Radio Host Apologizes For Remarks On Indians

Associated Press
Friday, April 6, 2007

HOUSTON, April 5 -- A Houston City Council member and conservative radio host has apologized for saying taxpayers are paying large amounts of welfare to American Indians who are "whining" about having been "whipped in a war."

Michael Berry said Thursday that he posted the apology on his station's Web site the night before "not because I offended people but because I was wrong."

"My facts were wrong, and the basis of my facts was wrong," he said.

Berry said on his KPRC-AM talk show March 27 that Indians do not deserve the "incredible" amount of federal assistance they receive.

"We conquered them," he said. "That's history."

Berry made the remarks while speaking against a proposal in the Texas legislature for the state to apologize for slavery.

"If you're against apologizing for slavery, then you've got to be against giving welfare to the American Indians because of the fact that 200 years ago they were whipped in a war," he said.

"Why don't we go hand the Germans a few million dollars, and the Italians, and the Japanese? Okay, so we did rebuild their country. We don't continue to give them aid because they sit around whining about a war from 200 years ago. Are you kidding me? Seriously."

Berry said that among the "several hundred" e-mails he had received about his remarks were several that pointed out "intellectually and politely" that American Indians do not receive a disproportionate share of federal assistance and are not singled out for scholarships and other federal programs.

"I've done my homework and learned that I was wrong," he said. "I'm big enough to admit when my facts are wrong."

Jacquelyn Battise, a member of the Coushatta and Alabama tribes and the host of a Houston radio show on Indian culture, said Berry's apology "looks real, and it has the feel that he put a lot of real thought into it." But she said she was surprised by it.

"It sure is quite a turnabout, an overnight transformation," she said.

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