National Congress of American Indians commends D.C. mayor for speaking out against Washington nickname

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Whenever the question of the Washington team name arises, the organization hides behind a deeply flawed (and, earlier this year, completely debunked) poll finding that 90 percent of all Native Americans are not offended by the name. (Which means, of course, that’s it’s perfectly acceptable to the team for 10 percent of all Native Americans to be offended by it.)

It’s hard to reconcile that poll with the official position of the National Congress of American Indians, “the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.” The NCAI opposes the name.

On Monday, the NCAI applauded Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser for speaking out against the Washington nickname. Last week, she said that it’s “past time” for the name to change.

“Mayor Bowser’s statement represents a watershed development in Indian Country’s decades-long struggle to remove this and the many other offensive and degrading Native ‘themed’ mascots from sports and popular culture,” NCAI president Fawn Sharp said in a statement. “In this historic moment for racial justice, Mayor Bowser’s declaration reflects the growing tide among our nation’s leaders and all Americans to choose respect for Native people and all other people of color by ridding our country of the symbols of racism and intolerance that have long marginalized and dehumanized us.”

Again, this isn’t the result of a poll that has provided a phony safe harbor for an organization that refuses to deal with the fact that the name is a dictionary-defined racial slur. It’s the official position of a group founded in 1944 to speak for Native Americans nationally and collectively.

Hopefully, more will listen to these messages. Hopefully, more will speak the truth. Hopefully, change will come. If the NFL wants to lead from ahead and not from behind, this is a change that needs to be made now.

13 responses to “National Congress of American Indians commends D.C. mayor for speaking out against Washington nickname

  1. There needs to be a serious discussion to just then eliminate all nicknames. Majority of them are offensive to different degrees and upset someone somewhere.

  2. Honest questions here: Does NCAI president Fawn Sharp have any recommendations on names that would be approved to honor Native Americans or do any that are represented in sports need to change? If the name were to change, will the name become marginalizing and dehumanizing in the future?

    Washington’s team name was chosen in respect to Native Americans, the previous head coach, and were not a racial slur when designated. If you would like the name changed, it may help further the conversation to understand the specific criteria should be used to determine the name and and suggestion they may have.

  3. How tone deaf can you be if you don’t realize Redskins is an OFFENSIVE and DEROGATORY name???

    Or do you just simply not care because it isn’t offensive to white people?

  4. Indians, Braves, Chiefs, Blackhawks, Seminoles, etc .. are all Okay?

    The Tomahawk Chop, Chief Wahoo that’s not offensive or mocking?

    Perhaps the answer is to eliminate ALL mascot names at EVERY level of sports.

  5. ahmedali020509 says:
    June 15, 2020 at 1:02 pm
    How tone deaf can you be if you don’t realize Redskins is an OFFENSIVE and DEROGATORY name???

    Or do you just simply not care because it isn’t offensive to white people?

    Then why are there reservations that have schools use REDSKINS as the name of the mascot and also use the same logo if it’s so “offensive” ??

  6. Red Mesa High School is located in Red Mesa, Arizona, which is about 25 miles southwest of the Four Corners. The school is located on the Navajo Reservation and is a public school and nearly 100% of the students are native American.

    They proudly call themselves ” Redskins ”

    Mission Statement:

    “To provide quality education for successful interaction in the changing technological world while enhancing Navajo culture”

  7. it’s only a name
    if it offends people, then change it
    they will make a fortune in selling jerseys with a new logo
    personally – I do not find it offensive, then again I am white
    but I recognize that some do – so change it, no big deal

  8. The college, Miami of Ohio changed their name years ago from redskins to redhawks. Maybe Washington could go with just ‘skins’.

  9. Washington Warriors with the spear on the helmet call it a day. Bottomline as a fan you can call them the Washington Wombats and I will be right there! I am a fan of the team not the name!

  10. Snyder has lost a plethora of the fan base (due to horrendous mismanagement & pour play). Do the few fans left really care?

    For so long, this issue simply did not seem like a battle worth fighting. But now, given recent events, I think it really is time to change the team name. I’ve been a fan for most of my life. When you consider the team’s history – former owner & white supremacist Geo Preston Marshall was the last NFL owner to integrate his team – it’s really clear connecting the dots isn’t a bridge too far. In 1961 Marshall had to be threatened by the Federal Gov’t to integrate, or the team would be denied access to RFK stadium (still under construction at the time as “DC stadium”). In 1962, Bobby Mitchell was the 1st African American to play for Washington.

    Here’s the real litmus test… Hypothetically, lets say DC never had an NFL team & next year, the city was awarded an expansion franchise. Do you honestly think in 2021 a name like the “Redskins” would fly?

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