CPAC Contributor is Misogynistic, Offensive, and Shady

Tiana Meador

Attending CPAC 2019 was a blessing in the fullest – however, something my co-editor Marissa Huberty and I did not expect was the blatant amount of disregard for women, and the top contributor, to be entirely untraceable.

For the first time in my life I was surrounded by Republican extremists (newsflash: it was not that cool), where I also for the first time was blatantly slurred at and disregarded on the basis of my gender. Although groups such as the Enlightened Network of Women were in attendance, this did not stop a minority of attendees from voicing what they thought about women. Some of the slurs I received were, “Women need to learn their place in society,” or “You’re just PMSing, you need to go back to the hotel,” or “Why are there libtard [offensive slang] girls here?” 

The most blatant and frustrating ones were when greeting fellow attendees, having Huberty’s and my presence ignored, as the men only greeted the other men in our group, or the other more frustrating occurrence, in which the display host for Dragging Canoe reached straight across me [nearly grazing my chest it was so blatant], handed information cards to the men in my group and stated, “Here, we will give these to the big guys.”

Dragging Canoe was by far the most frustrating, as their main focus is firearms and ammunition, an industry I have work expertise in. They are listed as the top platinum sponsor, but as a company “slated to open in 2020,” there is literally zero trace of them.

On the CPAC Contributor page, all the brand images are hyperlinked to a website, except for the top listed, Dragging Canoe.

The Twitter, Instagram and links on their info card also add to the growing confusion. Upon searching them, our team was unable to locate the corresponding social media accounts, and their “website” simply redirects you to a direct PDF copy of their card. Now that CPAC is concluding, I am struggling to find the site.

Platinum sponsors are spending $250,000 on CPAC; you would think they had the money to at least make a SquareSpace site for attendees. 

According to Lucas Robinson, writer for Open Secrets, “CPAC was approached by Dragging Canoe’s owners last year for a potential sponsorship.” 

“Google searches provide no information about the company. A Dragging Canoe, LLC was registered as a business with the Tennessee Secretary of State last November and lists a for-sale empty building in Maryville, Tennessee as its address,” Robinson continued.

I understand this is a start up, but the treatment I received by the booth host, and the seemingly shady distinction between their all-around absence and large monetary contributions, is notable. I want to add that not all DC booth hosts were disrespectful. There was a female who addressed me as “sweetheart” and another male who had considerable knowledge of the U.S. Defense industry, but it is hard to change the image in my mind that first impressions left on me.

However, let us not forget to mention the name, which is offensive on all grounds. 

Dragging Canoe was a Cherokee Indian Chief, who led a band of warriors against colonists and settlers on native land. This company by no means represents the history behind that name.

As tweeted by Dr. Adrienne King,  “So, um, Dragging Canoe, the person, was a Cherokee war chief. Info: Apparently Dragging Canoe, the company, is an upcoming ‘a second-amendment themed entertainment venue and restaurant in Pigeon Forge’ slated to open in 2020.”

This is a pure display of what is actually appropriation. There are many, many, things that do not exemplify appropriation in our culture – rather, sensitivity and exaggeration. However, this is blatant. Making an all-American themed venue to explore firearms with no acknowledgement of the history behind the Cherokee tribe or Dragging Canoe himself is utter neglect.

Then again, since this is slated to open up, their Public Relations is still in the works and not fully developed, but after this weekend, I’d say it is very important that they get that under way. Since their booth host cannot even acknowledge a female who most definitely has more insider munitions knowledge than he does.

A couple attendees here or there and a disrespectful booth host are not the end of the world- nor do they represent the conservative movement as a whole. However, CPAC needs to investigate their contributors more, since this is utterly shady and somewhat worrying. I do not necessarily believe that a unopened, still-in-the-works business should be able to sponsor and impact conventions like this- since the offensive history behind the name negatively reflects upon the conservative movement.

The last thing conservatives need is someone’s shady rhetoric adding to the heightened opposition implemented by the largely liberal and conservative-problem-hungry media.