Native American mascots: Pride or prejudice?
Many Native Americans consider the Washington football team's name racist.
April 4th, 2013
03:36 PM ET

Native American mascots: Pride or prejudice?

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Suzan Shown Harjo remembers when she walked into a store with her grandfather in El Reno, Oklahoma. She wanted to get something cool to drink on a summer day. It was the early 1950s and the storekeepers told the 6-year-old she had to leave.

“No black redskins in here,” they said.

At that moment, Harjo felt small, unsafe, afraid. Because she was a dark-skinned Native American - Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee - she was being identified by just her coloring. She wasn’t even a whole human being. Not even her grandpa, whom she saw as all-powerful, could do anything to protect her.

Later in her life, that incident made her angry. Angry enough for Harjo to launch a lifelong mission to protect her people.

Suzan Shown Harjo has been fighting for decades to remove Native American mascots from sports teams.

Part of her work took aim at sporting teams that use Native Americans as mascots. With the start of the baseball season this week, some of those teams have been front and center. The Cleveland Indians, for instance, feature a smiling Indian dubbed Chief Wahoo, criticized by Native Americans as a racist caricature.

The most offensive example of a mascot, says Harjo, is the one used by Washington’s football team. She has been fighting for years to get the Redskins to change their name.

The R-word - she can’t even bring herself to say it - is the same as the N-word, says Harjo, president of Morning Star Institute, a national Native American rights organization.

She finds it unbelievable that more than half a century after she was told to get out of that El Reno store, after decades of civil rights struggles and progress on race relations, Americans have no problem with rooting for a team called the Redskins.

Fans say the name is an honorific. But the Merriam-Webster dictionary says this: “The word redskin is very offensive and should be avoided.” And to many Native Americans, nothing could be more derogatory than the use of that word.

“The Washington team - it’s the king of the mountain,” Harjo says. “When this one goes, others will.”

The controversy over Native American names in sports is longstanding and surfaces in headlines now and then, as it did in December when the Atlanta Braves baseball team was reportedly considering bringing back a dated “screaming Indian” logo for batting practice caps.

Or when Amanda Blackhorse, a 31-year-old Navajo social worker, went to Washington last month to attend a hearing of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. She has petitioned to cancel the Redskins trademark on grounds that the name is racist. Harjo filed a similar petition in 1992 and won, but she later lost in the appeals process.

Harjo was defeated in the courts, but public opinion has been shifting steadily on the matter.

In March, several lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress that would amend the Trademark Act of 1946 to ban the term “redskin” in a mark because it is disparaging of native people. Among the sponsors of the bill is civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia.

Harjo says she hopes the legislation will accomplish what litigation has failed to do so far.

If passed, the bill would force the Washington football team to discard its trademarked name and ban the use of any offensive term in any future trademarks.

Proponents believe that Native American mascots pay homage to the people and help promote a better understanding of those who dominated America before Europeans landed.

The Cleveland Indians mascot, Chief Wahoo, has been criticized as a racist caricature.

But opponents say the mascots perpetuate stereotypes that are void of context and history. They argue that even if the mascots themselves are not racially insensitive, they portray native people as one-dimensional.

“A good many Americans don’t know any Indians,” says Kevin Gover, who heads the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

“The Indian you see most often in Washington, D.C., is at a football game - at the expense of real Indians, real history, real culture. The petty stereotype has become expected.”

In February, the Smithsonian museum hosted a symposium on racist stereotypes and cultural appropriation in American sports. The idea was to make people think about how these stereotypes can be damaging to Indians.

“Kids grow up and think it’s OK,” Gover says. “It’s not OK.”

There used to be more than 3,000 teams with Native American names and mascots. That’s down to about 900 now - but that’s still 900 too many for Gover.

He grew up, also in Oklahoma, and recalled how the University of Oklahoma became the first collegiate team to drop its unofficial mascot, Little Red, a student who dressed as an Indian chief and danced on the sidelines during football games.

Protests on campus forced the demise of Little Red. In 2005, Oklahoma adopted two costumed horses, Boomer and Sooner, as mascots who represented the real horses that pulled the Sooner Schooner. But many students didn’t take to them.

One of them was Royce Young, who wrote about the university’s “mascot crisis” in an online forum in 2007:

“But why can’t OU bring back Little Red? Oklahoma prides itself on being ‘Native America.’ American Indian heritage is something that is more prevalent in this state than any other in the nation. Would it be so wrong to have Native American imagery representing ‘Native America?’ "

Young, 27, and a writer for CBS Sports, said he now believes he would have written a more educated post after having discussed the mascot issue with Native Americans.

"I wouldn’t say I regret writing it,” he said. “But I’d be much more sensitive of understanding why Little Red was insensitive to some instead of saying, ‘What’s the big deal?’ ”

Royce said he saw nothing wrong with Oklahoma honoring its native people, but not with a tasteless mascot.

Several college teams followed Oklahoma’s footsteps and dropped Native American mascots - Stanford and Syracuse among them.

The movement to do away with Indian mascots gained momentum after the American Psychological Association in 2005 called for the immediate retirement of the mascots based on studies that showed the harmful effects of inaccurate racial portrayals.

The following year, the NCAA, the governing body of collegiate sports, adopted a policy banning teams with “hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery” from competition. The ban affected high-powered football schools such as Florida State University with Chief Osceola and the University of Illinois, whose official symbol was Chief Illiniwek.

Some states have put the morality of the Indian mascots up for a vote.

Last year, voters dumped the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux mascot. And Oregon prohibited public schools from the use of Native American names, symbols or images. The names on the banned list include: Redskins, Savages, Indians, Indianettes, Chiefs and Braves.

At Florida State University, a white man dresses up as Chief Osceola, smears war paint on his face and rides an appaloosa called Renegade to the middle of Doak Campbell Stadium. He plants a burning spear on the field before every home game. The marching band plays Indian-themed music, and the crowd goes wild doing the “tomahawk chop,” a move picked up by the Atlanta Braves.

FSU student Lincoln Golike, who played Osceola in 2002, told the Florida State Times back then that it was tremendous honor to have so many admiring fans.

The Seminole tribe in Florida made an agreement with FSU to allow the use of its name that allows the university to continue competing in the NCAA. The university says its relationship with the Seminole tribe is one of mutual respect.

However, the Seminole nation in Oklahoma, comprised of the descendants of a majority of the Seminoles forced from their lands by the Indian Removal Act, has voiced its opposition to FSU’s mascot.

The real Chief Osceola fought U.S. soldiers in the Seminole Wars. He was captured in 1837 under a flag of truce and died in prison. Before his burial, the soldiers chopped off the head of the Indian warrior to keep as a trophy. That Osceola serves as a mascot at FSU doesn’t sit well with the Seminoles in Oklahoma and many other Native Americans.

“Native Americans feel offended, they feel hurt. They feel their identity is being trivialized,” says Carol Spindel, who wrote “Dancing at Halftime,” a book that explored native mascots.

“This is such an ingrained part of American culture that it’s very hard to get people to question it,” says Spindel, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where the official symbol used to be Chief Illiniwek. He was the subject of debate for decades and made his last appearance in 2007 under the threat of  NCAA sanctions.

But five years later, there are still some who want Illiniwek back. A nonbinding student referendum held just weeks ago strongly favored making him the official mascot again.

Spindel concluded in her book that mascots such as Chief Illiniwek were a reflection not of native people but of those who invented them.

“If we do a census of the population in our collective imagination, imaginary Indians are one of the largest demographic groups,” Spindel writes in her book.

“They dance, they drum, they go on the warpath; they are always young men who wear trailing feather bonnets. Symbolic servants, they serve as mascots and metaphors. We rely on these images to anchor us to the land and verify our account of our own past. But as these Indians exist only in our own imaginations, they provide a solipsistic connection and leave us, ultimately, untethered and rootless.”

At 67, Harjo believes she has made strides in her struggle to do away with racial stereotypes but says Native Americans have a long way to go.

“Because we as Indians, we don’t have the numbers,” she says, referring to the dwindling population. The latest census listed 2.9 million people as American Indian and Alaska Native.

“So we don’t pose a threat,” she says. “If we organized a march, the numbers would be so small. We’ve done it school by school. State by state.”

Harjo knows if the powerful Washington football team is forced to discard its name, then everyone else will follow. But for now, she takes pride in small victories.

Just a few weeks ago, a high school in Cooperstown, New York, decided to retire its R-word mascot.

C.J. Hebert, superintendent for the Cooperstown Central School District, said students approached him regarding their discomfort with the mascot that had been around for decades.

“I do think that times change and perspectives change, and certainly it’s historically a time for us to reconsider what the name is,” Hebert said.

That’s a statement that makes Harjo feel her campaign has been worthwhile.

Tell us what you think about Native American names and mascots below.

Posted by
Filed under: Discrimination • History • Native Americans • Sports • Who we are
soundoff (1,978 Responses)
  1. Matt

    Stop. This is ridiculous.

    April 5, 2013 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. ME II

    As an FSU alumni, I had always taken a little pride in the fact that the Seminole tribe had given approval for the use of its name and Chief in the university sports.
    If, however, it is true that this "doesn’t sit well with the Seminoles in Oklahoma and many other Native Americans," then I'm all in favor of changing the team name/image, provided it is more than just a tiny minority.

    I'd give the entire tribe a chance to decide. Take a vote, 75+% approval or it gets changed.

    April 5, 2013 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • ME IIII

      Hence the Reason FSU is named the FLORIDA STATE seminoles. We dont need the approval of the Oklahoma seminoles to be called the FLORIDA STATE seminoles. The Florida Seminoles support FSU and its name.

      April 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • The answer

      If CNN did a little research they would have found out the Oklahoma Seminole Nation supports FSU. They have been on record since 2005 supporting the University and its Name. Up untill 2005 the Oklahoma tribe was indifferent to FSU.

      April 15, 2013 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. philman

    I've been amazed for years that in a city with such a large number of minorities, this issue hasn't been addressed. There are a ton of black "leaders" in Washington, yet only the current mayor has demonstrated the courage to bring this issue to light. I am particularly disappointed in the black sports icons (you know who you are) in Washington. Not a peep from you. Oh well, I'm sure you'll jump on the bandwagon when it's clear the tide has turned.

    April 5, 2013 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Redskin Fan

    Cowboys, Vikings, Buccaneers, Patriots (offensive because it implies no one else is), Saints (offensive for same reason), would also have to change their name because I find them SO OFFENSIVE and I'm SO Aggrieved!!

    April 5, 2013 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • 9erFan

      Indian offensive, no. Brave offensive, no. Seminole offensive, no. Redskin offensive, yes. Get the picture?

      April 5, 2013 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
      • DAT

        "Indian offensive, no. Brave offensive, no. Seminole offensive, no." Really??? You haven't been paying attention much to all the offended individuals, huh? Get the picture?

        April 5, 2013 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
      • 9erFan

        DAT: African American offiensive, no. Black offensive, no. N-word offiensive, yes. Now do you get the picture? Please explain the difference.

        April 5, 2013 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    Mascots are chosen for sports teams because the represent traits that a winning team would like to have and I think it's a honor to be chosen. Most of the "Indians" in the US are not even close to being pure blooded, sort of like the president claiming to be black, and saying that it offends them, or their one tenth Indian blood is ridiculous. Just a way of drawing attention to a small minority hell-bent on causing trouble and disrupting long held traditions. Personally, I'm Polish and I think it would be great to have a professional team called the Pollacks. Get over it! Put your efforts into opening another casino somewhere, suck money from the "white" people, get your revenge that way, and split the money with your very less than pure blooded Indian brothers. Cowabunga!

    April 5, 2013 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Redskin Fan

      Well said, especially the part about it being an honor. I know a number of Indians who love the Redskins BECAUSE of their name... and really get off when we beat the Cowboys!!

      April 5, 2013 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Desmon

      How is it honoring if it is offesive? Because the white people say so?

      April 5, 2013 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan

        Well it's not offensive to most Native Americans... And those that are offended by it are choosing to be offended by it. It's pretty obvious that the intent of the team is not to offend.

        April 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jerry D

    And polls show the vast majority of native americans don't find the term offensive. So its not an issue. Or are a small minority of vocal victims allowed to decide this for the majority?

    April 5, 2013 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Don Black

      That is a lie. State your source.

      April 5, 2013 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
      • Jerry D

        WASHINGTON – A poll of American Indians found that an overwhelming majority of them are not bothered by the name of the Washington Redskins.

        Only 9 percent of those polled said the name of the NFL team is “offensive,” while 90 percent said it’s acceptable, according to the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey, released Friday.

        Annenberg polled 768 Indians in every state except Hawaii and Alaska from Oct. 7, 2003, to Sept. 20, 2004.

        The survey found little disparity between men and women or young and old. However, 13 percent of Indians with college degrees said the name is offensive, compared with 9 percent of those with some college and 6 percent of those with a high school education or less. Among self-identified liberals, 14 percent found the term disparaging, compared with 6 percent of conservatives.

        April 5, 2013 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
      • 9erFan

        A 10 year old survey is irrelevant. 10 years ago you could call girly boys the F-word!!!!

        April 5, 2013 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
      • 9erFan

        And a survey is one thing...a good survey that truly measures something, is better. Any statistician or cyclematrican would say a poll that surveys only 768 participlants in 49 states is not a sufficient sampling of the representive audience...that's 15.67 people per state speaking for thousands, tens and/or hundreds of thousands....but that's probably a bit much for you to comprehend. Give us something valid and recent.

        April 5, 2013 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Jerry D

        768 is a more than adequate sample, especially when the numbers are so overwhelmingly one sided. As for the time, nine years is not that so long ago, and I would say show me any facts (and not your opinions) that shows its irrelevant or that perceptions have changed. .From looking at posters who claim NA ancestry, seems consistent with what they are saying.

        Oh, and the f word for effeminate guys was bad in 2004 as well.

        April 5, 2013 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan

        That 10 year old survey is the best available information on the issue, and is likely still representative. If you've got anything better to support your argument, I suggest you use it (say a poll with 900 Native Americans, showing something different). Personally, I think the percentage of Native Americans offended by the team name is significantly less now than then, and that study likely over states the percentage of those offended at the time of the study (because those offended are more likely to respond than those that don't care). Further, in that study, the attempted to poll many more Native Americans (all they could basically find), these were the results from those that responded. While not perfect, it's the best information we have on the issue that I know about.

        Further, I typically don't stop doing something just because someone claims it's offensive. I say, "Yes ma'am." I had a coworker tell me it offended HIM, because he thought it was racist. I'm not going to stop acting in a polite manner because he's unreasonable. My intent is good, and how he choses to interpret my intentions is out of my control. I guess we'll both just have to live with that.

        April 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matthew

    Between the R-word and the W-word articles, I never knew such words exist and I live in the South. I have never referred to anyone as a wetback and the only time I ever use the word "redskin" is to refer to the football team lol. PC is going nuts when they are finding words that are so obscure 80-90% of the population doesn't even use them in that context.

    April 5, 2013 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Desmon

      I think you are right, but I think that is part of the point. The term is outdated and seldom used because of what it means and how offensive it is. If you wouldn't say it to a person of the group it claims to honor and represent, then why use it all?

      April 5, 2013 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
      • 9erFan

        Bingo...excellent point.

        April 5, 2013 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Linn

    Change the name of the Atlanta Falcons to the Atlanta Blackskins and see what kind of backlash that brings...

    April 5, 2013 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lone Warrior

    The ridiculous part is the name "Bullets" was too offensive for Washington DC's basketball team, so they had to become the Wizards, but the name Redskins is okay? Not if it offends... what if they were called the Washington Sambos, or Spearchuckers, or Wetbacks... how long do you think that would last...

    April 5, 2013 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. Stephen

    I'm conflicted on this one. Growing up, I actually heard about and followed the Washington Redskins football team before I even knew there actually were/are Native Americans. Then I found out their rivals are the Dallas Cowboys and I can distinctively remember my mind being like "cool–they made Cowboys and Indians real life rivals like they were back in the day."

    The irony behind this discussion is that in Super Bowl XXII, the Redskins were the first team to win the Super Bowl with an African American quarterback, and when it happened "the black QB myth was shattered." So, on the field they actually had a very significant milestone event in our discussion about ethnicity in our society.

    April 5, 2013 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • 9erFan

      you made my point when you said "cool-they made the cowboys and indians a real life thing"....but they didn't. It isn't cowboys vs indians is it? that would be okay. Cowboys vs redskins is different.

      April 5, 2013 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
      • Redskin Fan

        No it isn't. Indians isn't very fear inducing. Redskins...well that's as fear inducing as Vikings is and maybe Buccaneers too.
        This whole subject is too full of too much political correctness. Some people need to get over themselves. If they have a problem with the name, it is THEIR problem, not everybody else's. They should see a shrink.
        Leave my Redskins alone. We love the name and the Indian imagery. Go pound sand.

        April 5, 2013 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
      • 9erFan

        perhaps if you weren't a redskins fan you might see it differently.

        April 5, 2013 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. robert

    i understand the anger she has, but dont take it out on the sport teams . people have thier own problems when it comes to race and most of them come from fear of something different and things that they ben tought thier whole life, i was raised raciest , but my life took me in a different direction , you have to change peopleshearts not thier sport teams

    April 5, 2013 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. 9erFan

    I've always said the same thing. I thnik it's okay to have names like the Braves and Indians or Cowboys, 49ers, Packers, Brewers etc...they're acknowlegments. But the Redskins! There's an extremely negavative conotation to that term that is no different than if we had a team termed the Washington N....rs! I know it'll cost some $ to change it but especially to have that in our nation's capitol, says an awful lot about what is truly important and wrong with Washington DC.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Redskin Fan

      Tell them Tim. This whole subject is a stupid waste of time.
      Redskin haters...get over yourselves.

      April 5, 2013 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • 9erFan

      not so much a Redskins team hater but more of team named Redskins hater. Right is right and the name is wrong.

      April 5, 2013 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • 9erFan

      A survey is one thing...a good survey that truly measures something, is better. Any statistician or cyclematrican would say a poll that surveys only 768 participlants in 49 states is not a sufficient sampling of the representive audience...that's 15.67 people per state speaking for thousands, tens and/or hundreds of thousands....but that's probably a bit much for you to comprehend.

      April 5, 2013 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan

        That's not difficult for me to understand. The problem is, it's the best source on the subject. If you've got evidence of your opposing view point, then let us know.

        Further, the reason the study is limited to <800 Native Americans is that is all that responded, they tried to reach as many as they could. You can imagine, those that were offended were probably more likely to respond, thus the percentage offended would likely be smaller if they had a greater population size. In addition, based on the study size, there's a +or- 2 percentage points. That's based on sample size, and that's pretty decent.

        April 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Apparently my earlier response pointing out that a 2004 NAES study revealed that an overwhelming majority of Native Americans (91%, with an error margin of 2%) don't have a problem with the name was deleted. It was based on some ~770 Native Americans that responded to a poll. This is the largest such poll that I am aware of. If there's a better study indicating something different, please provide a reference.

      April 5, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Billy Bob Cletus Feckwood, III

    I am scandanavian in heritage and I am extremely livid over the team name Vikings. To go a-viking means to raid, pillage, burn and rape. Not all us norwegian whities are burning rapists. Change the name immediately or my horned people will burn your village, enjoy the lamentations of your women, and take your children as slaves.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Don Black

      I know that you think your trying to be funny, but really you can't equate this. Redskins is a racial slur "Vikings" no matter how they characterize the image is not.

      April 5, 2013 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
      • LeeAnn

        How can you say Viking is not offensive, are you a Viking? Most people these days just start picking things to be offended about at random. I am a Redskin fan married to a man who is part Indian, he isn't offended...not even when I call him an Injun...everyone needs to quit whining and start looking at solving some real problems, like hunger, domestic crimes, homelessness, joblesness, etc. Jeez.

        April 5, 2013 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
      • Billy Bob Cletus Feckwood, III

        Viking is not offensive? What country is Viking? What ethnicity? What race? Guess what, it's none of those things. The word "viking" is a term. It meant exactly what I said, people who go and raid the shorlines of other countries and rape and murder. That's offensive to name a team that. I am offended as a Viking, and I will wear your skin as a coat.

        April 5, 2013 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. atc

    This type of story has been around for decades why on earth write the SAME THING. The organization obviously does more good than bad for the groups in question and doesn't use the name in a negative manner. The political correctness of some is ridiculous.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. Washington Whiteskins

    Would anyone allow the team to be called the Blackskins? Yellowskins? Whiteskins? I don't think so. The name is racist.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Except for the fact that 91% of polled Native Americans like the name (NAES, 2004), and you have to take context into determining intent and meaning.

      April 5, 2013 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
      • Don Black

        If we know that the term is racist if doesn't matter who or how many take offense. The poll you site is flawed anyway. If you want a true picture of how Native Americans feel you need a larger sample than the pitiful number of people that they asked.

        April 5, 2013 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan

        How is the poll flawed? I read it and it seems pretty legit to me. They polled all the Native Americans they could find for over a year, and these are the results. The questions don't appear leading, so I have no idea what your are referring to. Simply saying the poll is flawed without backing up that statement doesn't make it so. Further, is the term is only racist when used in a specific context, it is not racist when used in the context of the Washington Redskins. There are many words with multiple meanings and intentions (even the "n-word"), you don't get to decide what the meaning is if someone else is using it, you need to listen to the context it's used it.

        April 5, 2013 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  16. jonblackskins

    I think some people are not happy unless they are crying or complaining about some injustice that has been done to them. Stop crying people. We love our teams right? The Redksin is a fierce, honorable warrior. If i were a Washington Redskins fan i would be proud of the image, and the name. It represents the team! someone obviosly thinks highly of the term Redskin or they wouldnt use it to represent their team and orginization.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I could care less about football and even I can see that. Well said sir.

      April 5, 2013 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  17. golfjabroni

    I am a member of the Lakota Sioux Tribe. I grew up in a town on the edge of the reservation. After I graduated, my high school was forced to change its mascot from a Native American Warrior to a Greek Warrior because of a lawsuit. The irony is that the tribal council unanimously stated that they had no problem with the mascot. We were sued by a group of non-Natives who thought they knew the best interests of the tribe.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  18. Taylor

    Think of it this way, as a white person I would never call an Indian or Native American a Redskin, it sounds nasty outside the context of sports. I agree that you can show tribute and raise awareness the way FSU does but the name Redskin is a derogatory term that no one would use to show respect to a culture.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  19. Bear

    It's a mascot. Give me a break. Quit being so sensitive. Look at the intent. There is nothing offensive about a mascot. What a lame, sensitive society we live in. Just stay inside and don't communicate with the outside world if you get so upset by something so silly.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Football Lover

      I am so glad to read what you wrote. I so agree. Mascots have nothing to do with life and if that is all this woman has to concern herself with; she is still living in the 50's.

      April 5, 2013 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Cry more

    April 5, 2013 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  21. Sam Adams

    The term H1B is also used for certain ethnic groups.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  22. Ryan

    I REALLY wish people in this country would find something logical to complain about. Why is this even an issue? It's a team name. It's not meant to hurt feeling get over it...

    April 5, 2013 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  23. Vash

    Perhaps the next step after addressing this, we can move onto St. Patrick Day, as that portrays Irish as drunks……

    April 5, 2013 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  24. Mark

    The use of the Native American nicknames and mascots needs to go away. The most offensive is the "Washington Redskins". I simply cannot fathom how people think it is okay to use it in this day and age. I am white. I am male. I am straight. I pretty much have privilege all around. The use of "Redskins" is outrageous, offensive, and racist. There is no way around that and no way to justify it otherwise. Sign of respect? Yeah, right, good try. As for the use of names for other groups, such as "Fighting Irish", I would support the removal of all names associated with groups. It starts with "Redskins" because it is the most offensive.

    April 5, 2013 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You’re so right.. those teams use these mascots not as a symbol of pride and respect but to make fun of themselves.. I mean.. everyone wants to play for a team with a humiliating mascot..right? The only privilege you have bud, it that modern society supports it’s weak members instead of leaving them to the lions.

      April 5, 2013 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
      • Jack521

        all groups well we better get rid of the dolphins too. don't want to offend them now do we? let's wipe out the texans too. i know people from texas so that offends me. Also gaints gotta go as well. don't wanna hear tall peoples feelings. Who else needs to go? raiders. cant offened the ancestors of pirartes. Seahawks go too. can't offend the birds. who else? 49ers out the window. can't offend the miners. broncos wiped out as well indians probably rode broncos that offends me the bronco and the indian please change it. Choose a real battle to fight maybe aganist a disease or something more useful than this.

        April 5, 2013 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Owl96

      "I would support the removal of all names associated with groups" I am not defending the R-word, but if all we have left is animals and weather mascots, we may have gone too far. I doubt that any pirates are going to object to the Tampa Bay Buckeneers. And by gosh, we cannot have any groups of people like Patriots being a mascot.

      April 5, 2013 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
      • Taylor

        If Buccaneer was as offensive as Redskin then that comparison would make sense. The reason Redskin is the point of contention is because it is a slur.

        April 5, 2013 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      Perhaps we could also eliminate derogatory depictions of other peoples such as the Buccaneers,Raiders,and Pirates while we're at it?

      April 5, 2013 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry D

      But here is where you are just wrong. You are white, and you say the name is offensive. To who? Every poll done on the issue hows the vast majority of native americans do not find the term offensive. So please leave your white guilt at home.

      April 5, 2013 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Matthew

      Actually the reason a lot of Native American names were used for teams is because in the late 1800s and early 1900s the Native Americans were considered great warriors and therefore a popular name just as Cowboys, Spartans, Trojans, Knights, Pirates, Colonials, etc. Usually the Indians they are referring to are not Native Americans in general but the idea of Native American warriors similar to the way Knights is a mascot but doesn't refer to all White people but rather a warrior class. Granted, Redskins is kind of a ridiculous name but the usage of Native American names was at the time seen more as a honor than an insult.

      April 5, 2013 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  25. FSU Alum

    I do not usually comment on these forums, but as a proud FSU alum, I thought it necessary to point out glaring error in this liturgy. The student who dresses as Chief Osceola is indeed a member of the Seminole Tribe and NOT a "white student." FSU is a school steeped in tradition and Chief Osceola is ALWAYS represented by a Seminole student. Florida State fans, students, alumni, faculty and staff all carry the utmost respect and esteem for the HONOR bestowed upon us by the Seminole Nation, that they would allow us to display their heritage. It is because of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, in fact, that FSU was allowed to keep its mascot and affiliation.

    April 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Alexander

    Try to get a Mascot dressed as a Rabbi , Muslim , there would be calls to riot, ban and black lists.
    Native Americans are ignored by the Federal Government, have poor health services, high percentage of cancer, live in poverty , while the USA Federal protects illegals, gives them free health services, food stamps, etc, etc.
    Respect and help they need. Not to make a mockery of their traditions, clothing.

    April 4, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logic

      Yes, we all fear the Fighting Rabbis. Good name. You wont see the Terrorists, Arabs or Nazis as a mascot for different reasons. Some of these comparisons are ridiculous. Redskin is not like Cowboy, Viking, or Pirate. It is a derogatory term. The tribe names are fine honorifics if the tribe they intend to honor is ok with it.

      April 5, 2013 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  27. onenativedude

    The only thing I find offensive is when things from the past are brought to light and when we remind people of certain atrocities that took place. An example of this is the rivalry between the utah utes and byu cougars. Picture a byu student standing in the crowd holding a sign saying, "trail of tears part II." Having such mascots that hold so much dark historical energy can easily be used to create such idiotic situations. Seriously? U don't see mascots called the jews. And u can kinda guess where I'm goin with this, but I don't appreciate being reminded of such dark times of how our ancestors made so many bad decisions.

    April 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Alan

    But what about the native american who fought to have the Redskins use the logo they have now on their helmets? What about him and his feelings? To him, this busy body is undoing a lot of the work he and others did to promote Native American pride. And since when is a mascot a negative? And are only white people able to be mascots now?

    April 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Mark Jasniewski

    I am 1/2 Polish, 1/4 Cherokee, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 German and I am proud to be a stupid, wild, drukin', skinhead! Who the hell could name a team after that. Anybody got suggestions?

    April 4, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      The Yankees?

      April 5, 2013 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      You can't be 3/4 and a 1/2 of anything and be whole. 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/4 +14 = 1 1/4. The bottom line is you don't know what you are obviously don't know your math.

      April 5, 2013 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  30. mentalRay

    As a Redskin fan all my life- I have always viewed it as a tribute to the strength and spirit of Native Americans.

    April 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • mmiller

      you would not walk up to a native American and call him a redskin,it would be incredibly rude.why have the redskins lost all these years?

      April 5, 2013 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

        You wouldn’t walk up to an Irish person and call them a Fighting Irish ether. Your argument is weak sir.

        April 5, 2013 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
      • Billy Bob Cletus Feckwood, III

        2012 NFC East Champions

        April 5, 2013 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan

        Don't you think the context of language is important when determining it's intent? Naming a team "Redskins" and calling a Native American a "redskin" are two different things. Think about what a mascot is for a second... Sports teams generally pick mascots that represent strength, bravery, fighting spirit, etc. To claim that the intent of the team name is to degrade Native Americans is just silly. Redskin fans love their team, and associate their mascot with quality attributes that they want represented in their team.

        I realize some things are offensive even when that's not the intend, and that's unfortunate. But to say that everyone has to live their lives so that "you" aren't offended, even if it's not the intent to offend you, that's just being unreasonable.

        Also of note, recent polls of actual Native Americans indicate that they like the name, and would like to see it remain. Only 9% of American Indians polled find the name offensive, 91% supported the name (NAES, 2004).

        April 5, 2013 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  31. maria

    RED SKINS a symbol of Pride and Bravery,not a symbol of prejudice!

    April 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  32. maria

    FREEDOM of SPEECH is going off of America ,is not such thing not more ........everythig is BIAS or RACISM!

    April 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Coldharbor1864

    Dennis, Native American warriors in New York and New England circa 1755 used a vermilion dye to paint themselves RED! Google up Native Americans or Indians 1755 and you see what I mean. They did this to scare their enemies. Check it out!

    April 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Rebecca

    So FUNNY!!!

    April 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Coldharbor1864

    I can understand your anger over the Native American's treatment by the white man. But the facts are that Native Americans were fighting with each other and doing many things that were done to themselves centuries before the white man showed up. Most of all Native Americans in New York and New England painted themselves RED! They used a vermilion dye to look fierce and mean. Google up Native Americans 1755 and see what I mean. The term Redskin is rather easy to arrive at. No doubt that it is unfair for all Native Americans to be labeled as Redskins since only the Eastern ones did this. But you have to look at all the facts!

    April 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Jerry

    I'm Chippewa & Cherokee and I have no problem whatsoever with sports teams using names and/or logos depicting or referring to Native Americans. Even those who dislike it should stop and think: is it better to just be invisible? That's what will happen to Native American peoples and matters once pop culture references to us are outlawed.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Totally agree, and I am of similar ancestry...if we really want to take up an issue or issues involving Native American peoples, let's work on the poor educational resources, alchol and drug abuse, and right the wrongs of the past as they pertain to relocation and treatment of Native people...these would be issues worthy of discussion!

      April 5, 2013 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  37. Phil


    My high school mascot was the Indians and has been for probably two hundred years. We have never had anything but respect for Indian cultures. People have more hatred who attack teams with those mascots. Has anyone thought that the mascot came from appreciation for such things?

    April 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  38. tnbaer

    I don't see the racism or what's wrong with it either. And maybe some of this is political correctness run amok. But I'll say this, if the people you've based your mascot on don't want you to use it, then don't use it. It's their culture, it's their skin color, it's their heritage; if they feel like others are disparaging them and want it to stop, then it's good manners to stop.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Yankee Doodle

    I think the Notre Dame mascot should offend you. It offends me. Hell our people are still killing each other. After the Natives and the blacks we Irish had it the worst in America. We are always depicted as leprechauns, or like you said, angry brawling drunks. If the Native American mascot was depicted as an angry brawler, or was holding a scalp in their hand, can you imagine the outrage then? Or if a black mascot existed at all? I like how people always make potato jokes about us too even then a lot of people died because of that drought. It is not cool.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  40. StrangbutTrue

    .This is a dictionary definition of a Redskin. Redskin referred not to the natural skin color of the Delaware, but to their use of "vermilion face "paint and body paint.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yankee Doodle

      The same with the term "red neck" referring to the red clay of the south.

      April 4, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Matt

        Redneck comes from the coal miners in West Virginia who wore red bananas around their neck to signify a resistance to employers and scabs. It was a historic battle people died it has nothing to do with red clay in the south.

        April 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • 9erFan

        Actually the term Redneck came from farmers (country people) who worked in the fields and got sunburns on there neck.

        April 5, 2013 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • L

      The dictionary is man made – Redskin was even in it many years ago! Just like gay meant happy. This whole debate is stupid – I went to an Arizona vs Redskin game in Arizona and sat with a large group of American Indians and they were very proud of the Redskins as well as the other teams named after a Indian theme.

      April 5, 2013 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  41. cebundy

    I get Ms Harjo's point when it comes to racial slurs. I never thought of being described as red, yellow, black or white as a racial slur. I didn't think that "Braves" or "Warriors" was racist either, sport teams take that name in honor of the brave American Indian Warriors (granted not all tribes were warring tribes). And as far as mascots go, nobody freaks over McDonald's Hamburgler being white, but the Frito Bandito was racist. But why aren't they arguing to have the Indian taken off of the nickel? I guess racism is in the eye of the offended. There is a point where it becomes ridiculous though.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • maria

      You are right! is just political correct everything becames political ,they should be proud !

      April 4, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  42. mark snethen

    Oregon state beavers
    what kind of beaver is it?

    April 4, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoSoupForYou

      I'm offended.

      April 5, 2013 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  43. etjla

    Hmm. She is complaining coming from Oklahoma. One of the largest high schools in the state has the Redskins nickname and mascot.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Adam

    Get your facts straight....

    "The (Florida State) marching band plays Indian-themed music, and the crowd goes wild doing the “tomahawk chop,” a moved picked up by the Atlanta Braves."

    The BRAVES got the "chop" from Florida State. Deion Sanders played for the Braves and HE was responsible for bringing the "chop" to Atlanta... NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!!!

    April 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Maybe you should try reading that again.

      April 4, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • BG

      Maybe you should try reading again. It says BY the Braves, not FROM the Braves.

      April 4, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Jase

    Some of these names could possibly be seen as offensive and maybe changes should be made there, but the problem with this article is only half of the story is being shown. I attended one of the high schools in Oregon discussed in this article that is being forced to change its name. Many of those trying to stop the required change are Native Americans and they are proud that the school uses their name as a thing of pride. The school was the Indians and we were all proud to call ourselves Indians. It was never a name used in an offensive way.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  46. The Truth

    If I recall history natives of America were killing each other and taking each other's territories long before Europeans came and even formed alliances with Eurpeans to crush and eradicate their own native enemies. Natives were not peace loving all get along happy go lucky nature communers, they were just as bloodthirsty and territory hungery as the next guy. This irrefutable fact seems to be conviently forgotten.

    The truth is, just like everywhere else in the world, to the victor goes the spoils. Europeans did not steal any land, they conquered it. Every piece of land in the entire world has been conquered by someone at some time and in many cases conquered several times. Those who can settle the land, deny its use to others and enforce their laws on it own it. That is how the world worked for thousands of years and still works today. Native Americans like to cry about how the big bad Europeans conquered them, but they don't shed a tear for any of their fellow Native Americans their own tribes wiped out before Europeans arrived.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Hugh Mann

    I support Susan Harjo on this matter, but money trumps honour in the United States, and the White guys think that they "conquered" the Indians, so there will be no resolution.
    Indigenous people have to be smarter than the majority, to survive.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  48. TT

    The R- owner is fully aware that the name is offensive. But why change backwards tradition. "The next thing you know, they'll be asking for books so they can learn to read." That is why, as a native Washingtonian, I'm a Ravens fan.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Odontusuallyrespondtothesearticlesbuthadto

      You need to get a life. It's only a name, get over it. There are many other real problems in this world an you waste your time trying to get a professional athletic team to change their name!!! I only wish I had that kind of time on my hands. It's people like you why this country is in the state that it is. Too many people that always have something to say about someone else. Why don't you just worry about yourself an leave the world alone?

      April 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  49. brian

    Get over it. I have lived 23 years And never heard anyone say redskin in a derogatory sense. I am aware of the actual meaning "according to Webster". Quit being so da mn offended and realize that the fact that thousands of people are cheering for the redskins to win a Superbowl. Not a single person roots for them in a racist way. Get over it. Grow up America. Don't you have bigger problems to deal with?

    April 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      AMEN, Thank you!

      April 4, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  50. pgfd2525

    This entire post is a disappointment in the people of today. You are taking credit for things that you and your generation have not done, and for atrocities that have not happened to your generation. I do accept that what happened during Manisfest Destiny is regretable, but clearly it cannot be reversed. Secondly, words are just words. Historically it may have been used derogatorily, but racism is only there if it is intended. People of today are weak and love to play victim. There is a reason growing up children are taught "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," because it is the truth. But children grow up and they forget this lesson and they cry and scream. What makes this worse today is that there is not harmful intent, people are being hurt because they want to be.

    April 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  51. me

    The name Redskins has been used since 1933. Where was the uproar then? Why is it an issue now?

    April 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      I'm not sure about what happened in 1933, but people have been trying to get rid of the team name "Redskins" for quite some time. And do you really want to talk about what happened in 1933 to argue that something isn't disrespectful to a minority?

      April 5, 2013 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  52. maria

    Suzan Shown : nothing define you but yourself ,the Red Skins is just a symbol,you shouldn't live under that shade ,you should be proud of your heritage ........is just a symbol and to me being a fan of the Red skins is pride and force ,we should be proud of being Black ,White Hispanic,or Indian,or what ever, not one define you, you define you!

    April 4, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Yankee Doodle

    As soon as they expand the conversation to talk about the Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" mascot, I will accept their argument. The image of angry little Leprechauns in green representing the Irish people offends me.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  54. how about the irish

    the celtics wow very offending

    April 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      What about the Pirates and the Buccaneers? Very offensive to those swashbuckling men of the high seas.

      April 4, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Nathan from Indiana


    In response to your arguments that this article is presented as a defense for people who feel offended, I assure you this is not the most relevant matter. Offensive or not, the use of such mascots has a psychological effect on students of the Native American race. Look up Jesse Steinfeldt's research on Native American Mascots, and you will learn something new! Remember, keep an open mind and you'll show your wisdom.


    April 4, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Selfservliberal

    This is very offensive. It might be intended as sarcasm, I hope so for your emotional well being, but what an awful thing to say.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Jimbo

    Sounds like projection to me. Oh wait, you wouldn't understand....Try the dictionary.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Jansson Janson Johnson

    AMEN......& Thank You for your service to our country

    April 4, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Jimbo

    Easy for you to say. HELLO – words are the building blocks of thinking and perception.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  60. cj

    IMO Redskins is out of line and clearly a racial slur.

    None of the other named are insensitive so maybe they all simply need to do away with the mascots.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  61. CK

    The problem that I have always had with Susan, is that she goes and makes a big deal out of Native used names when that specific group has told her not to bother. I am from mixed native ancestry and have Seminole relatives. The Seminole Tribe of Florida have given their permission to FSU to use the name. As long as there is an agreement, I really don't see the point. This is her pet peeve, and it does get old, even in Native American publications like Native Peoples. Some teams, like the Redskins, really do need to rethink, but as others have pointed out, we have teams here in the US based on other groups as well. If a group of people really have an objection, such as the use of "Blackhawks"–then yes listen to them. If they don't mind, then why should native people of other nations/tribes care? My husband used to both attend and teach at Notre Dame....jeez I wonder what they're called!

    April 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wondering

      Yeah, I've also wondered why "Fighting Irish" is OK. Maybe because the Irish are part of the majority and not discriminated against anymore? It's certainly derogatory and stereotyped name.

      April 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  62. ohbehave

    I'm Irish and I wouldn't mind if someone wanted to call their team "The Fight'n Irish"...or "The Drinking Irish".

    It TRULY does not matter.
    Those of you who worry about this or actively seek for ways of construing yourselves as "victims" are, indeed, victims. You are a victim of a culture that has given you this strange fetish for victimhood.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chancho

      yes! thank you

      April 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I'm Italian, I'd like to see a football team called the Gridiron Mafia.

      April 4, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  63. rich dix

    Let's not forget the most accurate team name in pro sports, The Cleveland Browns.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • CLE

      You mean one of the most storied frachises in history? The team with one of the best Quarterbacks in history? 8 Championships? The team that has spawned one of the toughest divisions in the game?

      April 5, 2013 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Owl96

      The origin of the name "Brwons" has not been fully established. The best guess it that they were named after Joe Lois, the "Brown Bomber". But there are a few other theories that hold some water, and leak just as much. But if so, it has a racial under tone.

      April 5, 2013 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  64. ohbehave

    If I (a white guy) said the EXACT same thing that you just said, but reversed the "races".... you would call me a white supremist.
    Yes... in past eras, all kinds of cruel things happened.
    YOU and I benefit from the past. My forefathers were endentured servants which is arguably worse than being a slave.
    Whatever. That's what times were like back then.
    You now live in supreme comfort. You no l longer live in fear of hurting yourself as you hunt for animals with a bow an arrow....nor do you fear attacks from other tribes or dieing as your tribe engages in warfare (side note: the tribes did amazingly cruel and torturous things to each other). And you type away on this amazing piece of technology.
    You and I are both lucky.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  65. TheTruth

    Just to set the record straight, there are no Native Americans. North America has no indigenous people. Everyone's ancestors immigrated at one time or another.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Kenneth

    I don't see a problem with the native tribes and those sports teams getting together and comming up with a name that would suit the team and also represent the native tribes also. If the Redskin is as derogatory as the N word, then change it.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  67. What?

    Um, the Spanish were (and are) Europeans.

    April 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  68. gus

    All or none. No race/ethnicity should be a mascot, or all can be. Good luck w/ naming teams every other minority. Just because we are desensitized to the status quo doesn't make it right. Ask WWII germans how easily it is to follow herd behavior. (some posting here still follow the herd)

    April 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Nik

    If white and black Americans were so proud and respectful of the Native Americans, the Natives wouldn't be living in such deplorable conditions. Native Americans have been the victims of an ethnic cleansing by the American government itself.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Erisian

    The most stereotypical and racist team name out there is not the Redskins. It's the Fighting Irish.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  71. David R

    I believe the Native American name should also be gotten rid of. Why, because there is no such thing as a native american. Just like those of African or European heritage, the America Indians came from another continent. The only differences is they came across the Bering Straight and much earlier. Calling American Indians the First Americans would be much more accurate.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Felix

    My Grandfather was killed by a dolphin back in the 1960's. I really do not like the Miami Dolphins' name at all.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Riley

    why don't you read your own history of Indians and ask them for money. The Oklahoma Indians are filthy rich

    April 4, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Manolow

      Never heard of them. Are the Oklahoma Indians a new sports team?

      April 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Dmv

    There is a distinction between the use of such names for teams as Seminoles, Warriors, etc. which while insensitive, are not overtly offensive, and the use of a word that is historically a racial slur "Redskin". There are always nutcases, but most people would not think a team called the "Detroit N......s" would be appropriate and acceptable.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • What?

      "Warriors" shouldn't be a problem. It's not specific to American Indians. All ethnic groups have had their warriors.

      April 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  75. LowerValley

    Odd. I was home this winter visiting my family who live on reservation land in the southwest (we're native, too but of another tribe – although I have relatives who are in fact registered members of this group) and my husband and I went to see the Cowboys – Redskins game at the reservation's giant sports bar. No complaints there (and there were more than 500 people in attendance). My family all graduated from the same high school as all the reservation kids, and the mascot is an Indian (except for me, I ended up at a newer school built to accomodate overcrowding and our mascot was... the Conquistador). Before every football game a student -who must be part of the tribe – rides a horse down the field and launches a spear, all while dressed in full tribal regalia. There is also an all-female drum corp that plays at these events and the girls are all wearing Indian themed outfits. Many of the area middle schools and elementary schools have mascots with varying native American themes, too: Chiefs, Braves, Warriors, Aztecs, etc. Honestly I think it is a source of pride for us and I think people would be upset if our schools were forced to change their mascots. Granted, there are very few students in these schools who are not of this particular tribe or of Mexican American descent, so maybe that's why it is less of an issue. However, I've never heard anyone complain about professional teams like the Redskins, Braves, Fighting Illini, etc. Most people I know are too busy working and trying to put food on the table to really make a protest out of this... No disrespect to anyone, but we have bigger fish to fry!

    April 4, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Matt

    Twenty years ago I would have said "prejudice" but today, seeing how revered the Indian culture is everywhere, I think that these symbols are revered. When I went to the amusement park last week I can't tell you how much everyone enjoyed and appreciated the native dancing, which was a reminder of a people who were in tune with nature. Now these symbols of Indian lifestyle are to me a very positive cultural icon, even the logos on football helmets and baseball stadiums. The American view of the Native American people has changed and we look fondly upon their ways.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  77. tbone

    Should have seen the video tribute to the Sioux Indians before every North Dakota Hockey and Football game.
    It was a very moving story about their proud history.
    No more.
    Fighting Sioux have been eliminated from the halls of UND.
    So sad to see an entire race of people being completely removed from the forefront of society under the guise of racism.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • SiouxFan

      Couldn't agree more. Also, the voters only agreed to ban the name (UND has no mascot) Fighting Sioux after the NCAA (the same organization that has no problem with a white kid dressed up as an indian throwing a flaming spear at Florida State games) basically said if they didn't drop the name no other team or conference would play them. When put to a vote of the Native American Sioux tribe located closest to the University, the name was APPROVED overwhelmingly. I agree that the term Redskin should go but comparing that to the Fighting Sioux and the respect that UND gave to that name are not comparable.

      April 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  78. icurheinie

    That's because those rebels were running for their lives! haaa

    April 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  79. engscholar24

    Way to completely missed the point...

    April 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  80. FM

    Yes, we want Chief Illiniwek back. As an alumni, we never looked at him and his dance in anyway derogatorily or in anyway shape or a form of degradation. Actually, we were proud of the regional history of American Indians and he was an expression of pride and honor for all.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  81. gatecrasher1

    So by that logic, why not ban any references to historical groups or figures as mascots. No more Vikings, Spartans, Fighting Irish. No more Pioneers, well they fought the Redskins, and yeah some Cowboys did too. Colors? No, can't have red, that's the color of anger and Communism. Yellow? No, offensive to Chinese. Black...NOT GOING THERE.

    Lighten up, will ya?

    April 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  82. ryan

    I fancy myself a liberal, but since when do people honestly think they have a right in this country to not be offended? If a person disapproves of a public school mascot and wants it changed then collect signatures and put the issue to a vote – fair enough. But one can't force a private organization like the Redskins or the Cleveland Indians to change their branding. If you don't like it, don't support it, don't buy it. End of story.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Evan

    come to my tribe and say that to me. I'll set you straight

    April 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Jack Anderson

    Next thing they are going to complain about is the Cleveland Idians or Indian Motorcyles-Get over it – Where does Freedom of expression or speech come into this? There was no disrespect when this name was chosen in the begining so I say don't change it! That's my outlook on the matter.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Subnx

      So now the appropriate term is "black" even those most "blacks" are more beige. Black and redskin sound similarly descriptive.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Yah but Redskin doesn't carry the same connotation. People don't view the word as a derogatory insult. It's not a term that is ever used to put people down. It's just an artifact of history that is now almost affectionate towards the Native American people who are almost universally loved in this country.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Casey F Griffin.

    Here's what I have to say about this. Imagine if the NFL came out tomorrow and said "We've been aware for sometime now that L.A has wanted an NFL team. And no that we've gotten sponsors we're here to announce the new addition to NFL team Roster; "The Los Angeles Sambo's" and then on the helmets they had a stereotypical image of a black man with giant lips and bent forehead.
    People would go, justifiably, nuts. It's the same with this, it's just you don't hear about it as much because Native Americans are much more suppressed and isolated.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • gatecrasher1

      That example is blatantly derogatory to black Americans. Most teams that have Indians as mascots chose them for positive attributes, or their role in local history.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • icurheinie

      Ridiculous analogy that is in no way a parallel to this discussion.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Subnx

        More in keeping with the theme would be the Los Angeles Zulus with a picture of a Zulu warrior. Kinda like a Viking or a Spartan or a Trojan or an Aztec.

        April 4, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Matt

        Yah... if it was the Los Angeles Zulus I'd be fine with that.

        April 4, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • SQRT

        "Zulus" might be considered the same if their mascot ran around doing something that we (i.e., white Americans) have decided is typical of this tribe. Anyway, the Zulus themselves may not like it, even if we think it's acceptable.

        April 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      No one younger than 35 even knows what Sambo means so go ahead and name your football team the Sambos. Now days we don't even use such stupid words and wouldn't appreciate the racist context it was coined in by the racist people who ran things in the 60s.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Big Bob

    The Indians dominated this land before the Europeans? Dominated? Really?
    They were a static culture without change for centuries.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Actually, the Indians fought amongst their tribes for years before the Europeans arrived. The first Russian (or Indian if you insist) stepped onto this land and there it was -– HIS! Only problem was there were about a dozen more following him, and then more, and more, and well, you get the picture? The fighting commenced.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Smegacool

    It seems whatever you say now days is racist to some group...

    April 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  88. douglas lee

    I,m a native american indian and i,m not offended by any sports team using a reference to us as their team name or logo. The world is so over kill on politically correct nonsense. North americans are constantly kissing the ass of these policies, I love the name of the washington REDSKINS . The past generations of native americans who suffered under the genecide of the american and canadian goverments deserved their day in court! But the present day leaders of all the north americans need to qiut preaching that you owe me poison and focus on terminating the present indian acts that are in place and stand be their fellow countrymen and work toward saving northamerica before we loose the whole to the foregin investors and governments who have us backed into a corner with our national debts soaring out of control!Don"t major in the minors, we"ve got real problems that are destroying north america!!!!

    April 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Teamski

    There is a point where I have to just ask the question, "Really?" I have seen many teams move away from Native American team names including Marquette trading in the name Warriors to Golden Eagles. I know that there are a lot of Native Americans who actually approve having images of Indians on athletic uniforms. I mean really..... Is it better just to forget that Native Americans actually exist? The image of a Native American on the Redskins helmet is flattering, if anything. I don't see him yelling or killing whites (if that is what you want for stereotypes.

    I think it is time to start growing up and quit the PC revolution that is entering our society. As mentioned above, how many whites complain about the Vikings or protest the Purdue Boilermakers? What about the Spartans? Look at Mary Harden Baylor's Crusader mascot. You don't see riots over those. Sure, the term redskin can be construed as derogatory. However, I am white. Do I complain that I am not being called a Caucasian American?

    April 4, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  90. pedro

    I don't know. I'm on the fence. I grew up watching the Redskins. In no way whatsoever do I think of the term in a negative light. But hey, some people appear to be offended.

    As a compromise, why don't they keep the name and disassociate themselves from the Native American references/imagery?

    April 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rory

      So, we could adopt a redskin potato as the logo? Free french fries for everyone who come to the games?

      People who love carbs would protest no doubt.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I always thought of them using the Redskins as a sign of bravery, of toughness, of supreme ability. Now, all I hear is a bunch of whining by people who seem to have lost their own tradition by failing to work, failing to educate themselves, and drinking too much alcohol. Maybe the football team should revert back to that feather that used to be on the back of their helmets and simply call them the "Golden Feathers" ....

      April 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • maria

        Exactly that is what this people should feel ,pride the name is not to ofend it is about Pride and remind the world they were fighters and tht is what RED Skins are for me the best !

        April 4, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • yemi716

        "failing to work, failing to educate themselves, and drinking too much alcohol."

        ^^^ are you serious? I take it you have never picked up a history book.

        April 7, 2013 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  91. Facepalm28

    I can certainly understand people taking offense at a name like the Redskins, which was used as a racist term, but I think the sweeping move to get every Native American-based name banned is an overreaction. The Fighting Sioux mascot, for example, used the tribe's own name, with the permission of most of the tribal groups, for the teams of a school in the region where that tribe lived, in a way that specifically celebrated their courageous and at times successful resistance to encroachment. I agree with the idea that chosing a tribal mascot can be a gesture of respect; this is the symbol that every person who passes through the university will identify with, that they will cheer for in the stadium, and whose values they will seek to emulate. Of course sports mascots will be charicatures, and not 100% historically accurate, but that shouldn't disqualify them. The Boston Celtics mascot, for example, is hardly an accurate portrayal of the average Irishman, and yet that team and its mascot are well-loved and are hardly controversial.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  92. loverpoint

    Well the reason they do not us the actual name of a local tribe is because the owners would have to pay the tribe for use.

    We went through this whole argument several times before, over the last 40 years. Even though I am not a native american indian I think the logo Washington uses is nice, As far as using the term Redskin, I never even think about it, I never even think of it is derogatory.

    April 4, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Tammy

    Rediculous. Everyone cries racism to try and force the hands of people when they don't like something. It's not racism. It's history. Jews were killed by Hitler – en masse. Native Americans were slaughtered by the white man who wanted to take their land. African Americans were slaves. But when something happens someone doesn't like, cries of racism run rampant. You can't erase history, or use history as a reason to cry racism today, but it's amusing to watch some people try.

    April 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      "Cries", "Crying", – when people use these words to describe other people that in itself shows the common sense they do not have. People who use these terms are proving one fact – History is Today... nothing more, nothing less than the truth. Congressman Cramer (perfect eample of History being Today). The racial tensions tied to "History" are still happening today... as your post proves.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Great. So let's have someone dressed as a dancing rabbi as a sports mascot..all in the name of fun, honoring Jews and all the other idiotic reasoning in many of these comments. Likewise, let's honor Catholics and have some coed dressed up as the Pope parade around as halftime entertainment... or a Muslim cleric. Get it folks???

      April 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Decca

    I hate the R-word and cannot believe the football team of our nation's capitol still uses this offensive term. Maybe we should suggest the Redskins change their name - think of all the money they'd make selling clothing and caps with the new team name on them. If common sense won't change their minds maybe greed will.

    April 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evan

      all the money they'll make from a new name? Decca have you lost your mind? what about all of the current inventory that is stamped with REDSKINS? I think people should quit crying around about all of this. Enjoy the entertainment provided by professional sports.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Rory

    As part Irish-American, I am half offended by the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame nickname. I am a peace activist and do not fight...I drink.

    In all seriousness, the Washington Redskins name is not intended to disparage anyone. I am a HUGE 'Skins fan and always have been. Aren't there more important causes to fight if you're a Native American? Isn't alcoholism chief among them?

    April 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Moni BasuCNN

    I think the point here that native people were exterminated in the United States. They lost everything. Yet most Americans know little of that history. To portray them now in only this one dimension isn't fair, is it? Doesn't it perpetuate a stereotype?
    To compare this situation to Vikings or the Irish - well, it's not a comparison. The histories are not the same.

    April 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      The native people were not exterminated. You spoke to one for this article. Horrible things were done to them by a people generations ago. Let us honor the native people's existence, not make all traces of their history disappear.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • tbone

      Then who's being offended?

      April 4, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Native Americans weren't exterminated. They fought a war with Whites and there were casualties but the truth is that most Native Americans who died during that time period died of disease. If there had not been so many deaths by disease there'd still be a healthy Native American population today.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • cj

      Everything but the redskins IMO show respect to the native people.

      To complain that a mascot is funny is silly. If it was a white guy doing it would it be degrading to white people?

      April 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      I'm curious why you didn't mention the 91% of Native Americans that support the name for a number of various reasons?

      Also, don't you think intent is important when determining if a term or statement is racist? I mean, as a writer you understand the importance of context, correct?

      April 5, 2013 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  97. Evan

    seems like she just attention. her feelings were hurt and she decides to attack sports teams bc of their logos? I'm a Cherokee indian and I think it's awesome to buy a professional baseball cap with a screaming indian on it (Atlanta Braves). So in the future there won't be any professional teams with Native American mascots or logos.Sure I'm proud to be Native American but this is taking it too far.

    April 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Actually that's a really good point. Before jumping to such profound conclusions they should perform a poll and ask Native Americans who their favorite sports teams are or if they are offended by Indian logos. If their favorite teams are likes the Redskins of the Braves then we are drawing the wrong conclusions here.

      April 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan

        There have been plenty of polls, and the overwhelming majority support the teams.

        April 5, 2013 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  98. Krangle

    jrad, I really dont think you get it. The term Viking was never a slur used to denigrate a group of people.

    April 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Subnx

      Barbaric raiders they were. Have you seen the new series on TV?

      April 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rory

        I thought all Vikings were pillagers and wielded mighty axes and horned hats? Better tell Harjo to call Capital One and tell them to stop their commercials as it may offend the Swedish-American population.

        April 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  99. jrad

    As a Caucasian of Scandinavian descent, I am offended by the mascot of the MN Vikings.

    April 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Hairee

    In Canada it is the opposite. Native Americans have High Birth rates and an expanding population and they have "Idle No More"

    April 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10