks Outcry, Controversy in Colorado

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A billboard using images of Native Americans to make a pro-gun rights argument has left some Colorado residents saying the image is offensive.

The billboard, purchased by an anonymous group in Greeley, Co., shows three men dressed in traditional Native American attire and the words

"Turn in your arms. The government will take care of you."

Pro-Gun Billboard

Matt Wells, an account executive with Lamar Advertising in Denver, said Monday of those responsible: "They have asked to remain anonymous."

He also refused to disclose the cost but said the billboards are appearing only in the Greeley area and he has not received any complaints so far.

"I think it's a little bit extreme, of course, but I think people are really worried about gun rights and what liberties are going to be taken away," Wells said.

Not everyone is as relaxed. Greeley resident Kerri Salazar, who is of Native American descent, said she was livid when she learned about it.

She said she doesn't have a problem with the gun rights message, but she's offended the Native American people were singled out, she said.

"I think we all get that (Second Amendment) message," she said.

"What I don't understand is how an organization can post something like that and not think about the ripple effect that it's gonna have through the community."

Irene Vernon, a Colorado State University professor and chairwoman of the ethnic studies department, said the message is taking a narrow view.

She said it's not as if Native Americans just gave up guns and went to reservations. "It wasn't just about our guns," said Vernon, a Native American.

Greeley resident Maureen Brucker said she thinks the billboard makes light of atrocities the federal government committed against Native Americans.

She said the image brings to her mind one of the most horrendous examples, the Wounded Knee Massacre on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1890.

Historical accounts say the 7th Cavalry had detained a band of Native Americans and asked them to give up their arms. Troops began firing after a shot rang out.

"I thought it was pretty cowardly that someone would put something like that up and spend the money for a billboard but didn't have the courage to put their name on it," she said.

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