President Donald Trump said "our ancestors tamed a continent". adding that "we are not going to apologise for America", in a speech at a US Naval Academy graduation ceremony.
During his speech to the graduates, Trump said:
Together there is nothing Americans can't do, absolutely nothing.
In recent years, and even decades, too many people have forgotten that truth.
They've forgotten that our ancestors trounced an empire, tamed a continent, and triumphed over the worst evils in history.
America is the greatest fighting force for peace, justice and freedom in the history of the world.
We have become a lot stronger lately. We are not going to apologise for America. We are going to stand up for America.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans in what is now the United States, the territory was occupied by Native Americans who were eventually forced out of their land by the newly arrived inhabitants, who would eventually identify themselves as Americans.
Native Americans were virtually wiped out after 1830 when the Indian Removal Act was signed by President Andrew Jackson. On the journey from southern states to 'Indian territory' in current Oklahoma, around 4,000 Cherokee died of cold, hunger and disease.
Historians estimate that the North American Indian population reduced from 12 million when Christopher Columbus reached the Caribbean in 1492, down to barely 237,000 in 1900, largely due to the spread of highly contagious disease to which they had no immunity.
Trump's comments have not gone unnoticed on social media where many people have been sharing an article by Newsweek and highlighting the highly problematic nature of Trump's words.
This isn't the first time that Trump has caused controversy over his comments on Native Americans.
On National Agriculture Day in March, Trump also used the phrase "our continent was tamed" when talking about how proud he was of farmers.