Indian country adds flair to Bernie Sanders memes

WASHINGTON – A photograph taken of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) on the day of the inauguration by Brendan Smialowski, a former Connecticut sports photojournalist who documents policy for the Agence France-Presse press service, has invaded the social media with what some estimate at over 100,000 memes.

A day meant to be entirely devoted to the inauguration of President Joseph Biden, it undoubtedly belonged, it seems, to Mr Sanders, whose strongest supporters came from young voters in the presidential race. He didn’t do anything extraordinary; he attended the inauguration at a social distance with his arms and legs crossed while wearing mittens and a chunky winter coat.

There is pretty much a Bernie meme for every taste, every view, and every scene, including many in Indian country. Bernie in front of a sweat lodge. Bernie seated next to a powwow drum. Bernie in Mato Tipila — Devil’s Tower — with the infamous water buffalo that scammed a tourist in the Black Hills last summer. Bernie with Nathan Apodaca. Bernie at the Black Hills powwow. Bernie in the chambers of the state capital of South Dakota. No matter where it is, the general consensus is that it’s just funny.

Bernie in Mato Tipila — Devil’s Tower — with the infamous water buffalo that scammed a tourist in the Black Hills last summer

Whitney Rencountre, administrator of the Social Distance Powwow Facebook page and graphic designer herself made a few memes. “Laughter is medicine,” Whitney Rencountre told Native News Online.

Rencountre quickly shared his memes on the popular Facebook group and they were well liked, shared and laughed at. “Everyone seemed to like memes,” Rencountre said.

South Dakota State Senator Red Dawn Foster, a citizen of the Oglala Sioux tribe, commented on her appearance in a meme of her dressed in all costume as she took the oath in the bedrooms of the state capital of South Dakota. “I think the world is finally getting Indian humor,” State Senator Red Dawn Foster told Native News Online.

In case you were wondering, his mittens are sold out.

Jen Ellis, the artist behind Bernie’s mittens, wrote on Twitter. “I am so flattered that Bernie wore them to the grand opening. Unfortunately, I have no more mittens to sell. There are a lot of great artisans on ETSY making them.”

Bernie attends a powwow.

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About the Author

Author: Darren thompsonE-mail: This e-mail address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Darren Thompson (Flambeau Lake Ojibwe) is a freelance journalist based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where he also contributes to Unicorn Riot, an alternative media publication. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty and Indigenous issues for the Indigenous Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in the international conversation. He holds a BA in Criminology and Legal Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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