Caruso said he has received much feedback about the sign, including from three Native American friends who said the sign wasn’t offensive.
“I’ve had many comments about the sign from people who have walked by,” Caruso said. “Eighty to 90 percent of the comments I got were positive.”
He said he does hear criticism about the sign as well.
“I tell them thank you and that they are entitled to their opinion,” he said. “I’m not trying to start a fight. I’m just expressing my view.”
Caruso said he did get negative feedback from the Brown campaign, however. He said a representative contacted him and requested that the sign be taken down, but Caruso decided to keep the sign up.
“I felt the comments were appropriate,” Caruso said. “I’ve noticed that he’s continued to run advertisements with the same message.”
Dan Speers of Haverhill, who is also of Cherokee heritage, believes that comparing Native Americans to military members is peculiar.
“That combination of saying he’s not an Indian and a Lt. Col is truly offensive,” Speers said. “Native Americans have served honorably in all wars in the last 100 years. They’ve won many medals, including three congressional medals of honor. American Indians have contributed to the defense and freedom of this country. It’s particularly offensive because he’s denigrating Native Americans and the military. (Caruso) has the freedom to say what he’s saying, but American Indians helped give him that freedom.”
Mayor James Fiorentini said his office received several phone calls about the sign and he agreed with Gilman that the sign is offensive. He also said it is not the government’s responsibility to control the content of political signs.
“This is America,” Fiorentini said. “It’s not government’s job to regulate signs. People have a right to put up things even if they are offensive and obnoxious.”