Regarding Sierra Teller Ornelas’s May 5 Wednesday Opinion commentary, “When you think ‘Native Americans,’ do you see me? Or Rick Santorum’s stereotypes?”:

As president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, I thought it was a teachable moment when I heard former senator and CNN analyst Rick Santorum’s (R-Pa.) ignorance toward Native Americans and his denial of Native American history. Native American history is American history. 

Native Americans saved Pilgrims from starvation by teaching them to plant corn. We were traded smallpox blankets. Sixty percent of global crops were first cultivated by Native Americans: corn, beans, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and peppers. Thank Native Americans for tomato sauce. Irish stew is made with Native Americans' potatoes. Thailand's peppers? Native American. Pumpkins? Native American, too. Native America clothed America and Europe. John Astor's American Fur Co. was headquartered in South Dakota. Medicine? Vitamin C, aspirin and malaria's cure originate in Native America. Every acre of the United States came from Native Americans. America's highways are built on Indian trails.

The Declaration of Independence based our rights on “Nature’s God” and “Nature’s Law,” venerated by native peoples. We taught America freedom and courage. Congress honored the Six Nations’ lessons to George Washington on unity, democracy and separation of powers. Yet CNN derides America’s political divisions as “tribal” politics.

Native Americans serve the military at America’s highest rate. Ely Parker, a Seneca, wrote out the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox. Ira Hayes, a Pima, raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Native American code talkers secured American victory in both world wars. This is the real truth.

Mr. Santorum must go.

Rodney Bordeaux, Rosebud, S.D.