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. jerpell

    We've lost our country........This country must lighten up...Why do the masses have to change for the few?

    April 7, 2013 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dorkus Maximus

    I suppose if the term "redskin" were being used in a pejorative sense she might have a point. Otherwise, we should likewise do away with "the Fighting Irish" and, I suppose, the Syracuse "Orange Men". The fact is, the team chose this as a mascot, as a point of pride. What's wrong with that?

    April 7, 2013 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • NW1000


      People name their teams after things they hate, so that they can take pride in the team. They are racists.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Must Say Something

        What? Are you nuts? As a Christian, I don't write "Holy Koran" on the cover of my "Holy Bible". You're out of your mind!

        April 7, 2013 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
      • lattelover49

        We are not your good luck charms, pets or mascots. If you want to honor us start with the treaties.

        April 7, 2013 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. waynemolina

    See, this is the problem with America. People can't just mind their own damn business.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • NW1000

      Where else can you have a career as a hand wringing, whiny, crybaby, nosey, do-gooder?

      April 7, 2013 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. JustSaying

    Guess it's offensive if you're fundamentally ashamed of the color of your skin.. otherwise..can't fathom how it's hurtful.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Billy Killher

      Really, then why can't the best white performer in the world do a tribute to jazz in blackface?????

      April 7, 2013 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. thefacts

    i love how this word has pretty much not been used offensively in 40 and that really no one born in the last 30 years really knew that it was used to hurt people into all this media about it. and the sad part is know it is probably going to make a come back cause now people know about it. great job everyone

    April 7, 2013 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Pryzm

      The fact is that people – white and black – are calling themselves redskins. It's equivalent to saying that native americans have qualities that we admire and want to emulate. It's a sign of respect.

      If there were a team named using "the N-word" as its team name, then we might have something to discuss...

      April 7, 2013 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. NW1000

    Barack Obama said the AG in California was HOT, HOT, HOT.

    Hey 'Chell, whatcha think about that????????????

    April 7, 2013 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • HenryB

      The AG is hot.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jokesterer

    The term "cat" offends felines. We need to ban the C word. Also, "dogs" are starting to prefer the term "lupine" so start so please begin to pare down your use of the D word.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Jokesterer

      Your use of the R-word offends us differently mental capacity folk.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. barfly

    nobody tells me what to do, not even me

    April 7, 2013 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. NW1000

    Andrew Jackson, the Great White Father, did the Trail of Tears to the Cherokees.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. bobinva

    I am sure that when the name was chose for the team they did not think, "Hey lets name ourselves something derogatory". No they were looking to name themselves after fierce, powerful, relentless warriors that had no problem taking on any foe. I am sorry that Ms. Harjo had a problem with someone treating her like that 60 years ago.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. Arenaboi

    I'm so sick of certain people calling anything they want, racist. It belittles the actual meaning of the word when it should be used for truly evil things. If liking the Redskins and not wanting to change the name now makes someone a racist, I guess I am a racist and proud. I'm so sick of worrying about idiots like you calling anyone who isn't 110% PC a racist, I'm just gonna give in and accept the branding

    April 7, 2013 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. NW1000

    President Andrew Jackson, of $20 bill fame, and revered by Democrats, engineered the Trail of Tears, the destruction

    of the Cherokees, etc....but do these whiny, hand wringing, nosey, do-gooders still use $20 bills?

    April 7, 2013 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. NW1000

    100% Correct, you are.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joat

    Now that we're done with that vote, raise your hand if you think the DC-based football team, it's organization, it's fans, or anyone else out there is actually making fun of Native Americans when they say Redskins.

    No one's making fun of you! No one's laughing at you! No one's judging you or putting you down. You're getting upset and bothered over nothing. Grow a spine and stop trying to browbeat people with your victim complex.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Of Rights

      What are they doing if they are not making fun of the term? By continuing with the racist term the are saying that they are above the law, above the rest of America. Racism and hate speech is illegal in this country, we fought a freaking war to prove it to some of you ignorant fools. We took away your "right" to own another man, now we are taking away your other "rights" of hate speech. Just cause you dont see the problem does not mean its not there, just that you are blind........

      April 7, 2013 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kris

    I am not Native American,so I cannot speak from that background. But as a "white" person, I have never thought a bad thing about sports teams with Indian names. I have always thought the names were in honor of the Native Americans. Ifind that their heritage is rcih and wonderful and I would never associate a team named the Warriors or Braves to be anything but showing respect for this wonderful part of our community.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      See this is a huge problem. Because we name sports teams names like the "Redskins" we don't even realize it's a slur. Not all Native American inspired names are slurs. Florida State for example is named the Seminoels which was a tribe from the area. The tribe actually endorsed it. However when it comes to names like the "indians" it's not the same (they're not even indian).

      April 7, 2013 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
      • Bryan

        Well they're not Americans either so what would they like to be called? What did they call their land before Amerigo Vespucci named it America?

        April 7, 2013 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  16. JustSaying

    lol... wouldn't it be weird if white people were actually like that?

    April 7, 2013 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jokesterer

      What Would Jim Thorpe Do?

      April 7, 2013 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  17. Jokesterer

    You're use of "-man" offends us non-men folk.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  18. Chris

    I use the n-word to describe North Koreans, is that ok? Freedom of speech is very important as those families of dead soldiers have found out over the last several years! Is that ok? My point is -– let people say what they want and use descriptors as they want -- it is a free coiuntry isn't it?

    April 7, 2013 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Jokesterer

      Your use of "North" offends us otherly direction folk. Also, your use of "free" offends us otherly controlled folk.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • JustSaying

      ..ehhh some people need a cause.. people who champion such madness rarely stop to think about what they're actually doing. The addition of a law is the revocation of a freedom.. suppose we could all nitpick each other into cages if everyone was so sensitive..

      April 7, 2013 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • ebmadison

      This post is the most eloquent statement on the nature of free speech and natural law that I have ever read. You sir, are the greatest American that has ever drawn breath upon the fair shores of this nation. Kudos to you, dear patriot! I beseech Divine Providence that my children may have but an iota of your dedication to reason, liberty, and democratic fraternity.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      Yes it's a free country. However your words have consequences. People have the freedom to denounce you just like you have the freedom to express yourself. Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences.No one is throwing you in jail they're expressing their disapointment and frustration with you. That's how freedom of speech works

      April 7, 2013 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  19. no thanks

    I have an idea, if you hate the team name so much buy the team and change the name. Should only take a billion dollars.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  20. Joat

    If you think that's smart, then you ought to be giving the Democrat party some serious props. They're not just cashing in on race, they're buying votes and political power by telling people they're oppressed!

    April 7, 2013 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  21. Jokesterer

    Rwords Are Always Causing Problems.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  22. Bill Of Rights

    Has anyone ever hear of the tribe "Redskins" before? No? What you mean that tribe does not exist? I thought Washington named their football team on "honor" of the tribe "Redskins". There is no tribe named that then? So what was this team named after might I ask................

    April 7, 2013 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • The fact of the matter

      You thought? Well, that's what you get for trying to think without the proper equipment.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  23. are122

    History of migrations say there are no such people as “Native Americans." People migrated from what is now Russia and Asia. Indians offend me calling themselves Native Americans. They should be sued for using the term.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Of Rights

      Based on history we are all from Africa sir, have fun telling your lilly white grand kids that one! I bet you don't!

      April 7, 2013 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
      • The fact of the matter

        Based on an educated guess, not history.

        April 7, 2013 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      who would have grounds to sue?

      April 7, 2013 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • NW1000

      Democrat Andrew Jackson, the Great White Father, herded the Cherokees onto the Trail of Tears.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      Then you have no right to any land as well as we all originated in Africa. Do you see how silly this argument is?

      April 7, 2013 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • AHEM

      Moron..They did not start calling themselves that. Others did to try and be pollitically correct juuust like "African Americans".

      April 7, 2013 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  24. John Sharpe

    I'm always called a "white" person and I'm gonna sue somebody as soon as I find out who's responsible. The worse part is that I'm not even White! I'm a off-peach or super light brown which of course is the color of melanin anyways. Maybe if they changed the team name to Washington Medium-Melanin skins maybe I could live with being called a not-very-much-melanin person.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      White is term we coined. It's not a slur. It's pretty bad when your example or racism isn't even racist

      April 7, 2013 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  25. Gabe

    What a waste of time. She should spend her time and energy doing something that will really make a difference.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      Very true mixed children are the future of our country. They don't look at the world in terms of color. This is what makes America great we are the only country in the world this diverse. It makes us stronger as a nation. Mixed children see the world differently they don't understand a lot of the prejudice in the world they want equality for all.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  26. Stosh

    Oh, please. Nobody thinks of anything racial when they hear the name "Washington Redskins". This PC stuff is getting embarrassing.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Cotten eyed Josephine

      I do

      April 7, 2013 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
      • JustSaying

        can you define offence? It's an annoyance or displeasure.. wow... HEAVY STUFF

        April 7, 2013 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
    • NW1000

      No, no, nooooooooo....the fan base and team ownership named this team NOT to honor Indians, but to disparage them and foster racism.
      They HATE their team and want others to hate them too.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • John Powers

      Enough of color of skin, hair, clothing etc.. Please stifle everyone, of sports and there names. Football, baseball, rugby or other sports. Cannot we live with each other without racial issues.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      Don't generalize to make yourself feel better

      April 7, 2013 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  27. just another non-white "white"

    At some point we non-white "whites" should stop pretending this is a non-issue. We want to say white is good and black is bad, but we aren't actually white to begin with (and there's no proof of any kind that God wears white or that angels are white). And science increasingly shows the likelihood that we were all originally from Africa. So any stereotypes we use, whether they're Indian (and of course it was Europeans who came up with that name because they were too stupid to know they weren't in India), or Vikings, or Jews, or whatever, are stupid. So fast forward to American sports and start with a football cheer of "kill the ___" and get serious about what should go in there. Or keep being stupid, I guess.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • IrishEagle

      I am highly offended at your use of 'kill the -' (whatever the mascot is) because when I was in high school, it was the Eagles. Not Philly, our little local school. Why should anyone encourage the killing of eagles? They are our national symbol, and they are protected as well. Why would you want to encourage killing of wildlife? Do yo think we did not sit around at every game and think about eagles and other raptors? We did, by golly, just the same as people now sit in Bmore and worry about ravens or people in Chicago do what they can to conserve bear habitats and promote education about bears. Every sits around and thinks about these kinds of things when they hear the game cry. My god, a lot of people in Boston worry about STOCKINGS. Me myself, I'm Irish and I want Notre Dame to change theirs. I'm offended that we're portrayed as drunk, fighting Irishmen, because I know that's the perception from them using that name.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
      • recklesss

        It's kind of silly bringing up eagles he was point about ho we root against another team. You should contact Notre Dame if it offends you. However there response is going to be that the use it as a symbol to "fight" prejudice now. They keep it because of all of the discrimination the irish faced when they first immigrated here.

        April 7, 2013 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • JustSaying

      I think at some point us rational mind non ignorant thinkers should stop pretending this is a non issue. They're are actually people of all races who deeply believe that skin color has a bearing on ones intellect and character. Sure it can play a role in a person's mannerisms. I think it would be foolish to imagine that such regional separation capable of altering our appearance so drastically from one culture to the next, is not also capable of altering our social behavior. At the core, the rational lot of us stopped basing our perception of another individual on the color of his or her skin. People like yourself are the disease.. pointing out our differences..rather than celebrating our similarities.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  28. NW1000

    Everybody at Florida St. Seminoles are racist; everybody at Washington Redskins is racist and hates their team; everybody in Atlanta is racist, everybody in Cleveland hates Indians, etc...

    That is so plain to see, nobody ever named a team to honor somebody.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      The Seminoles is in honor. They are an actual tribe, which is why the tribe endorsed them. Redskin is a slur. Would you name a team the blacks? Indian is not in honor or they would have used a term that actually describes native americans. Instead of renaming them

      April 7, 2013 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  29. Harleigh Kiffer

    The lunacy continues.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  30. NW1000

    It is very plain to see that fans, and franchises, name their teams to disparage groups of people, discourage fan involvement, etc...etc...

    They name their teams after minorities because they want people to hate the team.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  31. Kev

    My college mascot used to be the Red Men. Then the stupid PC people got involved and change it. Go Red Men! We will Tomahawk the other team!

    April 7, 2013 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Joat

      We used to be the Fighting Illini. Now we're the block I.
      We used to have a ceremony with a Sioux dance at halftime. Now we have the same marching band as everyone else.
      We used to have a tradition meant to honor and respect a Native American tribe that is no longer with us, then another tribe (the Peoria tribe) spoke up and claimed to be offended, and now we have no tradition and don't honor this tribe.

      I'm not saying that the tradition we had was 100% historically accurate, nor that it was ever intended to be, but it was intended to honor and respect Native Americans and that's been taken away. Instead of hearing about, learning about, and sharing Native history and culture, we've removed it from the public eye, hid it deep in the footnotes of dusty books in our libraries, where only a handful will see it or bother with it. We're losing this culture and this history because we're too afraid of offending someone.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike Payne

        This is sort of like the "Fighting Illini" with the "Dancing Chief" – Or whatever they call it.

        One day VERY SOON at an Illini Game – I am going to show up in a Pope Costume as "The Dancing Pope" – And Hop, Twirl, and Dance around sprinkling and bestowing God's Blessings on everyone.


        April 7, 2013 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  32. NW1000

    The Indian stuff is hip right now; the PETA types will have to wait their turns.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  33. Bill

    If all these people are so worried abou a name they need to go live under a rock.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  34. Hebejebe

    Perhaps, as in the old snl ski with al Frankenstein from the 70s, we should expand the concept with the Philadelphia screaming dagos and the Denver redneck s ? All can be misrepresented and made to feel a victim at the same time.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  35. Barry


    April 7, 2013 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • thefacts

      when was the last time you heard someone call someone a redskin offensively?

      April 7, 2013 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
      • Barry

        About four months ago. I worked with a part time worker who is Native American. He is not a very good worker and someone made a comment about that lazy redskin. That good enough?

        April 7, 2013 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
    • NW1000

      Well, I know for fact the Washington Redskin fan base and team ownership thinks ALL Indians are lazy and worthless drunks.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Barry

        I find it amazing that comments such as this make it on the board.
        What if I where to postulate on someone of slightly darker skin tone being lazy, drug addled, and whining for more tax payer supported relief?

        April 7, 2013 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Barry

      Shall we call each other names yet to prove who is superior? I think you might lose.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  36. SweetWillliam

    Why do paratroopers holler "Geronimo" when they jump out of airplanes? Why do thousands of people sing "Hail to the Redskins"? I think it is out of honor and respect. Way different from shopkeepers who offend.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  37. NW1000

    This woman is a dim bulb.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • NW1000

      Ok, she is an environmentally friendly light bulb.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  38. krehator

    I'm Native American according to the PC definition. However the fact is that anyone born in this country is "native". I wish we would all just call ourselves Americans and shed off the other labels which often only serve to divide us. Everyone needs to get over themselves, and stop thinking they are special.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • AHEM

      You are 100% correct but as soon as this involves "African Americans" then it will really be all over the news and we cant have that.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  39. Barry

    They are already lobbying for just such actions. Bet they get more traction than those protesting Native American names. We have already seen teams names such as beavers and cougars changed because they offended women.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • SweetWillliam

      Do you have a link?

      April 7, 2013 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Wow, I did not know that. I was posting it as tongue-in-cheek but...just wow. Seriously though? These people who are protesting the names do realize that the names were created and given BEFORE popular culture twisted them into what they mean today? So instead of accepting that fact, they want to ban using the original names because they're offensive to women? Absurd.

      And people say all common sense has left this country!! */s*

      April 7, 2013 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  40. NW1000

    What an interesting story

    April 7, 2013 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  41. Bill Of Rights

    Only someone who by nature is racist would not be able to see what is wrong with this name. If you have to ask what the problem is then there is no hope for you or your offspring, and if you do know what the problem is yet just don't care then you are what is wrong with this country. Some of you are still fighting on the wrong side of the civil war it seems.....

    April 7, 2013 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • thefacts

      so you think these events are helping the cause and not hurting it?

      April 7, 2013 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • NW1000

      Oh! The horror.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Joat

      I particularly enjoyed the part where you claim that anyone whose opinion differs from yours is racist AND stupid for not realizing just how horrible of a person they actually are. Is their enough oxygen up there on that moral high ground?

      April 7, 2013 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
      • recklesss

        If you support racist terms you are a racist. You can't change fact. sorry if that hurts your feelings. It hurts being called a derogatory term doesn't it?

        April 7, 2013 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  42. thefacts

    i don't understand why she is doing this, it might be because im from a newer generation but until i heard about these stories i did not know that word was offensive. i mean you never hear someone shouting at a person and saying what a r word they are being. in all honestly if the people had never made this into a big thing people would of gone on living never knowing that there was hate tied to this word, and soon their would of been no hate tied to this word cause if no one knows that there is hate how can there be hate

    April 7, 2013 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Kanerahtiiostha

      Unless you have been the object of these racial slurs or the person making them it is possible that you may not have heard it. That doesn't negate the fact that it does happen and it is offensive.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • SYE

      To "thefacts": Now that you know "the facts", your opinion still has not changed. The webster dictionary clearly defines this word as offensive. Just because it's not offensive to you, does not mean it's not offensive to Native Americans. To those fans who claim it's an "honor", I only ask that they have a conversation with those who they think they are "honoring". It doesn't surprise me that the majority would not understand how such a word can be hurtful, it just saddens me that after 50 years of fighting, there are still 900 teams who have not taken the moral high road to correct a wrong.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      That's the point it's worked it's way into pop culture through sports team names. The fact that you didn;t know it was offensive proves the v ery reason they should change their names . they turned a racial slur into an accepted term

      April 7, 2013 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  43. madrogio

    Fine, just fine. Cowpersons and Indians, etc. Let's revise history and make sure, so very sure, that we never offend anybody, even unintentionally. Or could we just grow up and, like adults, address some real problems that hurt and kill us? Sticks and stones, people, and stop being so thin-skinned, red or otherwise. Who ever told you life has to be fair!?

    April 7, 2013 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      An adult would realize that the dignity of native americans is more important than a sports teams name. I for the record loves sports and follow the NFL passionately.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
      • rofl

        Actually, I'm pretty sure their dignity doesn't matter to anyone but themselves. They have their own sovereign nations. They can censor it there, if it matters that much to them.

        April 7, 2013 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  44. shottgun

    It's a mascot for crying out loud! Get over yourself, and find something worth while to stand up for? Too much time on your hands ! Leave the names and logos alone! Ya Whiners!

    April 7, 2013 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  45. Joat

    What a tremendous thing to see someone who actually understands the difference between racist and race-related. Connotation and intent is everything. No one is trying to judge Native Americans in a negative light when they talk about the football team, yet there are those PC-Nazis on the left who assert that's the case merely because I said the word. It's nonsense.

    The worst part is that unlike latinos and blacks, who have large minorities and good publicists, Native Americans don't. They suffer more from poverty and disease than either of those two, and yet are far more likely to be forgotten. Sadly, they are such an important part of our nation's history. If we keep bleaching our popular culture, too afraid to acknowledge cultural differences, those things that make this group unique and worthwhile honoring will be lost.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  46. krehator

    PC is getting ridiculous in this country. We need to pass an amendment that specifically states "feelings are not protected". Otherwise everyone is going to huddle into their own groups and start a contest of who can gripe the most. Wait.....it has already started.....

    April 7, 2013 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  47. Mark K

    This suggests that Notre Dame should get rid of the "Fighting Irish" since it characterizes the Irish as being pugnacious.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      exactly! Fighting Sioux...Fighting Irish...Fighting Illini. It is ridiculous!

      April 7, 2013 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      Yes it is born of a derogatory term. If you ask the school they will say they use it as a symbol to fight against oppression and discrimination like the irish had to endure when they immigrated here

      April 7, 2013 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      Those dirty Irish, all they do is get drunk and fight. But we should ban the name because it might offend someone. And what about the Montreal Canadiens? I've never met a Canadien worth a damn so let's ban the name. From now on, no one will be called a Canadien ever again.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
      • DCormier

        I am French Canadian and I am not offended by the Montreal Canadiens at all. I am however offended by the Vancouver Canucks because they are such a historically bad team.

        April 8, 2013 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  48. RD Carrington

    Never seen a time in this country when so many are SO offended by so little – and so easily distracted from much more critical issues.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • krehator

      Agreed. Everyone is trying to save the curtains in a burning house.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • bailas

      Soon, "R"-Neck will be as bad a word as "R" or "N" words.......

      April 7, 2013 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  49. pachy

    How about the

    Cleveland Browns
    New Zealand All Blacks
    Boston Celtics

    and isn't it an insult to all of those people who were killed in natural disasters to have the

    April 7, 2013 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack Batt

      Padres, Packers, Giants, Dodgers, etc – the list goes on and on. If the team was named in good taste then the name should stick. I think the worst name change in history was changing the Bullets to the Wizards.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
      • recklesss

        Don't just name teams. The Packers we're named after the meat packing companies in Wisconsin that originally helped finance the team. Why don't you look up the team names before questioning them. It's the 21st century and youre already online. The answers are a click away.

        April 7, 2013 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      Why don't you look into why they are named those named. Browns for example were named after Paul Brown the original ownerThe Celts (usually pronounced pron.: /ˈkɛlts/ but sometimes /ˈsɛlts/, see pronunciation of Celtic) or Kelts were an ethno-linguistic group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Medieval Europe who spoke Celtic languages and had a similar culture,[1] Cajun is a term for french Canadians that immigrated here. Way to show your lack of knowledge

      April 7, 2013 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • MBA Matt

      The All-Blacks (New Zealand's National Rugby Team) got that name from their all-black kits (uniforms), not due to any racial team make-up or honorifics.

      April 11, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Hail Redskins!

    This goes beyond dumb. Everybodys offended by something and now we want the government to tell them they cant have the name because of our petty sensativities. Grow up lady and do something with your life that actually has some meaning!

    April 7, 2013 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  51. Jack Batt

    In a nutshell there are things like ethnic slurs and ethnic nicknames. Right now they are being crossed in meaning and intent. Let's not make names used in good taste be confused with the same names used as hate words. I personally think any group should be proud of being remembered in a team name as long as it was used in good taste.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  52. Jay

    Should we get rid of all the Indian named roads,lakes,rivers,towns mountains etc...

    April 7, 2013 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      No those are no indian nmed roads or cities in the US. Did you mean
      native American? then we should keep them because they aren't slurs. The fact that you call them indian shows your ignorance

      April 7, 2013 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  53. Bill

    If stating the color of a person's skin is so offensive, why do African Americans have no problem with such things as Ebony Magazine, or the Black Congressional Caucus or Black Entertainment Television?

    April 7, 2013 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • yemi716

      Those magazines are centered around black culture. Not for the sole purpose of playing mascot.

      It's amazing how people can be so blind and lack compassion. People who have NO idea what it's like being a minority in this country, then have the nerve to tell us not to be offended when we're labeled as mascots or Halloween costumes.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  54. sharkusg

    They should be honored we use the word lest we completely forget about them, slowly dying-out on their reservations.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • yemi716

      Yes, they should feel honored as a people to be faced with genocide, then pushed out to the outskirts of rural America. Then hundreds of years later, take a derogatory term originally used to describe their skin tone and name a sports team after them. How dare they not feel honored. I mean after all this country as done soooo much for them. How can they be so ungrateful?!?!

      April 7, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  55. Bill

    The real problem is people like Suzan Shown Harjo. This political correctness is childish and only serves to stifle meaningful dialogue. Are we in grade school here people?

    April 7, 2013 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
    • JustSaying

      couldn't agree more.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  56. JustSaying

    isn't it more offensive to Native American culture to be so..sensitive.. and fragile? I wonder if the Native American culture as a whole feels that she is representing them accurately.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  57. Clarke

    Oh my, never though the name of a sports team was such a big deal. People take pride in their teams as do the players, in my minds eye, the name of a team is not a negative but a positive for what it stands for. Nowadays, it seems you can't even speak without someone being upset . What have we become, that the name of a team offends people. I have to give this more thought so I can better understand it. I am at a loss.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • JustSaying

      People forget that nothing happens when your offended. You don't get ill.. you don't become crippled.. you're just offended. Most healthy people can deal with this sort of thing with a few moments of rational thought... some set out for redemption. The high road is hard to find sometimes...

      April 7, 2013 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  58. Jon

    Really? Grow up...it's just a Pro foorball team name......The question is ...can the Redskins have a good draft even though the gave up a #1 for RGIII.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  59. dylanesq@msn.com

    Absolutely the 'R' word is equally as bad as the 'N' word. Americans, claiming 'freedom' in their country are quite contented to sit by and watch those original residents of this continent ( from whom we have robbed it) remain oppressed, marginal as well as being maligned. Time for an official change.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  60. Jack Batt

    Wow – don't know where to begin – I am of German/Irish/Cuban ancestry that I know of and who knows what else but of course I call myself an American. My folks and grandparents were all born in the USA as of course was I. I was born in New York City an area of virtually every type of American. I don't know the birth place of my great grandparents. There are things like ethnic slurs and ethnic nicknames. Right now they are being crossed in meaning and intent. I am also a Washington Redskin fan. Do you know what offends me? I hate the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Braves being called America's team! I am an American and I don't like either team. Does that make it wrong? In no way were any sports teams named after anything with hate being the target. Does Ichiro Suzuki resent being called a Yankee? If we totally reversed the situation and had no reference at all to the Native Americans I think that it would look worse and make folks feel ignored. Our proud nation has come a long way in racial equality. Let's not make names used in good taste be confused with the same names used as hate words. I personally think any group should be proud of being remembered in a team name as long as it was used in good taste. We are all Americans! God bless the USA!

    April 7, 2013 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Jules

      I totally agree with you! People need to get a grip already–I am so sick of hearing about team names and everything else that is just so offensive (sarcastic) when it's not. It's a name of a team and there was and never will be an intent on hurting someone's feelings, unless of course you let it. Why do people let something so minute bother them? Go find something else to do with your time jeez.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Jack Batt

        Thanks for the kind comment! I summarized it all in a new post. God bless –

        April 7, 2013 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • yemi716

      I love how people can tell other people what they should and shouldn't be offended. As you stated you are NOT native america. you are WHITE. You have no business telling a people that have endured so much, not to be offended. You're what's wrong with this country. You seem to think the past has been erased and there is equality across the board. There is not. Far from it.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  61. TJ

    I'm part Choctaw and Shawnee , but mostly of Irish descent . I have ALWAYS hated the Notre Dame mascot , yet never said so . Reckon I'll start squealin' some .

    April 7, 2013 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
    • dylanesq@msn.com

      DO IT !!! 'Squealin' ' is all that will change anything. Justice was never handed to anyone on a platter, you have to TAKE IT !! Even my home state of Vermont refuses to acknowledge the Abenaki as being an official Vermont tribe. WHY ?? They don't want to have a gambling casino open up on the border like NY state has in the Mohawk reservation !!! So we remain another racist state. VERMONT....can you believe it ???

      April 7, 2013 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  62. Timothy C

    There is a factor here that no one seems to have commented on yet. Almost 70 years ago a shopkeeper made an offhand comment to a young Susan Show. Almost a lifetime later, her life is essentially defined by that remark. She has made it her mission to eradicate the use of that word by a national football team. Regardless of where you stand on this debate, there is an important lesson here: words do matter. The shopkeeper probably never gave his comment a second thought and I doubt he could even remember the incident if he were alive today. Young Susan was so stung by his slur that she still festers from that wound. The real lesson here is a needless and insensitive remark–whether intended as racist or not–looms far larger in the mind of a child (and stings far deeper) than it does for an adult.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
    • JustSaying

      So basically she got her feelings hurt and never developed healthy coping mechanisms?

      April 7, 2013 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
      • recklesss

        Go tell a jewish person that slurs are just words

        April 7, 2013 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  63. JustSaying

    ...It seems that Suzan has overlooked the obvious. If you can take a term..and strip it of all it's bite..and turn it into a positive piece of pup culture..you're doing it right. I'd venture to say that no one has been called a redskin out of hate in hundreds of years. Why not allow the positive use of the word continue to erode it's hateful past. The "N" word, for example, still carries the hate it always had... simply because every man woman and child knows exactly what it's purpose is.. the offend..and degrade. Alternatively, the only people who know "redskins" used to be a racist slur are the ones you tell. Grow up....

    April 7, 2013 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  64. Garry

    By subtlety shifting the word from a noun to an adjective and calling it the "r-word" she is moving the needle towards equating it with real racial slurs. Clever strategy that may work.


    April 7, 2013 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      Just because you don't want to think of it as slur doesn't mean it isn't one. She doesn't need to frame the word in anyway regardless if you say redskin or Rword. It's still the same word.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  65. ladysoul

    if there was some kind of anti gay remark made
    people would be up in arms
    the name is what it is
    change it !!

    April 7, 2013 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  66. B

    It seems to me we could bring reason to this debate if we were to come up with a functional definition for racism. It's usually been my view that racism is the ascribing or presumption of a negative trait to a person simply because of that person's ethnicity. For example, "I am sure that guy is going to rob that liquor store because he is _____" would be racist, whereas "That guy is _____" would not be. I don't see how use of a physical trait simply to identify one among many can possibly be racist. If it were, then directing my friend toward a specific person in a crowd by saying, "Go talk to the red-haired girl," or "Go talk to the white man," or even "Go talk to the woman" would all have to be considered racist. As soon, though, as I say, "That girl must be stupid because she is blonde," feel free to come hang me.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
    • RunForTheHills

      The functional definition of "racism" is "anything that comes out of a White person's mouth."

      April 7, 2013 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  67. C. Burton

    Can we wine any louder. I am a 1/4 American Indian and I can careless about mascots. Deal with real problems in the world first. I mean grow up and realize that the economy and job's should be on the minds of people right now. Leave it to CNN to bring up any other issue to get people's mind's off Obama and the real problems.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      You're either 1 or your none, Burton. Being an American Indian is not a measure that can be dissected and quantified based upon your biology (despite the federal government's insistence). If you believe so, you're just another one of the non-native assimilators. Your individual anecdote about why Indian mascots don't bother you is not representative of Indian Country nor does it have any greater significance simply because you fraudulently claim a portion of you is an American Indian.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
      • SweetWillliam

        Tyler, if you think being Indian is an all or nothing thing, you should have been in El Paso when the Tiguas kicked out some members because they weren't Indian enough.

        April 7, 2013 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      that would be "whine"

      April 7, 2013 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  68. Tesserazoa

    You cannot legislate this stuff. There is no right to not be offended. More importantly, trying to make laws about language usage does not work. Effective change of word usage only comes from within. I live in DC and refer to 'skins all the time without any intent of bigotry, malice, etc. I am oblivious to the negative connotations that someone else feels, probably because I do not interact with many of these people. That is called privilege. OK, so I learn a bit, will be more careful with the word. When enough people start feeling that way, things might change. But try to legislate a change and it will only breed resentment, and resentment closes rather than opens the mind.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      It's kind of hard having a big voice when we tried to commit genocide and they're still recovering

      April 7, 2013 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  69. Redman Tobacco

    Guess I better watch out, these idiot with the thinnest of skin – no matter what color – will be after me soon.
    If the BS PC culture has it's way, no one will be able to name anything but flora and fauna names and then the freaking squirrels and oak trees will revolt.
    Time to stop the BS and grow a pair. Live by the old motto about 'sticks and stones'.
    Most of these people are like the race pimps – they make a living out of being offended. Tiime's up.
    Deal with it, Injuns.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Tesserazoa

      You almost made sense. Right up until you were purposefully offensive.

      April 7, 2013 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
      • Redman Tobacco

        "purposeful" with a purpose. Deal with it, live thru it and you may be smarter and stronger on the other side.

        April 7, 2013 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      You have such a lazy answer. I don't want to think before I speak so I shouldn't have to. It's does take a lot more effort to actually think than it does not too think. You're prejudice proves our point. You are using it to be offensive. If I wore a shirt that said "redman tobacco's mom is a white trash wh*re" and wore it in your town would you be cool with it or are you thin skinned? i mean just get over it so what if your mom is a wh*re? It's just words right?

      April 7, 2013 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  70. Tony

    This SILLY, typical LIberal "crybaby" "I'M OFFENDED" NONSENSE. Well, then, FINE. I'm offended too. If YOU get to be offended, so does EVERYBODY ELSE, the difference, lady, is that YOU'RE OUTNUMBERED by people who LOVE THE REDSKINS. And, in America, MAJROITY RULES.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Felonius Monkey

      No it doesn't...case in point: The 2000 election.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
      • bob dole

        ooh no you den ent!!

        April 7, 2013 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Yeah, or like Prop 8. Don't matter that it was voted on, if you don't agree with the majority...SUE!!!

      Because we all know...the needs of the few...or the one...outweigh the needs of the many.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  71. JT

    All words have no inherent power. No saying can hurt unless we give it the dagger to stab. No word can make us cry unless we give it the tears.

    Try not to judge yourself by what other say and you will be better for it. Instead change you own mind. Change the prejudice you hold against those that say words without malice...without hate Do not hold the hate of your own heart against the laymen, but instead forgive the random and hold true to your true convictions. Hold true to kindness, and ou will see kindness, hold true to forgiveness and you will see forgiveness. For if you hold true to hate..then hate will surround you..hate will suffocate you...and al lof the colors and words of your fear will be heard day in and day out from the lips of everyone who surrounds you...friend or foe...family kin or stranger.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Tesserazoa


      April 7, 2013 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  72. Dan Novak

    Suzan Harjo... Get a friggin' life !!!

    April 7, 2013 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  73. Sunil

    Its not a curable disease ,I am subjected to these insults almost every day being colored man working in hospitality industry by customers in nations capital of Canada and mind you they get away with it with such impunity leaving me red faced most times for having taken up such issues with my higher ups with comments as being too sensitive and if I do take up the issue its not good for the business leaving me with no options but to keep moving to newer job opportunity but the story remains same and considering the jobs scarcity no one gives a damn of human rights
    .Summery of the situation is -IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME AND GOVERNMENT FUNDING don't even bother because the system is designed in a manner to defeat any one who tries to assert his/her own rights .

    April 7, 2013 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  74. bill

    I'm native american and I can understand where people are coming from when they say it's not a big deal, but then again, imagine if the red skins were called the black skins and it had a logo of a black person on it.

    Everyone would be up in arms about how racist it would be, but since its just 'indians' nobody cares. That's how backwards this country can be when it comes to it's racial stereotyping....

    April 7, 2013 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Moudo

      I'm a white mail, I wouldn't object to a team being called, The White Skins.
      How does skin color determine a person value or worth.

      April 7, 2013 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
      • bill

        As a white "mail" I would hope you could tell me.

        April 7, 2013 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
      • spike

        White people weren't herded off of their land like cattle and forced into reservations. Indians were. White people weren't brought here in chains to be slaves, bought and sold and worked like farm animals. Africans were. There is a difference. It doesn't matter if you appreciate it or care about it.

        April 7, 2013 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
      • recklesss

        As a "White mail" you probably realize that "white" is not a slur.

        April 7, 2013 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • ken2112

      I am a white man who grew up in a football loving home. I never thought about how offensive the term "Redskins" would be to Native Americans. Now that I'm older, I do understand their offense to this team name and I stand behind them to get the team renamed. Being that this team is from the nation's capital, how about the Washington Dis-functionals?

      April 7, 2013 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
      • recklesss

        Thank you. Same here. See when we grow we realize how silly it is to fight to keep a slur. I propose the Wahington Debt

        April 7, 2013 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • JT Asner

      The problem is how YOU, the native person, values your culture. First, the 'N' word is despised by Black people... did you hear that, Black people. In other words, it's fine to describe people as black or, heaven forbid, white. The 'N' word in this context is very different than the 'R' word.

      Using your example, would anyone have any issue with a team called the white skins, with a caucasian mascott? Oddly enough, the only people I could think who possibly would, are Indians and Black people, as though it would be portrayed as a mightier than thou team.

      I went to a high school where we were named the Redskins. The school was engulfed by a native american theme, with many white, black and even native americans being proud of the heritage we inherited as being part of this "team". Well, Ms. Harjo successfully killed the "redskin" mascot at our school and they are now the "razorbacks" of all things. The whole native american culture was completed wipped out of the school and you would never even know that the area was inhabbited by native americans. Ask a kid today from the school what a headress is and they would have no idea. Good job Ms. Harjo, in successfully wipping any memory of your people from the face of the earth.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
    • JustSaying

      If you're shamed by the color of your own skin..there's nothing anyone can do to help you..

      April 7, 2013 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  75. Harry

    The so-called "R word" isn't even in the same dimension as the N word. To look at the mascot painted on the side of a Washington Redskins helmet is to look into the soul of football itself. Feelings of reverance and awe are what I get out of that image; a far cry from disdain or some weird derisive humor. Athletes like Jim Thorpe and Sonny Six Killer come to mind when I take a long look at that figure.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Jim Thorpe and Sonny Sixkiller would disagree with you... In fact, I know Sonny would personally.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  76. Chad Hall

    Miami University "Redskins" changed to the "Redhawks" in 1998... professional teams should as well.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
    • nignog

      lol....some people have too much time on their hands

      April 7, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
      • wahoo1969

        ...nice name

        April 11, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  77. steve851

    Hopefully, some day, this PC BS will have run its course

    April 7, 2013 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Tesserazoa

      Sorry, but languages evolve for many reasons, and one of those will always be based on pressures to be polite or civil. Just a fact of life. Sucks to be told you are being impolite though when you are certain you aren't. I get it.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  78. anon

    University of North Dakota, The Fighting Souix. Their name was changed out of "respect." The Souix fought to have the school maintain and keep the name The Fighting Souix. It wasn't until a leftist guilt ridden white man sued to force the University of North Dakota to change it's name and mascot. If you're offended by sports mascots... you're an idiot.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  79. Jerry

    Can't this woman find something more important to do with her time?!

    Get off you high horse woman and work on more constructive issues!!!

    April 7, 2013 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
    • amused123

      Ditto; because racism is such an unimportant issue

      April 7, 2013 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  80. Bill

    If a mascot offends you or a word offends you then you have huge mental issues. Please do not get help. Pack your retarded self up and exit.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      By the way I am a native American .....Indian

      April 7, 2013 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
      • Garry

        There is the real "r-word."

        April 7, 2013 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • recklesss

      So if black people or jewish people are offended by slurs they have a mental problem?

      April 7, 2013 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  81. BO

    What a crybaby.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
  82. anon

    If you're offended by things like this and also make it a point to get those things changed through law, well, you're a loser in my book. You're a loser because you are completely being distracted. Our country is murdering women and children with drone strikes in countries we're not even at war with. All authorized by an administration that keeps the rules governing those drone strikes a secret. We have a government that's made it a felony to protest three days prior, up to, and during ANY executive event where the POTUS will be. Bush was terrible, Obama, somehow, is WORSE. We'll all see who was on the right side of history in a few short years when the American people live in a straight up police state with TSA in every public venue, public scanning of everyone, being monitored all day, tracked, traced, surveilled, and every bit of data about you stored. And when you speak out you will be marginalized by the media as being a lunatic conspiracy theorist or a terrorist and whisked away without representation or a trial. All our government needs is a crisis in the "Homeland" and it'll be all over for every bit of our freedoms.

    I find it sick that we now call America the "Homeland". USSR was the Motherland, Nazi Germany was the Fatherland.... WAKE UP. Stop being "offended" by mascots FFS.

    April 7, 2013 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  83. ShingoEX

    Until people start educating themselves about the fact that words are meaningless compared to the meanings behind words, then we'll keep having this censored language being broadened by overly-sensitive butthurt people.

    The Washington Redskins were not named to be racist. DEAL WITH IT

    April 7, 2013 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Of Rights

      Your right the term "Redskin" is one of endearment not an insult. Based on your thoughts than hate speech is fake. Let me guess, you think racism is fake also? Just cause you like a team does not mean the team's name is appropiate. Red Skin is a term of dissparagment towards American Natives, PERIOD. Your thoughts on the subject mean less than zero.......

      April 7, 2013 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  84. NH

    Thank you! I totally agree with you. My great x3 grandmother was Sioux and her life becoming white has been told to all generations in our family. My response to these bias people was deleted, too. I thought all thoughts & opinions were welcomed.

    April 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • alabamaliz

      I thought they were too, but no. I posted something criticizing CNN's descent into "entertainment journalism" and it would not post, even after three attempts. BTW, hate this new blog system, when you want to reply to a post it takes you to the bottom of page to do so, where you can no longer see the post you are replying to. An amateur mistake on the blogmaster's part.

      April 7, 2013 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  85. Navajo

    In other words, just because the term is used on reservations doesn't mean that everyone in the Navajo Nation is proud of the term

    April 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry D

      But it also shows the term is not "clearly offensive" to everyone, or even to all native americans. Its a matter of opinion, and reasonable minds can disagree. And based on that, and the most recent polls that say over 90% of native americans don't find the term offensive, I think its unrealistic to expect the team to change a name its invested millions of dollars in.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Navajo

        What polls are you talking about? I didn't vote in any polls and a lot of the people that I do know have not voiced their opinion in a poll. It is amazing how people will place polls in where most Native americans will probably never visit. Then stand on the results as if it is fact to argue thier biased opinion. This isn't about how much money someone spent or is making it is about what is morally right. And if there are people out there that is offended by the term, change the name.

        April 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Fred

        Jerry, I'm going to wager that your statistic about 90% of Indian Country being "ok" with the term Redskin is flat-out false, inaccurate and probably made up on the spot. 90% of the United States claims that they "have an Indian grandmother" so maybe you polled those folks but I will 100% guarantee you that Indian Country is nowhere near willing to accept this derogatory term as an identifier.

        April 7, 2013 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  86. Navajo

    The Navajo was already far beyond west of the Mississippi when the act of 1830 referred to by Black Foot was passed. Therefore, they did not experience things on the scale that tribes back east experienced. Think of it like this you have people today that use the N word and may not find it offensive .A lot of them was born in the mid 80’s on. However, there are still a lot of people who grew up in the Jim Cow era, or the south where police stations were still segregated even into the late 70’s. Who still find the term offensive and will never use the term because the term is painful. There will never be a team with N Word for it’s name.

    April 6, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Navajo

    Cherokee, I think that you are on to something. Jerry D even deleted his own message after I responded. Maybe he did it because he lost his credibility and his postion has been destroyed. We all know what type of person we have here. I hope that Black Foot posts another response.

    April 6, 2013 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry D

      You Sir, are simply wrong. I enjoy a good discussion. Just sad to see its degenerated to name calling and no one is willing to address my question directly.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Jerry D

    In all seriousness, I have not deleted any of your posts. But someone has deleted most of mine.

    April 6, 2013 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  89. Cherokee

    Looks like Jerry D is really afraid of what Black foot has to say. I hope Black Foot comes on and keeps posting. I hope people really see you Jerry.

    April 6, 2013 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry D

      Not at all and I have not deleted any of his posts. But someone has been active deleting mine. But seriously, if the Navajo have choosen to name a high school mascot of theirs "Redskins", can the name really be that offensive?

      April 6, 2013 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  90. Navajo

    Just because it is used on reservations doesn't mean that everyone is proud of it. The Navajo was already far beyond the west of the Mississippi. Therefore, they did not experience things on the scale that tribes back east experienced.

    April 6, 2013 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Cherokee

      Navajo, Thank you! I think we all know what type of person that we are dealing with here.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  91. Jerry D

    Really amusing that my link to the Red Mesa Redskins keeps getting deleted. Can only assume its because the person reporting it realizes it destroys his position.

    April 6, 2013 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Felonius Monkey

      Or it could be that LINKS AREN'T ALLOWED!!!!

      April 7, 2013 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  92. Jerry D

    Whether there is a "better" name to use is irrelevant unless you own the team. The issue is whether this one is so bad that it should be outlawed. And the evidence points to no, as evidenced by polling data and the fact that at least three reservation schools have elected to use the Redskins as their mascot.

    April 6, 2013 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  93. Mick O'Rouke

    Amazing I made a comment about the Paddy Wagon and how I could care less that it is a racial slur and it was removed. Hate speech is only that when you mean it not say it.

    April 6, 2013 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  94. Mark

    I suggest that we focus our efforts on the New England Patriots as they were the colonists who started all this mess.

    April 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  95. OriginalAmericanNDN

    This issue is seeing the light of day again because finally America might be in a place where Native American children don't have to live with this. Many of the comments make it obvious others have NEVER experienced racism, except when Dad read them Tom Sawyer of in an article. Google has told them 90% are not offended. They don't live in a Rez town. They seem to know about life on a Rez though. They comment on lack of a work ethic others against casinos. How a last name is hipocritical & offensive to horses. That we should concern ourselves with N.Korea vs this waste. After all, one we can affect the outcome & the other we are just at the mercy of the powers that be. If the name hit home with you, would you feel different? If you knew a "real Indian" would you think before you popped-off in sme comment section? Instead of laughing at every snide comment, do you ever think how sad it is that we don't have compassion for the other when we have nothing on the line?

    April 5, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Carlos

    I am of Mexican and Apache heritage and I take no offense to Redskin, Seminoles, Braves, Indians, or anything else. My ancestors were warriors and a proud people. A team adopting a team mascot is a sign that the masco is a heroic, fighter who is out to win.
    I don't recall any ball team or hockey team calling themselves the "mice, rats, skunks, cowards, or lamprey eels. The people who are 'offended' are just looking for something to be offended about.
    What they should find offensive is the horrendous treatment by our federal and state governments of native americans everywhere. While Blacks may have been brought here for slavery, we had our very homes destroyed, land stolen and people slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands. We had forced marches from Georgia to Oklahoma to be put on reservations and had our leaders put in prisons while kids were forced to 'learn" the white man's ways.
    If my fellow native americans want to be offended...be offended by that...not a ball team.
    BTW...Go Redskins!

    April 5, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • dumb

      You also never here "us" say "my what a handsome whiteskin" 'my what a hard working whiteskin" "oh look at that good lookin blackskin" "that blackskin sure does make a great leader"

      April 5, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry D

      Oh, so now its how it was used in the movies! Not in reality. Glad you cleared up your thinking on that. Now we know how much weight to give your opinion. Thanks.

      April 6, 2013 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  97. coldharbor1864

    Jerry, All I can say is WOW! No one can dispute this!

    April 5, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Dan

    And I love the way you put the focus on just the colonists doing the scalping of native americans...... native americans practiced and did the same violent acts your claiming they found so offensive and painful.

    April 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • OriginalAmericanNDN

      We learn quick!

      April 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Jerry D

    Very nice. But all wrong. That is not where the term comes from. Its after the fact propaganda. Nice try, though.

    April 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Dan

    The Phips Proclamation wasnt a decree to kill ALL native american tribes, it was directed specifically at the Penobscot tribe who during the time of the French and English settlers decided to fight on the side of the French and oppose the English...thus your French and Indian War. Check your facts before you skew them to support an argument!!

    April 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
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