As a Proud Chippewa Native American, I Will Not be Bullied into Changing the Name of the Redskins.

I am Native American and I feel stupid that tribes are offended by the the names and characters of mascots. I can understand picketing to get rid of the goofy looking effigies of our brothers and sisters, but their names? Redskins, Warriors, Braves, RedMen, Indians, Chiefs, Illini, Seminoles, and so on are proud terms and tribes that are slowly being picketed. I would love to keep those as mascot names but give them their respect by depicting them as proud, prolific people. It is funny that when you go to the reservations the same peoples complaining about a mascot name are cheering on their on sons and daughters teams with these same mascots.

Pro and collegiate teams have won championships with a Tribal mascot attributed to their school for many of years and we were proud. This is the "Reading the cover and not the book" mentality. Many of our Native children have gone to these colleges/universities while many work for the pro teams. I understand their are some words that are truly offensive and I dont speak them.

But soon the professional and collegiate sports world will have no tribal mascot affiliation. How are you gonna explain that to your grandchild while he is playing for the Warriors on the reservation? He may think that we are not good enough to be a mascot. Is this what we want to teach our children?

Oh yes, the constitution of the US is based on the constitution of the Tribes of the Iroquois Nations. Look it up. The Redskins name should be a reminder that this nation was built with the help of Native spirit and conviction.

This only how I feel as one person. Others will feel otherwise. That is what makes this country great, freedom of opinion.

The Historical Truth That Some Don’t Want To Hear

First, the Redskins name was at least partially, and perhaps totally, conceived by their full-blooded American Indian head coach named Lone Star Dietz, some say at the bequest of his mother to honor her. When the Boston Braves football team changed their name in 1933 to the Boston Redskins–Lone Star’s first year as Redskins coach–they wanted a tie-in with the Boston Red Sox. The Redskins moved to Fenway Park that same year, and wanted some symmetry in the name with the already famous baseball team that occupied the same venue. With their head coach being a member of the Sioux Nation, it seemed like a perfect fit: the name Redskins was eventually agreed upon as a way of honoring both Native Americans and the Boston Red Sox. Second, the names "blackskins" or "yellowskins" have never existed in any formal way. Certainly, no members of those associated ethnic groups have ever referred themselves by those names. But members of native tribes have referred to themselves as redskins – many, many times. Again, there are some people who just don’t want to hear that – even refuse to believe it. But it’s true. Originally, the term "Redskin" was adopted by the Indians themselves to distinguish themselves from white people. There are a number of searchable, historically accurate instances of native tribal peoples using the name "redskin" to identify themselves.
  • The term "red" was adopted by French and English by the 1750′s after the reference to "red man" was made in 1725 by a Taensa chief.
  • According to the French (1725), the Taensa referred to themselves as "Red Men."
  • Three chiefs of the Piankashaws wrote (1769), "You think that I am an orphan; but all the people of these rivers and all the redskins will learn of my death."
  • In 1807 French Crow (Wahpekute, Santee Sioux) said, "I am a redskin…"
  • In an 1815 speech by Chief Big Elk of the Omaha Tribe, he called himself (and others in similar positions among different tribes) "red skin chiefs".
  • Harvard-educated anthropologist Robert Hale Ives Goddard, III, curator emeritus in the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution, wrote a lengthy essay on the dozens of recorded instances that the word "redskin" has been used by tribal peoples.
The actual origin of the word is entirely benign and reflects more positive aspects of relations between Indians and whites.
Harjo has contended for years that the origin of the named refers to scalping and bounties, but this is simply not true. As for the current helmet logo–featuring a dark-skinned Native American in headdress–it’s helpful to remember that it was First thought of, Conceived and Designed by a Native American, who Petitioned the Redskins Directly to Change the Logo.
Brown Indians on reservations have more important issues to worry about. Like diabetes, how we get our next meal, crime on reservations, lack of electricity, lack of toilets, lack of running water, no heat when there’s snow outside, getting a relative to a dialysis clinic when there is no transport, finding a job when there’s near 100% unemployment, near 100% consideration of suicide among our youth, alcoholism, drug abuse, elder abuse, spouse abuse, land loss, culture loss, language loss, etc. Mascots are a NON-ISSUE to us.
So how will changing the name actually make things worse? Because there is a real chance that things could get better on reservations if American politicians and the American public focus on the issues that REALLY matter, as described above.

Just Say No To The Politically Correct Language Police

In closing, it might be valuable to examine why a vocal minority, particularly many non-Indians, are so worked up over this issue. The quality of their lives will not change, nor will the quality of life on reservations, whether the Washington Redskins change their name or not. I believe it comes down to a combination of three things: guilt, an erroneous notion that a change of language changes everything else, and a "sweep it under the rug" mentality. There is a segment of the population that adheres to the notion that the words we use can have an effect on our cultural norms. There may be something to this idea. Even so, you don’t kill a snake by cutting off its tail: you must go for the head. In the terrible reality of racism, changing a football team’s name will not change people’s attitudes towards Native Americans, especially in this case, where the name has no origin in racism. You must address the root causes and begin to teach tolerance in the household. If that happens, no one will care about the name, because it will cease to have the connotation that some ignorant, misguided people give it. Then there’s the shame and embarrassment factor, which walks hand-in-hand with wanting this issue to "just go away". Some guilt-ridden European Americans want to change the name because they feel terrible about the plight of Native Americans, and they really ought to do something. If the name gets changed, they can pat themselves on the back an think: "Mission accomplished!" While their heart may be in the right place, their actions don’t reflect their words.

Conclusion: Redskins Nation, One United People

If there is one thing that has brought the racially divided city of Washington, DC together more than anything else, it’s the Washington Redskins. When blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans all sing "Hail to the Redskins" at the top of our lungs at Redskins home games, we are singing as one people. There’s nothing but love. Changing the name would change that dynamic. It’s time for the politically correct crowd to stop self-deputizing themselves as language police, making citizen’s arrests on people who aren’t committing crimes. It’s time to embrace the name Redskins as a way to honor Native Americans; after all, that was the original intent. It’s time to look past knee-jerk reactions by people without all the facts. It’s time to say Hail to the Redskins.

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