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Agua Caliente Tribe Blast Congressional Campaign Statements

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - On a day when the Bono Mack for Congress campaign decided to pour fuel on the fire, about remarks her Democratic opponent Dr. Raul Ruiz made during a Thanksgiving protest, a Valley Tribe is speaking out.

In a rare move by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, they released a statement from their Tribal Council Chairman Jeff Grubbe denouncing statements made by the Congresswoman about Ruiz.

"The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has maintained a respectful relationship with all our local legislators, including Rep. Mary Bono Mack.  The Coachella Valley is home to several tribes and a great number of Native Americans including members of the Agua Caliente" says Grubbe.

"For these reasons, we were offended that Rep. Bono Mack described past protests by her opponent on behalf of Native Americans as 'radical' and 'anti-American'.  This is an outrageous and unacceptable insult to all Native Americans, including those who live in the district she represents here in the Coachella Valley."

"We are not endorsing either candidate at this time," says Grubbe.  "However, we call on Rep. Bono Mack to unequivocally repudiate this attempt to portray standing up for Native Americans as somehow un-American."

At a news conference late Thursday, the Bono Mack Campaign released an audio tape they found online of Dr. Ruiz reading a letter supporting activist Leonard Peltier, a Native American found guilty of killing 2 FBI agents in 1975.  

Ruiz has said he did not recall reading that letter until today, but maintains that he has grown as a person and today he does not support Peltier. 

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