The outdoor retailer – Bass Pro Shops – coming under fire tonight after attempting to sell a rifle celebrating a historical event where thousands of Native Americans were killed. KNWA sat down with the customer who posted a picture of the gun on social media demanding a boycott of the store.
It’s a .22 caliber rifle worth almost 16-hundred dollars – an item that caught Seth Haines’ eye at Bass Pro Shops in Rogers.
“My son wanted to go to the gun library because he is interested in gun history so we went and stumbled upon this,” Seth Haines said.
But Haines says not for the right reasons…
“It looked like the gun was wanted to commemorate the Trail of Tears, but the packaging showed a bunch of Native Americans heading west with soldiers and guns following them,” Haines said.
The Trail of Tears was government organized event that forced Native Americans to relocate – following the passage of the Indian Removal Cct in 1830.
So, Haines took to social media and quickly comments of disbelief came flooding in – ultimately leading to Bass Pro pulling the gun from the shelf.
“When I see commercial objectification of Native American suffering, it just doesn’t sit right with me,” Haines said.
Bass Pro Shops Communications Director – Jack Wlezien – told the Tulsa World Newspaper :”This is a one-of-a-kind product acquired on a trade-in by one of our associates. It is not part of our standard assortment. It is one rifle. It has been removed from the sales floor, and we are in contact with a variety of groups to make sure it is handled responsibly.”
But even with the outdoor retailer’s explanation, Haines says the business has lost at least one customer.
“Part of loving your neighbor is reckoning with that history and reckoning with that pain and that is something I want to teach my sons,” Haines said.
Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin also released a statement:
“The Cherokee Nation commends Bass Pro Shops’ swift and decisive action to remove a 1978 Winchester Rifle commemorating the Trail of Tears from a store’s shelf and applauds Bass Pro Shops for using the incident as a teaching moment for its employees.”