Former UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Nicco Montano was scheduled to face Macy Chiasson this weekend at UFC Fight Night Rio Rancho, but the fighter suffered a knee injury and was pulled from the bout.
The former champion has Navajo, Chickasaw and Hispanic roots, but she believes that President Donald Trump sees indigenous people as people who are from Mexico.
“It’s hard to get political without being emotional, especially coming from growing up on a res and understanding the idealism of poverty when really you’re just simply living. You’re not taking more than you need,” Montano told Bloody Elbow. “Our own President doesn’t even know where we are from. Indigenous people. He thinks we’re from Mexico... Like all of us are from Mexico so he’s just getting rid of all of us and putting up the wall. There are a lot of obstacles for us to jump over at this point cause that’s normal. That’s what a lot of society thinks. A lot of society will just go and follow what he [Trump] says. A lot of it is not true. Not any facts, just what he thinks and what his bias propaganda is. A lot of people follow it and it’s hard to go face these people on the daily because you have to have thick skin.”
President Trump is someone who draws strong emotions from supporters and haters alike, with his stance on race being a controversial topic at best.
Montano also hopes that people take the time to learn more about indigenous people and their history, instead of just making a financial donation.
“I think they have to do a lot of research. There are a lot of people who want to help but don’t have a full grasp or concept of how a sovereign nation should be held. Each of these reservations are sovereign, right? They’re supposed to be their own entity but typically we still have to abide by government laws. When it comes to schools we still have to use Western philosophies with their education,” Montano said. “A lot of that means getting rid of our traditional sides. We’re oral people. We speak our language. We share our stories. We’re physical. When that gets taken out of our education then we start to lose who we are. Our kids have to be in the education system if they want to be a contributing member of society, but losing that is pretty detrimental. I think the research shows that in 20 years if Navajos don’t share their stories and keep sharing their language that our traditions and our language is going to be deceased. You can’t just be like, ‘I’m going to donate to Navajo nation’ or ‘I’m going to donate to Chickasaw nation. You gotta get in there and figure out what programs you want to donate to and how those programs are going to be influential in the future to our youth and our elders.”
Another professional MMA fighter who does a lot of work with and for the indigenous people is Bellator MMA Women’s Flyweight Champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, who even created a scholarship to help further their education.