Native American activist says she was humiliated by TSA agent at MSP

Agent reportedly grabbed Tara Houska's braids and said, "giddy up"

Sloane Martin
January 14, 2020 - 5:16 pm
Native American activist humiliated by TSA agent at MSP

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A Minnesota Ojibwe woman hopes her story of a dehumanizing experience going through security at MSP Airport serves as a lesson.

Tara Houska is used to being pulled aside and patted down at TSA due to her waist-length hair, but has never experienced something like Monday morning.  She says an agent snapped her long braids like reins and said "giddy-up."

As a native woman, she says her hair is part of her spirit.

"I don't think (the TSA agent) had ill-intent, or anything like that. I think that she was joking, but the intent doesn't change the outcome, which is this (was) a very offensive thing to do.  I'm not an animal, I'm a person."

The attorney and Indigenous-rights advocate says she hopes this leads to better training about treating people respectfully. Houska said she had a productive conversation with a TSA representative. She says she does not want the agent to lose her job.


In a statement, the TSA said "any allegation of improper behavior by a TSA employee is taken seriously and is thoroughly investigated to ensure security protocols were followed."



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