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.

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

    Steps up on soap box: I find it offensive that this article portrays my hometown, El Reno, Oklahoma, as a community of bigotry and hatred. Although something like this undoubtedly did occur in the 1950's and things like this still happen in many cities across the nation even today, El Reno is not a place of prevalent racism. Moni Basu doesn't grasp the kind of potential damage mainstream media can cause a small town like El Reno when it makes a claim without closing the circle and saying racism on this level does not exist there today. Now the rest of the US could potentially perceive this small town in a negative light because this writer has, albeit unintentionally, slapped it with a stigma from something that happened over 60 years ago.

    Born in Texas, I moved to El Reno with my family at age 3 and I lived there until leaving for college at Oklahoma State University at age 18. I now reside in Boulder, CO and have lived in Los Angeles, New Orleans and on the island of Maui. My entire family (minus my little sister living in NYC, previously Melbourne, Australia) still resides in El Reno, Oklahoma. I am "white", but my girlfriend of 4 years was born in South Korea to a Korean mother and a Chinese father.

    I graduated high school from El Reno with an amazing "white" young lady who went on to become a physician and volunteered with freedom fighters in Africa. She had to be smuggled out of the country for her own safety during a period of extreme violence and eventually went on to marry one of the native African physicians who fought for the same cause.

    There are at least thirty examples I can give you of people who grew up in El Reno or people who still live there who exemplify the complete opposite of what this article conveys of this community.

    Let me ask you this Moni Basu, does this seem like a town of racists to you? This is a big, sarcastic "Thank You" for dragging El Reno into the limelight for something negative instead of the many positive things this quiet little country town has to offer. I understand this reference was meant to be used to emphasize the catalyst for this woman's important cause to end racism towards Native Americans, but this sort of thing simply does not happen in El Reno today.

    Steps down from soap box.

    April 7, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      And that's why you're pretty much as ignorant and bigoted as any Klan member.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • You aren't too far off

      Yep, I'm the one and only clan person who thinks rural whites are uneducated, racist bigots.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wise

      Which is interesting, because I would wager you haven't spent much time in the middle of the country. Am I right?

      April 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ladycentsamile

      I'm really glad that you have such fond memories of El Reno, Oklahoma. I do not. Just two short weeks ago I was in your town, sorry to burst your bubble but racism, discrimination and stupidity is alive and well there. I KNOW this because I experienced it. The pointing fingers, looks of disgust, the grabbing of small children and rushing them away from the aisle that I'm in. The Linda Blair head spinning, eyes popping out of their sockets ,death grip of a companions hand, telling me to get the blank out of" their country." Yeah that was my experience of your town, and its people. Unfortunately I experience this and worse EVERY time I leave my house. Why you ask. Because of a piece of fabric. Seriously. I cover. I wear a burqa in public because of a medical condition. Happy to hear of your fond memories and experiences in Oklahoma, I just wish I could have some too.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. larry

    This is an interesting thought process. I don't know that there is a clear "right" or "wrong" on this, but I do know that, in our american society today, we are hypersensitive to everything. If the Redskins are considered an offensive mascot, aren't the Cowboys as well? And isn't it wrong to label a football team the Dolphins, when they are such sweet, peaceful creatures? And by the same logic, are Rams so one-dimensional that we can stereotype them with a football mascot? I know, it sounds stupid. I guess that's exactly my point. If you can show that the vast majority of Native Americans are insulted by the Redskins mascot, I have no problem changing it; but just because a handful of people find it insulting? As Becky said above, find a passion that will make positive change in the world, like fighting cancer...

    April 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • luvuall

      Before you embroil defenseless dolphins in this controversy -they are such sweet, peaceful creatures when they don't have friggin' laser beams strapped to their heads -try a test a little closer to the original: where are the teams called "Black Skins" or "Brown Skins" or "White Skins" or "Yellow Skins"? But maybe you're right and some of us have gone PC crazy. Maybe the fix is to change the name to the "Thick Skins"...

      April 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Merlin

    Oh, good grief!!! I'm part Cherokee and proud of the heritage I came from, but never and I mean, never have I given one thought about the names of any of the mascots of sports teams being derogatory. I cannot prove the link to my heritage, because many years ago my family's ancestors went to great lengths to cover it up. What a shame. All I have is the nice dark skin hair and eyes I've enjoyed all my life. The Native Americans were brought down by the greed of all men. Throughout history man's inhumanity to man has been and still is readily apparent. Tons of gratuitous diversity training will not correct this. It only teaches people how to "tiptoe" around each other and avoid sensitive subjects rather than talk and learn about each other and work together. Perhaps the next iteration of man will be somewhat more capable and willing to work on real problems like ending hunger, creating long-lasting energy sources and peaceful coexistence.

    April 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don Black

      Merlin so you were brought up in white society, raised as white, educated as white and lived all your life as white and you can't remember ever being offended by the term redskin? Hmmm, how do the French say it.....kel suprise?

      April 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Thomas Z

        Don Black, I'm noticing some anger here. What's the real issue? You obviously can't speak for all native Americans – just as I can't. I'm sorry that somehow a sports team named decades ago somehow offends you. But guess what? You have the ability to not like something and forget about it. If your really worried about Native American issues, why not focus that energy on the something important, like curbing alcoholic consumption by natives? Or education on how the casinos are destroying entire tribes? Or any of the other major issues plaguing the Native American people..

        April 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    I think the article should have mentioned that the term "Redskins" comes from the 1700s and 1800s when the term was used in advertisements for bounties. A scalp could be from anyone, bounties were paid, but if "redskin" came with the scalp, it proved that in fact, it was from an Indian. "Scalp $2, Scalp with Redskin $3". Offered by those Northeastern US municpalities.

    April 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lucastoole

    I can see "redskins" being derogatory maybe.. But all the other nicknames? The high school I attended was and still is nicknamed "Indians". And this is in a place where native Americans massacred white settlers. So yea, if anyone should have an issue with that, I should, being white myself. Take having a team nicknamed after you as the compliment it was intended for. Nobody wants to name their teams something derogatory, its just bad business.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • O My Paper Man

      Yeah, how about naming teams the L.A. Mexicans or the New York Jews. But we do it with Native Americans. We also name American weapons after Native Americans and/or their culture (Tomahawk Cruise Missile and the Apache Helicopter) when it was this country who used imperialist beliefs to conquer Native American tribes throughout this country. So, America conquered Native American tribes and removed them from their homelands and now we use weapons, named after them, to conquer and kill others! This is a cool article and this conversation needs to continue so we show respect to Native Americans not ignorance.

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

      You realize people were massacred while attempting to commit genocide right? odd way to remember history

      April 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • cryomark

      From another perspective, your "settlers" were invaders.

      And it's tiring, these self justifying rationalizations.
      "It's a compliment"
      "You have no right to be offended!"
      "This is an historical tribute."

      The honest response from school and corporate boards would be "You lost. We can do what we want."

      April 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. J

    Oh for crying out loud. What is next? The Minnesota Vikings? The Boston Celtics? The New York Knickerbockers? The Montreal Canadiens? The Vancouver Canucks? How about the Michigan State Spartans? Or maybe the USC Trojans? And let's not forget probably one of the most widely loved or hated teams in the country, the NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH!! Oh and I guarantee that people will say I'm being so ridiculous and insensitive. There is an idiot in North Korea who is just dying to turn our nation into a parking lot (which by the way, yes I realize that numb nut doesn't have that firepower). But nonetheless it IS a big deal. We have a president in Washington who goes around like a pied piper touting his socialist political views and is destroying our great country and ninety percent of Americans can't think for themselves so they just follow like sheep. Oh and I'm sure that makes me a racist because how dare I use my freedom and first amendment rights to criticize our president right? We got REAL PROBLEMS and we're worried about sports mascots. Sports mascots? Really? SPORTS MASCOTS?! I feel like Allen Iverson...Practice? We're talking about practice. Practice? (Youtube it if you don't get it.) One person I can't stand is Bill Maher because he is the most far left clown I've ever seen. He comes down on religion all the time and people clap and cheer but Islam is somehow off limits. Christians are seen as fairy tale believing fools but Muslims, ooooh noooo, we must be sensitive to them everybody says. But I agree with Bill on one thing. We have become a nation of p*ssies. Notice how even that word I have to censor because someone will have a fit because of that. Wake up America! Start worrying about the real problems.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • ThatGuy

      All this crap makes me want to punch myself in the nose...Im so tired of the (Insert Letter Here) word. Grow up people!
      Whats even more is this country was founded on freedom, we are given the right of free speech and expression I can call you/ him/ her/ them/ this/ that, what ever I please. Oh and did anybody stop to think, as an owner of a football team you probably wouldnt name it something you thought was derogatory???

      April 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • recklesss

        The owner of the redskins was a known racist. They were the last team in the NFL to allow black players. You can spin it however you want you can't change history.

        April 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. yemi716

    They are NOT named the "Washington Natives" or "Washington Iroquois" They are named the "Washington REDSKINS"

    a bigoted and blanketing term used years ago to describe ALL natives regardless of affiliation. There lies the difference.

    The fighting Irish? Did someone really try compare that name to the redskins. The name "fighting irish" doesn't single out an entire race of people by their SKIN TONE. Not to mention it's Notre Dame, everything about that school is Irish.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • ThatGuy

      And??? So what grow up and pay attention to your own life...the problem with this country is all the crybaby bullsquat!

      April 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • recklesss

        The grown up thing to do would be to admit the truth and grow from it. The childish thing to do is to call people names and ignore the realities of the issue.

        April 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richie

      what's the point of a mascot? Show heritage? To represent? Strength? Intimidation? You don't have any teams named the "Weaklings" or the "Anonymous's". I'm part Indian and I take it as a complement. Thanks to all teams/schools/organizations that represent my heritage. When some kid asks their dad what a redskin is or brave or a chief, it sparks a conversation of who the American Indians were and the evil Europeans brought. And this lady wants to stop all those conversations.

      My High School mascot was a General. We weren't called the "Private 1st Class'" Would you rather be a General or a Private? Would you rather be the Redskins or Europeans? I think its awesome that my heritage is used as a symbol of strength and pride. Harjo doesn't represent me or my kin. She just inspired me to start a group (or join one) of Native American blood to fight to keep names of Indian Heritage.

      April 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MrCleanX

    Call me a Whiteskin. I'll never be offended. My skin IS white.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • ThatGuy

      You are white which is un fair.. check univ wisc duluth and the college course they offer based on ist un fair to born white....

      April 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • JenVa

        White SkinHead, so, you are offended and calling names already given similar respect.

        April 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThatGuy

      OH no you called me the S word is this where I cry and create some liberal program to combat your racism??

      April 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ward Watson

      "skin that's black is really brown, but that doesn't make the world go round
      skin's that white is really pink either you can't see or you can't think"

      reducing people to black/white/red/yellow is faulty logic and racism

      April 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Thegoodman

    "...a stupid overreaction to people who are overly sensitive."

    I know right! I mean, what have we ever done to Native Americans that is unfair? Please take your ignorance someplace else.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dan

    I feel offended when people tell me what words I can use.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • ThatGuy

      get used to it, with this crybaby liberal "progressive" movement going on you will have a LOT more like this! The only way to deal with it is to vote it out at the local level and move on up!

      April 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • JenVa

        backwards to nowhere with your mindset...

        April 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • alf564

        You are so RIGHT! Look at the liberals, in Nazi Germany in 1941 they would have sold out their family so the NAZI's would "LIKE" them !!

        April 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dan

    The Washington Native Americans doesn't really have the same ring.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  12. crucesignati

    As an Irish American, I'm deeply offended by Notre Dame's use of a short, belligerent, probably drunk, little man as its mascot.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      I think it's pretty cute

      April 7, 2013 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
      • crucesignati

        Actually, I do too. Just trying to point out the absurdity in this. The NCAA has over 100 teams whose mascots are derived from ethnic caricature. All of them pay respect to the groups they honor by name and by mascot.

        April 7, 2013 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • honestwagner

      Sorry but the Notre Dame mascot is of a fictional character, a Leprechaun, which is not even human and never existed. "redskins" are very real and went through some real injustices, like genocide. I ask, as I do in every post, why is it OK to use racial slurs that describe some groups but not others? I'm still waiting for a coherent answer....

      April 7, 2013 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
      • J

        I'll give you a coherent answer. Now you have to actually COMPREHEND it. Your interpretation of the Notre Dame mascot is that it is a leprechaun. Maybe someone else views it differently. But because YOU see it YOUR way then dammit that's the way it is because YOUR interpretation is the only one that matters. I could be offended every time a middle finger comes out the window of a car. But instead, I'm secure enough inside my head to know I can outdrive that idiot any day of the week and twice on Sunday. And who cares if that isn't true? I can't change their opinion and they can't change mine so it's not worth getting worked up about. All this stuff is is drama. Americans LOVE drama!

        April 7, 2013 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
      • crucesignati

        Keep in mind, the term "Native American" is an attempt to deny the fact that they too acquired land, wealth, and resources through conquering and subjugating weaker people groups during centuries of tribal warfare. Some might even call this genocide. Welcome to the human condition. Good luck making your case. You'll need it.

        April 7, 2013 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. Raven

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the term "redskin" came from the reddish skin color of some Native Americans, as in the terms red Indian and red man. The OED cites instances of its usage in English dating back to the 17th century and cites a use of red in reference to skin color from 1587. Multiple theories fight for prominence as to the true historical origin of the word. One theory, mentioned above, is that the term was meant as merely a physical indicator, similar to the words "white" and "black" for Caucasians and Africans, respectively. Another theory holds that it was first used by Native Americans during the 1800s as a way of distinguishing themselves from the ever-growing white population. Another theory is that the term "Red Indian" originated to describe the Beothuk people of Newfoundland who painted their bodies with red ochre, and was then generalized to North American indigenous people in general. "Redskin" is a racial descriptor for the indigenous peoples of the Americas and one of the color metaphors for race used in North America and Europe since European colonization of the Western Hemisphere. An attempt to revoke the trademark registration of the Washington Redskins team name failed when an initial revocation of the trademark was reversed in the 2005 court case of Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo. Harjo's case inspired many other Native American civil rights groups to pursue the topic, and subsequent lawsuits followed. One complaint filed stated: “The term ‘redskin’ was and is a pejorative, derogatory, denigrating, offensive, scandalous, contemptuous, disreputable, disparaging and racist designation for a Native American person.” Despite these attempts, "redskin" continues to be used as an NFL name.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Raven

      Google Redskin and see how long it takes you to find it's definition as a derogatory term.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Carl

        You fail to make a good point. The name Redskin is staying

        April 7, 2013 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
      • Raven

        Don't get me wrong. I am Native American and a Skins fan. I have no problem with the name.

        April 7, 2013 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Gweilow

    maybe more...........""R"eading, w"R"iting and a"R"ithmetic" hahaha!

    April 7, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Rita

      I didn't laugh

      April 7, 2013 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. Robert

    I didn't read the article, but i don't have to seeing some uptight politically correct person brings this topic of EVERY single year. No one is mocking any of these "races". If you want to get offended by things like this then stop dressing up in green with shamrocks and green top hats on St. Patricks day. I'm Irish and that offends me.... ridiculous

    April 7, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • honestwagner

      It is not really about whether someone is being mocked or not. I'm having difficulty understanding why it is OK to use racial slurs when describing one group but not some others.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Don Black

      That analogy only applies if St. Patrick's day was actually "Stinking red headed drunk Mick day" then, you would have a reason to be offended.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Dressing up as a mythical being (leprechaun) is a heck of a lot different than stereotyping a whole race.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  16. logikflux

    I think we should take it farther. I the team names is "redskins" only allow native americans to play on the team. Viking? Big burly white guys. Yankees,.. all white dudes. The cubs,... should be actual bears, trained to play baseball. Fighting Iriish must all be Irish people, and drunk. The twins must be all identical twins. The Saints will be the Vatican's team. Don't fight it, things are just better this way.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  17. TheDougJDR94

    Which R-word? There appears to be two of them now. Man, this country is uber sensitive.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  18. honestwagner

    I'm with you Brian. Where can I buy a jersey?

    April 7, 2013 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Hank

      You're probably already wearing one

      April 7, 2013 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  19. Kris

    Why are there no African Tribe logos on any sports teams? Just imagine all the spear chucking fun that could be portrayed with these characters.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  20. w l jones

    Why not change the washington Skin to Indiginous ( black) skins?.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Bar

      Why change a team that has had the same name since 1932 at all?

      April 7, 2013 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
      • Diablo135

        Because almost 3 million people are offended by it. While I personally don't think it's a big deal, they do.

        April 7, 2013 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
      • Don Black

        Because their name is has been historically used to denigrate an entire race of people. And we have grown as a society and should not use terms that we know are offensive or could be offensive. We used the term "Oriental" for hundreds of years but because it had a negative connotation, we have discarded it for the term "Asian" . It seems however that the Native American is the last race to receive such respect.

        April 7, 2013 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Dominick

      Because there already are enough Blackskins in this country as it is

      April 7, 2013 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  21. Rickapolis

    I'm amazed at all the folks that keep telling us that derogatory terms about others are actually 'honorifics'. It's rather presumptuous to tell others when they should or should not be offended.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Bar

      If thousands of people are not offended, and one is, should the change still be made?

      April 7, 2013 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Don Black

        It doesn't matter WE know that Redskin has been used historically to be derogatory. On that basis alone we should change it, whether or not the Native American in good grace has decided not to take offense.

        April 7, 2013 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Karol Wojtyła

        Of course. That's the way we do things. The tail continues to wag the dog.

        April 7, 2013 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Gweilow

      @Rickapolis, The point has been made.

      Just because you are offended by a word or expression doesn't mean that it isn't an "honorific".

      April 7, 2013 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Checko

      Totally agree! Others may not "get it" or even care, but the term Redskins" and using aspects of another culture for a sport's team name or mascot demeans all involved- especially a culture that experienced enslavement and genocide by the culture using these aspects. No matter if well intended- it's wrong.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  22. eulrey

    I believe it always appropriate to ask what Suzan Shown Harjo is getting out of this.

    At this point, the answers have been a lucrative career and notoriety resulting in the exploitation of generational guilt for personal profit.

    What's offensive, again?

    April 7, 2013 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  23. Bill

    I have never felt that for instance, Redskins, Braves, or Indians, was demeaning to the Americaqn Indian population. If i were an Indian i would be flattered that a pro sports team is naming their team after me. I began following sports around 1956, and as a child it never occurred to me that there was anything remotely wrong with a sportsw team being named after the American Indian. it just never crossed my mind at all. Oh, for the innocence of a child.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • parnell in canada

      Really?! And if you were an African-American, you would honoured to have someone in black-face do a little two-step at mid-field? Please.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Aud

      @Bill Good lord, please go to your nearest community college and take a cultural relativism class ASAP. :-/

      April 7, 2013 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  24. Frank

    Yes, we get it already. Some races are more important than others. Tell us something we don't know. Sheesh!!

    April 7, 2013 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • honestwagner

      I think most people with average IQs know it. Getting people to admit it is a step in the right direction. Before I am called a racist or a bigot... I believe in the total equality of all people.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  25. IntraVenus

    I don't think it's any more controversial than asking how well it would go over if a team called themselves the Brownskins. Of course it wouldn't fly. Of course it's racist. Of course Redskins is racist.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitch Smith

      In your opinion IntraVenus, which is worth exactly two cents.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
      • Diablo135

        But isn't that your opinion Mitch?

        April 7, 2013 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  26. ItsAllGood

    No one can offend you without your consent / permission.

    If you are offended, thank you for giving me that power over you.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  27. Bill Dunne

    No, actually if it offends people of African descent it is also just "good old American fun". Remember that as we don our next sports team in Blackface

    April 7, 2013 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  28. Redman

    As a very proud member of the Apache tribe, I see actually like the fact that Native Americans are admired enough to be among the mascots we use for our sports teams. Symbols like the Hawk, Bear, Eagle, Tiger, Buffalo, these animals are symbols of strength and courage, and we honor those qualities by naming our sports teams after them. Same goes with the Redskins, Indians, etc. You don't name a team after that which you despise, but that which you honor.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      The post of the day!!!

      April 7, 2013 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • mbal

      But their problem is they did not consult with Native Americans to determine if indeed the name "Redskins" is an honorific. Perhaps the team originally thought the name would honor Native Americans, but obviously they were very far off. The name is a terrible slur which should be discontinued, no matter the original intent. If Washington really wants to honor Native Americans now, they should change the name.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
      • Hank

        But if you really want to honor White people, the name will stay as it is

        April 7, 2013 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Karol Wojtyła

      A very logical thinker, sir. Thank-you for a terrific post.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  29. Susan

    Lighten up, people. It's making light of a charged issue. Humor helps people see through the difficult bits.

    April 7, 2013 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  30. Bobby

    I used to think this entire conversation was ridiculous but to be honest, it's wrong to use a race or culture as a punch line, a mascot or any other form of entertainment. It's time we do the right thing in this country and sacrifice self for the benefit of us all. It's not weak to love, it's weak not to.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Dunne


      April 7, 2013 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  31. kepha613

    Why doesn't the government just make reparations for the genocide, instead of worrying about words that offend. I think genocide should be removed from all nations, but yet it continues...

    April 7, 2013 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • anon

      They do. Native Americans already receive free healthcare for life, don't have to pay taxes if they live on reservation, and get free child tutor services.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
      • honestwagner

        No nonsense and serious question. How much time have you spent on an Native American Reservation?

        April 7, 2013 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  32. robjh1

    Being politically correct is a double edge sword.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  33. Gweilow

    Oh, and by the way, Stanford change it's mascot from the Indians in the mid "70's with the University officially becoming the "Cardinal" color in 1981 after the student body voted to become the "Steaming Manholes". This happened long before 2005 as stated in the article.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  34. honestwagner

    No it is not the same. Whopper is not being used in the context of race/ethnicity but in the context of size. You got poor marks in reading class didn't you?

    April 7, 2013 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Bar

      Oh, so you're saying its all about context. How very astute. So the Redskins being in an honorary context is just fine, so this is a non issue. Good point.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  35. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    I think one of the following would be more indicative of the city.
    – The Washington Taxers
    – The Washington Can-Kickers
    – The Washington Overspenders
    – The Washington Spinners
    – The Washington Wafflers

    April 7, 2013 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • mk2aw

      The can kickers is brilliant lol!

      April 7, 2013 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Gweilow

      – The Washington Fiscal Cliff (voted the most offensive team in the league)

      April 7, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • MBA Matt

      My vote:

      – The Washington Sequesterers

      April 11, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Gweilow

    Sanitizing and dumbing down our language is a dangerous path to take. My high school debate team coach told us to reduce the syllable size in our preparation for a debate with an inner city school in order not to be perceive as pretentious and offensive. We did this and got thrashed as the other side actually perceived us as being vulnerable and weak. They were focussed on what was important and we weren't.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Don Black

      it's not sanitizing or dumbing down the language to be respectful.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Hobo

    Please stop saying 'white' it offends me and I'm calling my Congressman and going to waste his time to write a bill on this. Forget crime, unemployment, and the economy... Not to mention the wars we are in...

    April 7, 2013 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Chas

      Precisely, shouldn't us W-word's be complaining with all the rest??? blacks have gone though multiple reiterations...
      this is as stupid as the woman that became offended AFTER she found out the color for the clothing she was purchasing was called Manatee Grey!
      I predict in 10-years we won't be able to communicate for fear of offending!

      April 7, 2013 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • kennyzales

      Not only does the term "white" offend me, but I am also disgusted by the phrase "people of color." That phrase puts only caucasians on one side of the line and everyone else on the other. America, look at the can of worm you've opened by becoming worthless and weak, politically-correct pu$$!es. Waagh waagh waagh!

      April 7, 2013 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
      • Karol Wojtyła

        " That phrase puts only caucasians on one side of the line and everyone else on the other."

        That's the whole idea. Without a problem, no solution is needed. Al & Jessie would be unemployed.

        April 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Ral

    There are Native American groups fighting this.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  39. Wes

    There's another R-Word??? I thought retarded was the new r-word... Is Redneck going to be classified as an R-Word too???

    Country is way too PC and sensitive..

    April 7, 2013 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  40. Bill Dunne

    No, the White People will not be giving up their conquered mascots. Just be grateful that there is currently no sports team whose logo is completely done in Blackface

    April 7, 2013 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • logikflux

      Sir, I accept your challenge!

      April 7, 2013 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Karol Wojtyła

      Most people in DC are black.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Seyedibar

    What a useless article. It doesn't even tell us what this mysterious R-word is. But I suppose it's always humorous when someone gets bent out of shape over a word or a mascot.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • john e

      Wow ! How perceptive of you. As the majority of NFL players are black, we short just called Blackskin Ball. Wow look at that black skin run. Wow, what a hit by that black skin. How long do you think that would last. Until you personally
      have been attacked for your appearance, not once but every day of your life you will not know how it feels. Your trivialization of this problem is only more badly demonstrated by AM calling each other by the "N" word in daily life and in song.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Seyedibar

      There was an old aying i learned in grade school. Something about sticks and stones. Have fun being overly sensitive and feeling discriminated daily... by choice.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  42. Kevin

    This makes an assumption that Blackskins is a derogatory term. Redskins is frankly a naive term of a fair-skinned person toward a redder-skinned person, but the derogatory-ness is certainly in debate.

    What if the team name were changed to the Washington Black Power? After all, there is an "unfair" number of Blacks on pro teams. Perhaps we should have Affirmative Action to ensure more whites get opportunity to play.

    This can go on forever. When will life be fair enough? Or perhaps, when issues such as this take center stage, it is fair enough.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  43. First hand witness

    I live in El Reno, OK and there is a large Indian population of laziness. Most of them live in homes owned by the casino running tribe, have 3 or more cars parked in the yard, and "work" for the tribe. And god forbid you go to walmart on the 1st or 15th when they get their "paychecks". The houses are run down and some are a real blight to the town.

    Now I say most because I do know many hard working Indians who are a real benefit to society. But the lazy definitely outnumber the productive.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • AHEM

      And I continue.... Whats your point? I can go to several large cities in the US and look around and say the same thing about blacks, hispanics and whites. Really, they don't have to be large cities either.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Dmasterson

      I beg to differ. Lived in OK for over half my life...Saw just as many non-native run down homes..... Heritage has nothing to do with what you describe when viewed from a larger community perspective. The Casino industry also provides jobs for non-natives as well....

      April 7, 2013 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  44. Sanity

    Why aren't the over 50 indian tribal organization that do not support the effort to replace the Redskins name not ever mentioned or reported on here? These organizations find no insult in the name usage and see the Washington franchise as a symbol of honor. Please report both sides and all indian tribe's positions, not just those few wailing voices against.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Bar

      Because it ruins the report that everyone else is racist.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Don Black

      It's not about Native Americans being offended it's about us removing term that we have historically used as an offensive term. It's about respecting the Native American.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  45. The Washington redskins of washington dc

    Really the Washington Redskins from Washington D.C.??? Please tell me your serious? You make fun of the article and know nothing about the sport! Love it

    April 7, 2013 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      I know nothing about sports? Google Washington Redskins. "The Washington Redskins are an American football team based in the United States that represents Washington, D.C. " Didn't realize the team was located in Spokane!

      April 7, 2013 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  46. Boring Media Hype

    "You do not name yourself after something you despise, but something you admire."

    This is the most sensible thing I've seen posted here all day!!!

    April 7, 2013 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Boring Media Hype

      Although it seems the original post seems to have been removed by the liberal media nazis...sad state we're in folks

      April 7, 2013 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  47. Scott

    At first, I thought she was refereing to the 'R-word' as RG3!!! LOL

    April 7, 2013 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  48. Sam

    And what is your race?

    April 7, 2013 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  49. bob smith

    Ok... what about the "Fighting Irish" of Norte Dame, if were going to ban names, lets talk about all races of people period.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Blackm


      April 7, 2013 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Chas

      The Irish are too drunk to know they're being insulted...LOL

      April 7, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Don Black

      The Irish gave themselves the name "Fighting Irish" that is the difference.

      April 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Irish

    Let's change their name to the Washington Fighting Irish. The Irish don't care.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  51. Sam

    Give us our sports teams Indian Mascots!!! These mascots are about the only thing that makes their memory significant. Without these mascots they would likely be forgotten as a race altogether

    April 7, 2013 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  52. less123

    The US is far ahead of other countries in blending all races and cultures together as to erase the afflictions these have caused humanity in the past. To deviate from the norm and say we're not Americans, we're African-Americans, then we're Africans-in-America, etc. flies against the idea of building a global village, and that living in it, living with it, will stop wars, etc.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  53. Adam

    I completely agree with your statement in context. One could argue the Jewish people have been the worst treated in history, or the tutsi tribe of rwanda, or North Koreans where 140000 at least are in internment camps, etc. Point is, there are many groups of people who have endured inhumane treatment to the worst level, I agree completely with your statement, but there are many groups who have been inhumanely treated

    April 7, 2013 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  54. Bill Dunne

    Yeah? You speak about it as if it's a bad thing. Hardly

    April 7, 2013 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  55. honestwagner

    WOW....make a valid point and correlation and you call me a racist...... Math and science must be hard for you.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  56. Player Jr

    Guess everything is all white in your would so you don't get it or have to understand it.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      That is exactly right. Nothing wrong with that. White priority will always dominate in America, as it was always meant to

      April 7, 2013 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  57. Ward Watson

    but it is definitely a reflection of several of the top ten problems facing America!

    April 7, 2013 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  58. Boring Media Hype

    No one really cares about your drivel here. Blah blah blah. I didn't cause any of this pain and neither did my immigrant Italian ancestors. You arguments simply annoy me

    April 7, 2013 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  59. rick

    yeah, because they're the same issue and deserve to discussed in the same argument.

    what are you running there, about 5 watts?

    April 7, 2013 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  60. Mike in SA


    April 7, 2013 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  61. Ward Watson

    Maybe raising a stink about sports names will raise awareness and lead to changes like the one you suggest

    April 7, 2013 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  62. honestwagner

    No, Im not white. Just giving examples of how some classes are protected....some not so much.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  63. Jo

    popular *portrayals

    April 7, 2013 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  64. Kit

    The difference is Native American Sports logos associate Native Americans with positive heroic images of strength, courage, stamina, etc, just like white tribes such as the Celtics, Vikings etc, while the dreaded "N word" is associated with laziness, stupidity, dishonesty etc. Although, this could change. How about changing the skins names to the NWA's?

    April 7, 2013 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  65. Ward Watson

    The Vikings suffer oppression and genocide

    April 7, 2013 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Ward Watson

      meant to say that the Vikings did not suffer oppression, genocide, slavery .......... again it's stereotypes that recall such that are the most painful

      April 7, 2013 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  66. quipman

    If Native Americans say its offensive its offensive. I'm tired of people in this country who have never walked nor would they ever trade one day of their life to walk in others shoes disrespecting people who do not look like them. Enough is enough, allowing the ignorant in this nation to continue to set the agenda when it comes to what is or is not offensive has to stop. Never judge another man unless you have walked in his shoes!

    April 7, 2013 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • gandalfspeaks

      We're not uninformed. We just don't care... It's because nobody except the .Native Americans. are offended by any of the teams names- Chiefs, Redskins, Indians etc. When you ask most people they have no idea it's even offensive. Besides being in business, it would cost a lot of money to change the names.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
      • unk

        i am not native american and i find them very offensive ... they just simply wrong, insensitive and racist

        April 7, 2013 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • 3March

      Never criticize a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he'll be a mile away- and he won't be wearing shoes!

      April 7, 2013 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  67. pjoe

    To those who are offended ... it is exactly like the "N" word. It is just that a lot more people have expressed offense at the "N' word.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Player Jr

      Its more like so many were usher off the next dimension by white people there aren't enough left to complain...

      April 7, 2013 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  68. palintwit

    Now that Sarah Palin has been broomed from Fake News, she has time to "write" another book, due out by Thanksgiving and just in time for the holiday shopping season. And once again the idiot teabillies will line up and plunk their dollars down for more useless drivel from their Queen Mother. And their Queen Mother will laugh all the way to the bank. But the irony is that teabillies are illiterate, judging by their misspelled protest signs. So why are they buying Sarah Palin's books? Because they use them to level their trailers.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  69. Jim

    I guess the Army needs to find new names for their helicopters too???

    April 7, 2013 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Ward Watson

      which ones?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Jon In Madison

        The Apache, Blackhawk, Iroquois, Lakota, and Kiowa helicopters just to name a few

        April 7, 2013 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
      • Gene

        The badass Apachee helicopter.

        April 7, 2013 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Player Jr

      You have to be a real banana head to compare a tribe name to calling a native american redskin... if you want to see how important an issue it is trying walking through a reservation with a Redskin jacket on. I'll have ambulance waiting for you.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Ward Watson

      These are the names of tribes .... they are not a racist term used by European settlers to describe all Native Americans ... so there is a difference, wouldn't you agree? However, given that these tribes' names are being associated with instruments of War .. you may have a point ... however, a helicopter is also an agent of peace ... saving people and whisking them to safety .... it'd definitely be bad if we named all our machine guns, etc. after Native American tribes, though

      April 7, 2013 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  70. Amanda

    Thank you for this great article. When people get this stirred up, we've clearly hit on an issue that is in need of more discussion. Silence and ignorance are the enemy.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  71. Gt mills

    I can't believe everything I am reading. You're all a bunch of self righteous people. You people who see nothing wrong with it are, the stereotypical American that the rest of us around the world laugh at
    Using the r word and mocking the native Americans IS racist

    April 7, 2013 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Ward Watson

      I can believe it either, Gt ..... I glad there are just a least some of us that understand and are making our voice heard.... these nasty posts reflect poorly on the USA and our education. Great Spirit save us!

      April 7, 2013 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Ward Watson

      Wrong Ron ... I CARE!

      April 7, 2013 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Ral

      Nice fail...

      THat's Fight for old D.C.

      Or, if you want to go old school, it's "old Dixie".

      April 7, 2013 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • CJF

      HTTR is right. The problem is that there are likely less Native Americans in the world than there are Washington Redskins fans. I don't think there's much of a chance of the team changing logos or names.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  72. illmatar

    Wow. It is amazing to me that people still argue over this. Nothing to do with any SPORTS team (entertainment, frivolous, trivial!) trumps any family raising their child without having to fight glaring racist stereotypes. As if raising kids with healthy hearts and minds isn't hard enough! If you are not Native then get over yourself! You have nothing to say on the matter! What unbelievable brats! As if your ball cap was more important then treating an entire segment with basic human dignity!

    These people are the only ones to judge whether or not something is offensive. It's their race that's being used as a marketing tool! A marketing tool!

    You may as well tell a Holocaust survivor that the stars they were forced to wear "honored" them....and yes. I can say that. I'm Jewish. I MUST stand up for this change because that's how *I* would want to be treated.

    The Native Americans have been subjected to more violence and abuse than any other minority in this nation. Their murders may have been less systematic and organized than Hitler's, but the hate and contempt was just as real. "Just get over it?" Really? Is this country going to just "get over" 911 any time soon? If some foreign team put the Twin Towers on their merchandise and said "it's an honor" how do you think that would sit with you?

    April 7, 2013 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  73. av667

    Perhaps in the same vein, let us in all sense of fairness find umbrage with the Fighting Irish which is disparaging toward people from or descended from the island. There are no teams named Italian Hit-men, Canadian Moose-lovers or Mexican Gardeners . Political correctness deems that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish along with all high school teams using the same nomenclature change. While we are at it, Pittsburgh Pirates should perhaps change their name also, lest someone related to a pirate and also Somalia might take offense.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Jo

      All your points were well taken until the Pittsburgh example. They're not associating a certain group (ethnic/religious/cultural) of people with a stereotype. If they were the Somali Pirates then I'd get what you're saying.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • jimmy de cricket

      A- Hoy you say I'm a Pirate.

      April 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Beth

    "I don't have any problem with anyone calling me white." That's fine, because it's is only a description of your ethnicity. It doesn't have derogatory connotations attached to it. The word in question was used to remove someone's humanity.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  75. Elliott Carlin

    Decline? this article would suggest the funeral was over years ago.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  76. Soldier

    YES IT IS THE SAME! Its the same as the racial undermining when the soldiers went into Vietnam and called them yellow skins or g-word, same when troops called he Iraqi locals Haji's, its called evolution we need to learn from our mistakes or the youth will still its okay to do this.. do we still want to have the exact racial bigotry 1000 yrs from now?

    Why is it so easy for the military to get group of diverse people to work together as a team and have them called family at the end and all this just in a few months..

    April 7, 2013 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  77. Elliott Carlin

    you'd do well to drop marijuana from your diet.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  78. OldDad

    Can't wait for the bruhaha over the use of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians of which 99% of those are black people. Hmmm, now what?

    April 7, 2013 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  79. Rick

    Get a life. There are far more serious issues in today's society than this one. I am sick and tired of our country spending so much time worrying about what is considered "offensive". If this dialogue about your article is any indication of the national mood on this topic, the Redskins have nothing to worry about!!

    April 7, 2013 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  80. Off the deep.....

    Wow. ....umm...... let's see. Washington Worms, oh offensive to worms, Uh....Washington Weasels ....fitting but, offensive to Weasels.....uh Washington Whipper-snappers......uh.....offensive to whipper-snappers..... Why do people insist on forcing our government (whose minds need be on important issues... the economy, N. Korea, Iraq, immigration reform....) to waste time on something like this because someone feels offended.... "Grow a spine and quit being so damned thin-skinned." oh, I know...... The Washington wimps.....oh, I guess that's offensive too. What offends me is the amount of money we're spending dealing with this crap.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  81. Rob

    'Politically correctness' and 'censorship' are worse crimes than racism, and they affect far more people.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • marsilius

      But those who are affected by them aren't ANYWHERE NEARLY as negatively affected by them, as are those who are affected negatively by racism. That fact is FAR more significant than is just the fact of the mere number of those affected by those other matters. The only way some are affected by those other matters is just by knowing about them, which isn't really a negative matter at all. And no one at all is affected by them truly negatively in any way.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
      • Boring Media Hype

        Looks like someone alerted the paid liberal responded shills to start posting their objections. It always seems that the initial response to these articles is always a message of frustration and a plea for common sense regarding how special interests are destroying the country. This always followed by a plethora of sympathetic posts in 'response' which appear to be authentic but I suspect are part of the liberal force feeling threatened and trying to fight back. These don't seem to be real Americans...simply shills who are paid to respond

        April 7, 2013 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Ok, you two. Maybe we should have North Korean style 'thought police' too. They could give us a list of words we are allowed to use. Every time we are about to say something, we could write it down, and have an 'authority figure' proof-read it to see if it is appropriate before speaking.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Also, please don't insult me by calling me American or Liberal.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Hobo

    Let's get rid of them all... Irish and celtics – discriminates against immigrants from Ireland. Reds, obviously short for Redskins. Islanders, denotes bias towards people living on Island, Wizards and Devils, they believe in the occult and should be banned and Blues, against short people that are Smurfs. When will liberals get a life....

    April 7, 2013 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Ward Watson

      Irish and Celtics and not derogatory terms ..... even during the period when there was discrimination against the Irish. Now, if back then there were the Boston Paddy's .... you would have a point .... The negativity of the stereotype is harmful and hurtful when it comes hand in hand with oppression ....

      April 7, 2013 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • jag

      Liberals my ass!!!! This political correctness crap encompasses all political views.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      and we have a winner for todays "blame liberals no matter how off topic it is"! congratulations! gold stars for you!

      April 7, 2013 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • c w jensen

      The term "Reds" in regards to the Cincinnati Reds refers to the original name of the team "Redlegs" as they wore red socks.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  83. Ward Watson

    At Dartmouth College in the early eighties, the use of the "Indian Symbol" was officially rejected. There was an still is a long debate. I think it is a move forward to get rid of the American Indian mascots. One must understand that they are denigrating and painful to a people that suffered a near genocide at the hands of European settlers.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Elliott Carlin

      I'm thinking Casinos and other goodies were given to indemnify. They can't keep holding it over our heads. Where is the forgiveness? you speakum krokum

      April 7, 2013 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Boring Media Hype

      Can you show me one person living today that 'suffered' through the genocide you speak of? You sound like the people who want reparations from the government for the 200 years of slavery 'they' endured. They'll have to settle for affirmative action (which by the way is a series of laws based on skin color...sound familiar?) instead. You've exercised your 1st Amendment rights, now please sit down

      April 7, 2013 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
      • Boring Media Hype

        Great idea, I think I'll watch the Redskins get scalped by the Cowboys... offended yet?

        April 7, 2013 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  84. keyser

    I will say only that when you get your gas at the reservation...or cigarettes, I bet you do not say,"thanks, Redskin"...because you know it's wrong.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Elliott Carlin

      I usually use 'Tonto'; but somehow the Washington Tontos are quite as catchy.
      How about the Toronto Tontos?
      I'm on to something here....

      April 7, 2013 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Ward Watson

      Excellent example, thanks!

      April 7, 2013 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  85. Daniel

    Get a life you Indian Giver!!

    April 7, 2013 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  86. dron3

    As I said, I think we should really be concerned about the w-word.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  87. martini

    Oh for goodness sake, I'm sick of EVERYTHING being offensive. Here, take it back. Have the name "Redskin". We'll just call the team "The Skins" . What will you complain about now?

    April 7, 2013 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • BC

      It's about money. She's a wolf in sheep's clothing. A pawn of the elders who want money.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Offended?

      I'm not sure how we can offend one group and by doing so not offend another. Since the beginning of the 19th Century (and maybe beyond), Americans and their government have been committing genocide against the Native Americans, by first pushing them off their native lands, killing them, and putting the survivors onto reservations. Atrocities by the U.S. Govt. were the norm. What would have happened if the U.S. Govt. had done the same thing to blacks (slaves, ex-slaves and freemen)? Lincoln had a plan for them, and that was to repatriate them back to Liberia. Lincoln was a member of the American Colonization Society. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, so they say.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  88. John

    I don't have any problem with people calling me white. Its like only non whites have a problem with their own skin color.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Elliott Carlin

      you obviously don't know how difficult it is being a person of color in 21st century America. We have it so tough. Please continue to feel sorry for us. We can't do anything for ourselves. Thank you.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • rick

      how about we name some teams after the local population? the alabama inbreds. the georgia white trash. those sound good to you?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  89. Boring Media Hype

    The media gives the impression that offended individuals are the norm and that a single person's feelings represent millions of others. Quite often this isn't at all correct, as represented here by the number of people posting their position about this subject. The news media is the lifeblood of the special interests and the more stock we put in what they put out there for 'news' the more powerful their message becomes. (I hope their not offended) 🙂

    April 7, 2013 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  90. Kabimima

    The term "The R Word" has been used for years to refer to the fight of those who support the developmentally disabled to stamp out the use of the word retarded.

    Please don't try to get publicity for your cause on the backs of those who can least defend themselves. Think about it, which R word causes more hurt in this world?

    April 7, 2013 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Ward Watson

      Both cause hurt. Both can be retired.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
      • Kabimima

        Point well taken. My issue was with her using the r word term when it is already part of another issue. Is she going to co-opt the pink breast cancer ribbon for her cause too?

        That doesn't mean that the hurt is not as real when words are used as weapons. I do think that the team naming was meant to build off of the perceived positive attributes of the mascots, not as a denigration. However the fact that those same words are also used to hurt is a problem. But will changing the name of the sports team really change the negative usage that is probably coming from those on the fringe of society anyway? Look at who still uses the N word today. It isn't used in polite society but by the low life's who use it to try to show their superiority, but actually show that they are inferior. I don't see how changing the team name will influence people like that.

        April 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Zakadabug

    Why is everyone acting like this ISN'T offensive? If we had the Harlem Darkies, or the San Antonio Wetbacks, The Irish Potatoes Eaters.....all hell would break loose. Remember when they had to stop the Taco Bell dog from speaking Spanish? That was fine and dandy. You can call someone a "N" or "C" or "S" etc.....but a term that had and still is being used to keep Natives down is OK to use for a football team? It's bad enough you still the land but now you get to use a racial slur as a football team and wanna call it "not racist".....it's not honoring anyone. You wanna honor the Natives then use a REAL tribal name. If it's all just "words" then those of you who are black I don't wanna see you offended by a non black person using the "N" word. Those of you who are Hispanic I don't wanna see you offended when a non Hispanic person uses the "S" word. Those of you who are white I don't to see you offended by someone using the "C" word.....after all they're just words....RIGHT?

    April 7, 2013 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • hollistergrant

      Where the name Washington Redskins came from, per Wikipedia:
      Lone Star Dietz was the coach in 1933. George Preston Marshall bought the old Boston Braves football team in 1932 and renamed them after they left the Boston stadium they shared with the baseball team of the same name. Marshall named the team the Redskins in honor of Dietz, who was Sioux or part Sioux. So the team was the Boston Braves, then the Boston Redskins, then the Washington Redskins. The team was originally named in honor of the coach.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Zakadabug


      Got so wound up I can spell!

      April 7, 2013 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
      • Josh

        We paid fair and square 18 bucks and some beads for manhattan so go screw

        April 7, 2013 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Potato Eaters? You must be referring to the Notre Dame "Fighting Irish".

      April 7, 2013 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  92. michael p. fink

    maybe the team was named after potato

    April 7, 2013 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Chief Seqoyah

      The Idaho Redskins would be a great name for a minor league team in
      Idaho. Think about all of the promotions they could do.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  93. Common Sense

    Donald Trump finds the Syracuse Orangemen offensive and he is now suing them for 20 billion dollars.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  94. taxedmore

    I am offended by all the "Native American" talk. They were born here and their ancestors came from Siberia. I was born here and my ancestors came from Europe. They are no more "native" than I am. They are racists.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • BK

      Actually being here for more generations is exactly what makes them more native than you. I mean if you want to get that technical, then you have to start calling ~everyone~ Africans since all our ancestors started there.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • oranjellojones

      Actually the "true natives" were wiped out by conquering tribes that worked their way up from SouTh America long before Columbus ever got here. The TRUE natives looked like Inuit, with brown skin and less rounded eyes, they didn't have more rounded eyes and red skin, that came from the CONQUERING tribes who either wiped them out or absorbed them into their own tribes as they conquered new lands. So no they aren't truly any more native than anyone else born here, their ancestors were conquerors just like our European ancestors were. That's why the term Native American is PC nonsense I refuse to use. They are Indians which Harjo refers to herself as in the Article.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  95. alex

    Boohoo! Must we cater to everyone that cries? Seriously, get the f over it! iT IS NOT BEIN USED TO DEMEAN YOUR PEOPLE! Man, they really think highly of themselves.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  96. BK

    The thing is... we call Caucasians white and Africans black and no one thinks those are racist. Their skin isn't exactly white and black either, so technically calling someone red who isn't exactly red is no worse, right?

    April 7, 2013 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  97. Owlguin

    Let's get this straight: Chief Osceola's garb is authentic and is made by the Seminole tribe of Florida. The make up is also approved. Members of the tribe were in attendance at the Orange Bowl to observe the make up being put on. They have members that attend FSU. Lastly, the Atlanta Braves stole the Chop from Florida State.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  98. JJ

    I'm a native American but don't really view much of what America does as being 'racist'. Maybe it had a tad bit of racial genesis but now it's just a football team on the east coast.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  99. lowleadman

    The term redskins in relation to the caricature on the helmet is not a match. The logo shows an Indian with brown skin. We could always remove the Indian logo, keep the name and replace the logo with a sunburned cheerleader.
    Actually, this is really silly. I see nothing derogatory about the current condition.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
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