Aug 19, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins cornerback E.J. Biggers (30) is shown with the NFL heads up logo on his helmet before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins Name Change Could Signify the Beginning of the End of Native Culture in American Sports

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The Washington Redskins have become the most controversial topic in the NFL over the past couple seasons, really since the Players Union threatened the 2011/2012 season with the lockout, Bountygate and the Sean Payton suspension of 2012. Not because of anything they’re doing in particular, but because apparently their name is offensive.

Yeah, it’s up there as a top controversy, but should it be?

*Editor’s note: This column does not necessarily depict the views of the staff of nor the views of FanSided. This is my personal opinion and depiction of a very controversial topic in today’s NFL. It is not intended in any way to belittle the opinions of anyone with an alternate opinion or the Native American people, so don’t go there. Thoughts, feedback and varying opinions are welcome in the comments section and please be adults about the topic, as this is a touchy subject for some. Thank you!

“Redskin” is a word that is, to some, a derogatory and demeaning term aimed towards the Native American people.

To me, the term is a complete and total non-issue. Look, I get it, break the name down and you get something that describes the color of the skin and is occasionally used in a derogatory way. Some have actually put it in the same context as the N-word and others say it’s not ok to use any term or even imagery that would be associated with the Native American people to depict an American sports team mascot. I say it’s baloney.

 I find it as offensive as black people find the N-word. They say they’re trying to dignify or honor something with it. It doesn’t dignify us. It doesn’t honor us. It doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves.

This is quite a slippery slope for the original folks that inhabited these lands to slide on. On one hand, natives are incredibly adamant about preserving their culture with paintings, political art displays and other things that would depict their people in a light that is very specific and holds much historical significance. On the other hand, some of them are offended by what it means when American sports teams use those same depictions to represent their leagues? It’s a clear double standard and a difficult thing to skate around if you’re not part of their closed circle.

I have Cherokee in my background folks, and while I’m not a full member of my tribal roots and in fact consider myself black, I definitely embrace the value of my native ancestry. Let me ask you this, are you offended by the term “White” when people use it? How about “Black”, “Melano” or “Mulatto”?…. “Asian”?

To somebody, those are all at least partially derogatory terms that don’t properly intend their ancestry. But to the majority of the rest of us, the terms that take the place of these descriptors are not any better and in a lot of instances can actually be worse. For example this incredible article by CounterPunch puts the term “African-American” into a dark light as a derogatory term. I do agree with the majority of the points in the article, I always have.

In terms of key components that make up the name, “Native American” holds an inherently different value, but the idea behind it is the same. It is simply to find a word or set of words that describes a nation of people and offends the least amount of them possible. We call that being politically correct. The problem is, just like “Redskins” it’s always going to offend somebody by nature regardless. That doesn’t necessarily make the term bad or wrong and the NFL and Washington organization are well within their right to defend the name of their team, even though it may not be able to be trademarked anymore.

International Business Times wrote this intriguing article “Tribal Leaders Applaud Ruling, Say It’s Never OK To Use Native American Imagery In Sports on the subject and there were some interesting quotes in it, but this one stood out to me.

“We wouldn’t agree to any kind of personification of Native American people as a mascot for any sport,” Oren Lyons, a Native American Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy and a member of the Onondaga Council of Chiefs in New York, told IBTimes. “You just can’t put people in the same category as animals.”

“Personification” is a very difficult term to assess when considering the people that are offended by such things. Basically, anything that depicts an American Indian is a “personification” of the entire race. Here’s what has as a definition for the word:


  [per-son-uh-fi-key-shuhn]  Show IPA



the attribution of human nature or character to animals, inanimate objects, or abstractnotions, especially as a rhetorical figure.


the representation of a thing or abstraction in the form of a person, as in art.


the person or thing embodying a quality or the like; an embodiment or incarnation: He is the personification of tact.


an imaginary person or creature conceived or figured to represent a thing or abstraction.


the act of attributing human qualities to an animal, objector abstraction; the act of personifyingThe author’s personification of the farm animals made for an enchanting children’s book.

Again, I don’t want to speak for all of 12th Man Rising, but to me personally, it’s an absurd argument. Many tribes are in fact offended when you call them “Native American” instead of the specific tribe they derive from. They see it as a gross generalization. Just like the term “Redskin” however, The intended positive value of the name and symbol on a football helmet is more important than the few people that don’t understand it.

I’d like to reiterate that point, the intended positive value of what “Redskins” is supposed to stand for is more important than those that don’t recognize it. The NFL is not about “disparaging” the Native American people, you can be sure. They’re all about shedding a positive light on the peoples of old America, those that have always been part of this great nation. The term has always been known as a positive term when discussing the topic of football, which is a good thing. Why would you rather we get rid of one of the most positive and influential ideas surrounding the term in the world?

There are 52 high schools in 22 states that use the name “Redskins” and most of the kids there wear it as a badge of honor to represent the people, whether they derive from that background or not. To them, they have a chance to be an ambassador for not only their school, but the people the name represents. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. This article by puts it into perspective quite nicely, discussing whether or not Native Americans themselves consider it a slur.

There are Native American schools that call their teams Redskins. The term is used affectionately by some natives, similar to the way the N-word is used by some African-Americans. In the only recent poll to ask native people about the subject, 90 percent of respondents did not consider the term offensive, although many question the cultural credentials of the respondents.

ESPN’s Rick Reilly wrote an absolutely amazing article last September, stating many thoughts as to why the name change isn’t as easy as it sounds (a must read if you haven’t already) and may in fact be impossible to mandate for the very reasons I just mentioned. He makes several points that just make sense, including the fact that there are majority-native school systems that have an army of kids that have worn the name with pride and honor for a century, not ever once having questioned the value of their name because honestly, it just wasn’t an issue.

The ruling by the US Patent Office, explained perfectly in Politico, has some valid points that should be taken into consideration. But you also have to be understanding of the fact that whenever you see Redskin used before the modern day, it wasn’t a derogatory term that resembled the N-word, not in the least. It isn’t even a term that resembles the use of “coloreds” or “blackies” back in the early to mid 1900′s. It more resembled (resembles) the classic “Negro”, which specifically means and is a direct and respectful form of the word “black”.

The SeattleTimes banned the use of the word on their site earlier today, sparking a wave of media responses on the topic. It’s a stance that many are taking and have been taking for a couple years now. They feel they are taking a stand against racism.

We’re banning the name for one reason: It’s offensive. Far from honoring Native Americans, the term colors an entire race. Many Native Americans consider it an outdated label placed on their people.

Randy Lewis, a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes who is a board member for United Indians, didn’t pull any punches when asked what he thought.

“I find it as offensive as black people find the N-word,” he said. “They say they’re trying to dignify or honor something with it. It doesn’t dignify us. It doesn’t honor us. It doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves.”

Lewis, who is in his 60s, acknowledges that some Native Americans, particularly from his generation, accept and even embrace the name.

“But our younger people find it offensive, and they’re the ones who are inheriting this world,” he said. “If they find it offensive, damn right, take it out.”

Ok, that’s fine, but it should be pointed out that while the N-word was specifically created to be a term that intentionally highlighted the inferiority of the black race, Redskin was simply created by a people that had no idea what else to call the people of the tribes that were here in America, just as those same people called them “white man”. It’s not a racist term in my opinion, not even partially.

It’s not about the name specifically and intentionally honoring the people it represents, it’s about the people it represents honoring themselves and/or the rest of America using that logo as a badge of honor to represent the people that first lived in America. For decades, the Washington Redskins players have seen the organization as one of the classiest in the NFL.

There’s something to be said about the fact that the word “Redskins” is associated with class and dignity, as well as representing the Native American people. This isn’t about equality or slavery, or even about tribal rights and patents, it’s about a few being overly sensitive and not understanding the big picture while the media blows it out of proportion.

Point blank, if the NFL team is forced to change their name based on a false political agenda, the rest of America will eventually cease to be able to use anything resembling Native American imagery. That means the Kansas City Chiefs, Florida State Seminoles, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks and any other team who’s name even slightly derived from a native story or tribal background is doomed to have to remove anything resembling the culture.

Arrowheads, feathers, tribal tatoos, all of it will eventually be unnecessarily banned because a few people had nothing better to do than be upset that their chief wasn’t the depiction on the helmet of an NFL team. It will happen regardless of how people feel about the mascots at this very moment.

In many ways, the mascot of the Washington D.C. football team is the glue to our remembering Native culture. It’s only fitting that the team that resides in our nation’s capital would depict the race of people that were originally here in America. Take that out and eventually politics will dictate that all Native icons and symbols be removed from American culture. This will threaten all of our recognition of natives in general.

That’s why Native Americans of all races should hope that the Washington Redskins are not forced to change their name.

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Tags: Redskins Seattle Seahawks

  • K3goldie

    This whole article is asinine and ignorant. Yeah I bet u have “Cherokee” background. How many times have I heard that? I bet your white as a bleached sheet, just like dan Snyder, but no no, u get it, ur entitled to push what’s offensive to a group of people and what isn’t. Just brilliant writing….

    • Ignoranceisbliss

      So it’s ignorant to post an article about ones opinion regarding a sensitive topic that opposes your opinion, but completely acceptable to use phrases like “I bet your white as a bleached sheet” when stating your rebuttal? It’s because of people like you promoting double standards that makes things like this even a big issue.
      FYI, it’s you’re not your.

      • Orphic Dragon

        No genius, its because people like you are too stupid to understand simple human decency. The ACTUAL “Redskins” have asked folks not to MF’N CALL THEM REDSKINS.

        They have said, many a time, “we find this demeaning and offensive, please stop.” They have said, “we find this a very big deal, please stop”.

        Double standard,really? Really really?

        Hmmmmm. Let’s take a romp through mascots shall we?

        The sp*cks? Nope.
        The wops? Nope.
        The beaners? Nuh uh.
        The ni**ers? Mmmm, no.
        The dagos? Not seeing that one.
        The chinks? Nothin’.
        The sand monkeys? El Zilcho.

        Let’s see what’s what with Indian mascots.

        Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
        Washington Redskins (NFL)
        Atlanta Braves (MLB)
        Cleveland Indians (MLB)
        Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)

      • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

        Agreed. The whole agenda to get rid of the name is based on double negatives and standards, imo.

      • K3goldie

        You’re right, it isn’t ‘your’. That’s the only thing you’re right about. Feel good about that….u earned it champ. Deep thinker you are. The “double standard” is super relevant to comparing anyone to white skin. Btw I’m white and have zero Native American in me. But let me guess you also have some native in you….and this person and this person…’s rediculous. Calling someone out on their B.S opinion isn’t a double standard, it’s the right thing to do.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      While we’re on the subject of ignorance, I would like to point out to you that my photo is at the top of this article, so you can clearly see that I am black. I also said that I am black in the very same paragraph. My great, great, great grandmother was a native Cherokee Princess, actually. However due to racism when she married a black man outside of the tribe it was such a big deal that we do not talk about it much within our family.

      I live in North Idaho, an hour from where Aryan Nations was stationed throughout my high school career. My family was refused service at restaurants when we went on a road for football and basketball games. I think I know a little something about racism.

      And yeah, not sure how you get that I am trying to push what’s offensive and what isn’t. Sounds more like you are doing that very same thing. If you missed the editors note that BEGAN THE ARTICLE: t is not intended in any way to belittle the opinions of anyone with an alternate opinion or the Native American people, so don’t go there.

      The article is clearly a statement to the fact that if we push out the name “Redskins” based on the reasons stated by those that oppose the name, all of native culture in American sports is headed out the window.

      But yeah, I’m very ignorant for writing the article that doesn’t match up with your opinion. I said that you had a right to them.

      • K3goldie

        I don’t see a photo anywhere on my screen. If you are black and Native American truly, then I am shocked to find this article. It is ignorant, guess what, words mean something, and regardless of any circumstance,this article is ignorant. Period. That’s the truth. I get a real kick out of people who state anything they want and when anyone tells them the truth they just spout off about double standards and how they were just stating their opinion. I don’t care what you believe, if it’s based In a history of violence, murder, slavery, and more, good luck sticking up for the name.

        • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          So you say you’re not Native, but you’re attacking me as if you are. Anything of historical significance and Native background could be seen as something “based on a history of violence, murder, slavery, and more”. Does that mean we should never ever again utter their names or talk about Native American artifacts? Hell, we use Tomahawks and Spears to signify the Braves and the Seminoles, those are based on a “history of violence, murder, slavery, and more” towards the American people… scalping, beheading, what have you, we celebrate those things in our American sports. You don’t see me getting all butt-hurt about it.

          I’m not sure why you are “surprised” to find this article when you have no native background whatsoever. I could be just as surprised to find you aren’t on board with keeping the name, but that’s called a difference of opinion.

          I am not “Native” by definition, never claimed to be, but I have a “Native” background and have more fully “Native” friends than you might think. Roomed with five tribal members in college. Again, my daughter is 1/16 native.

          And my photo is in the left hand corner directly below the article’s title, along with on the right side underneath “Editorial Staff”.

      • K3goldie

        I use an iPhone only to look at this app so your photo may not show.

        • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          Yup that is why, LOL. For reference, mom is white (Irish/German) from Olympia, WA, dad is black from Compton, CA. Again, not claiming to be native, just claiming native background. I am proud of my roots, though I do not get to claim them on my tax return or to get scholarships. I appreciate your opinion and am not mad that it is yours. You bring up some valid points, I just do not agree that it is what you are saying. That’s ok.

      • bruce wayne

        Why don’t you claim that your white, if your half? I can clearly see that your German and Irish, but native, no.

        • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          Since when has society looked at Melano men in this country as white? However, to your point I’d like to point out that if my son or daughter decide to marry white, then their kids do the same, you will probably never see a trace of black in them, yet they will be from my bloodline. It could go the other way too, or any way really. You take on the predominant traits/characteristics of your parental line. Just cause you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. You are in some sort of color box and it’s sad.

  • Erockalypse

    They should change the logo to a drunken mumbling, slobbering hitch hiker. That would be a better depiction of a modern day Indian. I’m part Cherokee as well, but EVERY reservation I’ve ever seen is a huge pile of junk. Literally. I’m ashamed for those people. And ashamed that such a proud people could live the way that I’ve personally seen. Stop being so concerned about trivial things like this and actually try and represent yourselves in a respectable way. Also spending your entire check at your local dive mart on malt liquor is not putting back into your community. All those Asians, Black, White, Mexican and all the other races you hate that spend way too much at the casino ARE the sole providers to your communities. Start showing some appreciation and gratitude to those who provide for your worthless existence. I am, an ass, but I feel this is pretty darn true.

    • Erockalypse

      After writing that I decided to not post it. But it posted when I minimized anyhow. I feel the hate on my face already.

    • Orphic Dragon

      Yeah, you’re right to be embarrassed at letting this utterly… Just yeah.

      Maybe you should make at least a minimal attempt to educate yourself. Start with the word genocide, because it is the genesis of their plight.

      Slavery of African people, yeah that is an abomination that will forever stain this country. Bad as that was, we didn’t f***ing EXTERMINATE them did we?

      “U.S. governments have consistently failed to honor it’s treaties with Indian Nations. Indians were not given the money or food set forth to them for signing a treaty to turn over more than a million acres of their land and be forced to live on a reservation. Indian agents keep the treaty money and food that was to go to the Indians, the food was sold to white settlers, food that was given to the Indians was spoiled and not fit to eat.”

      We raped them who they were and damn near destroyed their very souls. We LITERALLY took everything from them. We gave them nothing then set about making sure they could not aquire anything by themselves so they would have no choice but to remain dependant on us to live.

      Won’t let ‘em work, won’t let them build, won’t let them hunt. How the frack does a few casinos and a bunch of s****y land compensate for that? It’s 20 MF’n 14 we still go out of our way to keep NA under our thumb. Poverty, misery and government bull**** are still the hallmarks of the reservation. They can live, rebuild who they are, reclaim their history, reclaim their faith and grow their population on the reservation, or they can get the f**k off the reservation and build an existence that doesn’t involve begging the murderous sh*tbags for the fruits of their own freaking land. Crap or dookie isn’t much of a flipping choice.

      Break a man then berate and belittle him because he’s broken. Classy.

      I wouldn’t want to face hell sober either frankly.

      • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

        You are mostly correct, but you have to understand that our government and people have offered most of these native tribes their support, help and money. MOST TRIBES ABSOLUTELY REFUSE IT! They don’t want equality, they want to make their own rules, their own prices, their own taxes, their own education and they ACTUALLY WANT TO GOVERN THEMSELVES. When you say “won’t let ‘em work, build, hunt… we’ve offered and they don’t want it.

      • Erockalypse

        I wrote that right after I had a run in at the tulalip reservation. A drunken Indian was outside of the mini mart entrance and spit at my daughter who is 2 years old. when we entered. then he smild as if to say what can you do. And I can DO a whole lot, but, I contained myself and voiced my displeasure. Needless to say it was fresh in my mind when I wrote that. I don’t condone what happened to their people in any way, but I can’t change the past and I in no way contributed. It’s time the past was left there and do everything possible to live and act in a respectable way. From what I’ve personally seen they’re completely the opposite. Also I know my ancestry very well thank you. try telling my grandmother and father they’re not Cherokee. Anyways to all the fightin whitey supporters out there. It doesn’t bother me in the least. And neither should the redskins, braves, blackhawks ext. I guess everyone needs something to complain about, but their actual problems lie far deeper than sports teams names and logos.

        • J.J.

          There are all kinds of Native Americans, rich, poor, alcoholic, sober, kind, mean. Just like the rest of humans. I saw a drunk (and probably) homeless Asian person the other day. Should I deduce how Asians are based on that interaction?? If I did, that would be racist. People are individuals.

          Additionally, I would suggest that feelings of hopelessness and extreme poverty would often lead to unfortunate outcomes, like alcoholism and anger.

    • QuitwearingHeaddressesUdick

      google “Cherokee Blood Myth”. don’t claim it again..unless you want to see people roll their eyes….and completely dismiss what you’re saying.

      • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

        So you can just dismiss my heritage like that because you read something on Google that told you there’s a myth out there? Regardless, my ex-wife’s grandmother is a fully accredited member of the Umatilla tribe, making my daughter 1/16 Umatilla. She can’t do anything about her bloodline’s choices to marry outside of the tribe or whatever and neither can I. That doesn’t make me any less credible in what I’m saying. Come at me with a real argument.

      • JonEdHil

        I am a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. You are right, sir, and I thank you for posting. For good or ill, one has to prove they have ancestors enrolled on the Dawes Roll, 1896-1907, to qualify for Cherokee (Western Band) membership. It can be a difficult thing to prove anything prior to this date, because many records were burned or lost on the Trail of Tears. And many were lost in a records fire at a Tennessee courthouse. Furthermore, many white husbands would not allow their wives or children to enroll since they wanted them to be more “white”, so their descendants were screwed out of a LOT of federal aid! Whenever I hear someone claim to have a grandmother who was 1/2 Cherokee–even full-blood–or a “Cherokee princess” when they are so white they’re nearly pink*, I want to cringe! It’s not that I want them to “Show me your papers!” but that IS the only way to prove it. Otherwise, you’re out of luck!

        *Most people do not realize how dark a full-blood Indian can be. My great-grandfather was only about 1/4-1/2, and he was near black! And that dark, reddish skin can extend to several generations. On the other hand, it is not always so. We have friends who are Ottawa. The Grandfather is full-blood (VERY dark), Grandmother is white; Father is half (also very dark, but less so than his father), his wife is white; so their 3 kids are all 1/4 Ottawa. None of them looks the least bit Indian!

    • Antonio

      Wow! I can’t believe people like you exist in 2014. You have to be the most ignorant person on this forum. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

        Why? Because you don’t believe in my family heritage? Look, let’s say I don’t have a drop of native blood in me, does it really matter!? I support the native people you fool. My point isn’t that I’m part of the bloodline, it’s that I respect native culture and everything they stand for. I see no reason why this should or would be offensive to any of them. None.

  • iceman13

    To summarize k3goldies comment. You have a different opinion than mine. You should be ashamed.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      HAHA. Thanks for this.

    • K3goldie

      Opinions that are shameful deserve to be called out. Do you really think that’s a valid argument?? Too many idiots…

  • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

    To those that read the article yesterday, I made a significant addition:

    I’d like to reiterate that point, the intended positive value of what “Redskins” is supposed to stand for is more important than those that don’t recognize it. The NFL is not about “disparaging” the Native American people, you can be sure. They’re all about shedding a positive light on the peoples of old America, those that have always been part of this great nation. The term has always been known as a positive term when discussing the topic of football, which is a good thing. Why would you rather we get rid of one of the most positive and influential ideas surrounding the term in the world?

    There are 52 high schools in 22 states that use the name “Redskins” and most of the kids there wear it as a badge of honor to represent the people, whether they derive from that background or not. To them, they have a chance to be an ambassador for not only their school, but the people the name represents. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. This article by puts it into perspective quite nicely, discussing whether or not Native Americans themselves consider it a slur.

    (From the CBS article):

    There are Native American schools that call their teams Redskins. The term is used affectionately by some natives, similar to the way the N-word is used by some African-Americans. In the only recent poll to ask native people about the subject, 90 percent of respondents did not consider the term offensive, although many question the cultural credentials of the respondents.

  • Sarah LilRedfeather

    Like how the Tea Party is jumping in on this, NOT . . . This isn’t a political issue . . . its a people of a cultural significance issue, and we have for generations come to say stop! Our cultural identity is sacred, and its ours to have not franchise a branding to a team to profit from. Team will always be a Team, but no need to continue to steal our Cultural Identity to have one. This issue is not new! In Who’s Honor? #NotYourMascot

    When you watch the documentary . .. you will understand, and observe how the fans treated our communities as well when she was going to the games trying to educate them. Its a disgusting display showing that we are not humans, nor equal to them for we are owned by them. It will pull heart out is shame.

    What I have repeated over and over . . . we are a people, not a mascot where our cultural identity the very aspect that this country tried to strip from us is sacred where should never be franchised for profit in any team; its ours to have. We did not have a legality for our religious freedom until 1978.

    Indian Civil Rights Act (1968)
    American Indian Religious Freedom Act – Aug. 1978

    1994 Amendments – AIRF
    Due to the criticism of the AIRFA and its inability to enforce the provisions it outlined in 1978, on June 10, 1994 the House of Representatives Committee on Natural resources, and later the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs, met to bring about H.R. 4155[23] in order to provide for the management of federal lands in a way that doesn’t frustrate the traditional religions and religious purposes of Native Americans. The full text is available on the Library of Congress website. However, it never became law.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      Very interesting angle here. One of the things I find intriguing is that you have Redskins garb in your picture (can’t read the font so maybe it’s anti-something?) but are counteracting the point that they should keep the name. Also, this IS new. Nobody has ever heard of this until just recently and recent polls asked to the people that are supposedly upset about it are conflicted and most riddled with high numbers that don’t find it offensive. I guess I also don’t understand why you wouldn’t want your cultural identity to be represented in a positive way?

      The team isn’t going to profit any less by changing the name/logo, so it isn’t as if the NFL is profiting or stealing from you as a Native American, they are profiting because of the significance of the sport in this country is high and they profit from things like Seahawks that don’t exist. But in this way the people of America can celebrate a team that represents and remembers the Native American people. Since the beginning of America the Native American people have been fighting adamantly to ensure that the people that come into this country give them credit and remember their “cultural significance”, then when push comes to shove they get mad that the NFL has branded a team that represents them and says STOP? It doesn’t make sense that way.

      This IS most definitely a political issue because of the argument presented. The only way it makes sense is if it IS political and whenever we’re talking about difference of opinion having to do with one’s cultural background it is indeed a political agenda. The argument is whether or not the term “Redskins” actually dishonors Native Americans as a people by being derogatory. In my opinion, it isn’t any more derogatory than you calling me a “Black” man or an Irish man “White”. In fact it’s not any more derogatory than the NFL using the “Browns”. Should I get offended because my color of skin is used as a branding for an NFL team?

      • Antonio

        You must be very young? New? Hardly. This issue has come up in the past, kiddo.

      • Antonio

        This article is complete baloney, by the way. Your argument about the “Browns” is complete hogwash, too. The Browns are not named after a group of people. They are named after a person!

        • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          You must not have got the sarcasm. It wasn’t an “argument” it was a measure of what the name is to what it would be if I were to be offended by it for the reasons stated. While we’re on the subject of team names, the Redskins actually got their name because the natives on the team PREFERRED IT over the “Braves”. This was back in 1933, when the name was supposedly in its prime “slur” stage.

  • QuitwearingHeaddressesUdick

    Dear Josh…I hate to break this to you. You’re not Indian…you’re not Cherokee. You don’t value the values of your people. Please google “Cherokee Princess myth”. Saying you have Cherokee ancestry…doesn’t make it so and it definitely doesn’t make you enrolled Cherokee. I usually don’t mention this to people when they when in conversation a person tries to relate to my heritage…because I rather have someone try to understand than to make judgements (although they still do…but at least I have somewhere to start from in conversation). I am educated…my entire family is educated (Father, Mother, brother, sister, wife, in-laws). We make up teachers, professors, lawyers, artists, Tribal councilmen, and importantly enrolled Native American (and documented/tracked by the federal government…which is F-d up as well). We don’t randomly say we are something to claim or validate our opinion. You missed one important thing about the term “Redskin”…do a little more research it’s is much more than a reference to skin, it’s a reference to scalps taken from Indians for bounty (during the extermination period of US history…one could argue that the policies are still in place, they just don’t offer bounties on our heads anymore, they just lobby the shit out of D.C. to take exploit our natural resources). Now back on topic. You’re black (not Indian…please don’t claim that again to try to prove your point…unless you want to inherit all the crappy shit that goes along with it (I’m sure you have enough of that shit being black and living in Idaho). It’s much like having to argue with a Black person (who claims to be Indian) that being black is different or much worse than being an Indian). I hate it when other minorities argue “whose oppressed more” to other ethnic people. So as a black man in Idaho…obviously you’ve been called Nigge*…(I’m saying it because it is offensive just so you know). I’ve been called a lot of things disparagingly…”Redski*” and “Nig*er” are just two of them, but they were both used as slurs directed towards me. I’m not black..but their use of the word “Ni*ger” had the same effect as their use of “R3dskin” when both were directed at me. It made me angry and ready to fight…which is exactly what they intended for it to do. It was intended to minimize my education (both traditional and western), my upbringing in my community, my ability to think rationally and was for me to feel or sink to or below their level of ignorance and racial hatred. So just so that you know, your blog is misguided, wrong on many points. I’m older, I’m not a young offended person…I’m a jaded older Indian…that found it offensive in my youth…find it offensive now (just don’t carry that banner anymore). But I’ve got other shit to deal with in my community. Just glad that the younger people have energy to bring this up again and fight for what we know is true. So try to defend your stance on “Redskin”…you should be ashamed of yourself. Call it to our faces in our communities…and see how we respond…then you’ll know whether it’s “still” offensive or not. Oh by the way the NFL is a billion dollar industry yet has Non-Profit status….don’t think that they give a shi% about honoring or enlightening any ethnic race unless it affects or increases their bottom line.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      Dear Udick, you can not tell me that my family does not have Cherokee in their bloodlines just because. Family tree/photos my friend. Please don’t patronize me by telling me I cannot/should not claim Native background unless I want everything that goes with it, it’s disparaging and ignorant on your part, since you do not know me. I AM black and NOT enrolled as Cherokee (directly claimed that in the article) and yes I have been called crappy names in light of that.

      I never argued which race was oppressed more, and I never claimed that one word was “worse than the other”, read the article again. I am sorry that you have had to deal with stupid people that called you those names in hatred. It is not ok that idiots do not understand what they are doing and I am not claiming that it is in any way. It simply isn’t.

      Again I’d like to bring up the point that we celebrate Native culture with the Braves and Seminoles. Spears and tomahawks have a nasty, violent “background” when it comes to historical significance, but we celebrate the teams and the tribes that are represented just the same.

      Oxford Definitions: Redskin is first recorded in the late 17th century and was applied to the Algonquian peoples generally, but specifically to the Delaware (who lived in what is now southern New York State and New York City, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania). Redskin referred not to the natural skin color of the Delaware, but to their use of vermilion face paint and body paint.

      • QuitwearingHeaddressesUdick

        Josh…we (my family) doesn’t celebrate Native culture with Braves and Seminoles…it is a gross characterization that focuses or distracts us from the real problems of my family respective cultures. It’s easy to say “we” celebrate when you’re talking about an oppressive majority that chooses to celebrate it. I should point out…that there are roughly 3+ million Native Americans in the US (however…by the number of people claiming Cherokee ancestry I’ve heard over my lifetime…my estimates say that there are probably well over 3 million that claim to be Cherokee). Native Americans are maybe one percent of the US population. In comparison …so it’s very easy to dismiss what “we” have to say. It’s also easy to find many uneducated Natives that can see your point of view. It’s even a smaller percentage that live on rez or in their tribal communities (i.e. because its not exactly a safe place to be “educated” in. Please for the love of god…go to a rez..and get multiple opinions before you state anything like “we celebrate”.

        “Redskin” first originated as a bounty on Penobscot heads. Yes Red*kin has been used to describe us. Contemporarily it’s a goddamn football team in which it’s membership dresses up in costumes and mocks Native American culture. No it’s still not ok…same way it’s not ok for me to call you Bla&kskin or N3gro, or any dismissive cultural generality or term that dismisses the way we refer to ourselves in our communities. It’s pretty much the same way as oppressive landowners would refer to slaves as ni&gers, or as the Chinese as Ch#nks.

        As for your claim of Cherokee ancestry. I’m saying you’re Black..that has been established. Do not claim your Cherokee ancestry without researching first. Try the National Archives in D.C. or The Church of Latter Day Saints (I.e. I am dismissing any of your claims of Native American ancestry equally as you are dismissing the origins of Red&kin and the feelings of actual Native Americans that come from oppressed communities. Do your research first. But I doubt you will….very few who claim Cherokee do. Never claim ancestry to something to help solidify your argument. You might as well be Elizabeth Warren.

        • QuitwearingHeaddressesUdick

          “I am not “Native” by definition, never claimed to be, but I have a “Native” background and have more fully “Native” friends than you might think. Roomed with five tribal members in college. Again, my daughter is 1/16 native”… WTF. I had black friends on the BBall team in college, played with blacks on the baseball team in college, have Black friends now…doesn’t make me black or be able to speak for what offends them. Your daughter is 1/16 Umatilla….good god. This doesn’t make YOU an Indian….I suggest you try respecting your daughter’s heritage by not dismissing something like this Redskin issue. However..1/16 Umatilla hmm.. not sure what the enrollment qualifications are in Umatilla…but I can guarantee it’s probably a little higher than that. However…because she does have ancestry, please for the love of your daughter..don’t take this issue lightly…(although keeping her safe) is far more important. “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones…but Words… they last forever”. You can heal after sticks and stones….words you carry for ever.

      • Guest

        I would argue that it is not so much about bloodline that makes a Native perspective as it is how you perceive yourself, and how you perceive how society looks at you. If you have Native ancestry and you look at the world through a Native American lens (as well as an African American lens), then you can speak as a Native American person.

        If you don’t feel this way and you would like to, I suggest research your genealogy, the tribe, reach out to Cherokee and other Native people, visit the Cherokee reservation, etc.

        Otherwise, if you don’t live life as a Native person, if society doesn’t judge your for being Native (regardless of your blood quantum), you have a different perspective. It is a valid perspective, but not quite the same.

      • Guest

        I would argue that it is not so much about bloodline that makes a Native
        perspective as it is how you perceive yourself, and how you perceive
        how society looks at you. If you have Native ancestry and you look at
        the world through a Native American lens (as well as an African American
        lens), then you can speak as a Native American person.

        If you
        don’t feel this way and you would like to, I suggest you research your
        genealogy, the tribe, reach out to Cherokee and other Native people,
        visit the Cherokee reservation, etc.

        Otherwise, if you don’t
        live life as a Native person, if society doesn’t judge your for being
        Native (regardless of your blood quantum), you have a different
        perspective. It is a valid perspective, but not quite the same.

        Josh, you were pretty forthcoming about your background and heritage, but I wanted to post this as a response to many of the comments judging your perspective. I believe it is up to you
        (and other Native American people) how much value your Native American ancestry and perspective means in this argument.

      • J.J.

        I would argue that it is not so much about bloodline that makes a Native perspective as it is how you perceive yourself, and how you perceive how society looks at you. If you have Native ancestry and you look at the world through a Native American lens (as well as an African American lens), then you can speak as a Native American person.

        If you don’t feel this way and you would like to, I suggest you research your genealogy, the tribe, reach out to Cherokee and other Native people, visit the Cherokee reservation, etc.

        Otherwise, if you don’t live life as a Native person, if society doesn’t judge your for being
        Native (regardless of your blood quantum), you have a different perspective. It is a valid perspective, but not quite the same.

        Josh, you were pretty forthcoming about your background and heritage, but I wanted to post this as a response to many of the comments judging your perspective. I believe it is up to you
        (and other Native American people) how much value your Native American ancestry and perspective have in this argument.

  • Mo

    The origin of the word is pointless. Its what people think it means now. 30% of Native Americans are offended by the name. Change it already. Snyder is writing his legacy and cementing the belief that he is racist. As this discussion goes on more and more more people are weighing in that the Washington name is racist. Give it up.

    • jemblue

      Actually, only 10% of American Indians (who usually prefer that name to “Native Americans”, BTW) in a nationwide survey considered the term offensive. 90% did not. Moreover, you might be surprised to learn that many predominantly Indian schools have the nickname “Redskins.”

      This is essentially a debate between white people. Few Indians actually are calling for the name to e changed.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      I don’t see him as a racist. He is a dummy for not upgrading his field, but not a racist. And where do you get this 30% number? In the CBS article I quoted above, 90% of Natives DO NOT find it racist or demeaning. And again, fully tribal high schools IN AMERICA ARE NAMED THE REDSKINS! They don’t find it racist. It’s their heritage!

    • InMyTree

      What does Redskins mean today? A NFL football team. Stop making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  • Jeremy Whitish

    I really dont get why this is such a big deal there are so many other issues that need to be addressed before the name of a n.f.l. team and I am a native and a majority of natives don’t think its a big deal either in fact there are a lot of them that wear redskins gear because they like the logo and that is not because they are fans of the team because they are not we are from washington state. And why is this just now becoming a big deal they have had the same name since the 30′s now if the team was using the name in a racist way then thats different but they are not and why is it just the redskins they are going after what about the chiefs or the Blackhawks or Florida state or the countless other pro, collage and highschool teams that have similar names why just the skins. And while they are at it why not change all the teams names that have animals as mascots like the Seahawks or eagles or Broncos because for all we know the animals might be unhappy with the way they are portrayed. This is just stupid they need to focus on the issues that really matter not a football teams name and the N.C.A.I. and the other tribes that are making this a big deal don’t speak for all natives or even a majority of them because most don’t think it’s a big deal

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)


  • 7th Letter

    All I’m saying is, if the Washington Redskins were the Washington Blackskins and they were pretty good, I would not be upset.

    • Jack Holland

      So change the name to that.

    • Tony L. Castleberry

      Even if owned by a white Jewish guy (ala the early Harlem Globetrotters)?

  • Jennifer Robertson

    True words spoken from a sell out. Make that money!

  • Calibandawg

    What an idiot. Because he says he has a teaspoon of Cherokee then he get’s to determine whether an epithet is offensive or not. Maybe he should check in with actual American Indians and see how they feel. Oh yeah, he knows how they feel. Ultimately the groups that are offended get to determine whether they are offended or not genius.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      Well the groups have spoken, and 90% of them say it’s not offensive.

      • abriandgull6

        This stat is so irrelevant. If this stat is such a killet rebuttal, why have all the other stuff. Remove this stat and what have you got? Racism! It is a meaningless number that will change with time, with the wording of the question, who posts, etc.

        • Peggy

          That stat is not irrelevant. Its just being conveniently ignored by the activists and the media because of identity politics which is what this issue is really all about. These stats have also been verified recently by several reporters who have visited Native reservations and found that most Natives could care less about this issue. Among the rest of their people are a good amount of Redskins fans. This whole issue is completely trumped up.

    • Jack Holland

      He ain’t a Cherokee. He’s just another Redneck whose drunk Uncle mentioned “Some Injun Blood” at a family re-union/ cousin dating get together, and everybody was too drunk to dispute the calim.

      • Johnnystop

        I think the “Washington Rednecks” would be a great name.

  • Hawkman

    This is such BS ! I have seen multiple polls that are 13% for name change and 87% for NO NAME CHANGE- By American Indians . I have relatives ( through marrige) That are half Indian and they have no problem with it at all. Just another case ofa small minority dictating to the majority ! BS !!!!!

  • Erik Martin

    The author sounds like a fool claiming his great great great great great great grandmother was a Cherokee princess, they didn’t have kings or queens you fool. I’m full blooded native and I’m ashamed that you claim part native, your most likely have more white in you.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      Only 3 greats, and even if I can’t prove it, who cares? What does your comment have to do with the article?

      • Erik Martin

        Don’t claim what your not. Would it be relevant for you to say, my great great great grandfather was a powerful white man when you write about the patriots? You sound like a damn foo

        • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          I never claimed what you are saying I claimed and you still haven’t answered my question so you sound like more of a fool than I do. I claim to be black and am Melano by definition. My great, great, great grandfather on my mother’s side was Irish, I do not know his name but that doesn’t make him any less Irish or me any less a part of the bloodline. I am also part of the bloodline of Nat Turner on my father’s side, who was born in 1800 and executed by hanging for being an African American who led a slave rebellion.

          What it boils down to is my mom is full white and my dad full black (by today’s standards), but there is Native in my bloodline and you can’t say it’s not relevant just because you are more Native than I. My daughter is 1/16 Native and you can’t take it away just because you are more. It doesn’t work like that. All I was doing by pointing that out in the article was to say that I appreciate the heritage of the Native people because it’s in my history (not to mention my current bloodline now), which is relevant for how I approach the entire topic compared to someone who doesn’t have a stitch of it in theirs.

          Try and discredit all you want, but clearly you didn’t understand the article so your arguments are off base anyway.

          • bruce wayne

            Being a tiny bit native (that you can’t prove), does not give you the perspective of natives. I may have European blood that I can’t prove, doesn’t mean I know what’s offensive to them. And to include that in your article is foolish, unless your native you don’t see it from their perspective. I’m sure you won’t go to Ireland and know what’s offensive just because your irish, foo

          • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

            So how do you explain the fact that most natives DON’T find it offensive and that full tribal communities that maintain the name have gone on record as wearing it proudly and being anything but offended by it? Where are YOUR “proven facts”? You come on the board and talk like the authority and call me a “foo”, but the numbers and facts of the matter support my case.

            I’m not trying to tell YOU specifically what you can and can’t be offended by. If you wanna be offended by a name that is clearly not meant to offend you, that’s your business. The point of the article wasn’t about what to be offended by. The point of the article was to say that if the agenda that was brought to the table passes and the NFL is forced to get rid of the name on that merit, the rest of native american culture and imagery in American sports will eventually cease to exist.

            If that happens (again based on the merits represented in the case against a name), America will eventually not be allowed to showcase anything that would remotely remind anybody of natives or their culture. Ergo if natives want to keep their legacy alive they should hope Washington keeps its’ name.

            That was MY point, but if you do not agree that’s ok. But you are hell-bent on taking personal shots to make me seem less credible than actually bringing a solid argument to the conversation. Unfortunately for you, the numbers are in my favor when it comes to your own people’s opinion, and it’s not even close.

          • Butts Larue

            don’t waste your time arguing with this racist fool, Mr. Davis. Just look at his comment on another site

            “it’s a start honky, and don’t forget to visit your local native casino and bring your grandma! We’ll show her how to spend her soc. sec. that you are paying for too! hahahah”

            He has no arguments so immediately starts attacking people based on their ethnicity, I have seen it a lot from the people that are claiming to be offended.

          • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

            HI QUALITY COMMENT!!! Thanks Mr. Larue!

  • bruce wayne

    Why not call them the washington blackskins, have a guy with a fro on the side of the helmet with a pic in his hair? Isn’t that just as generic? I’m Native and I don’t walk around with feathers in my hair. Or you could name it the sandskins and have a guy with long curley sideburns a fro and a yamaka or those tiny hats? Now it just seems I’m being racist how dare I!

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      I would celebrate a team named Blackskins with a generic black guy on the side of a football helmet with a fro and a pick! That would be awesome! Just as I have celebrated the fact that a black president is in office (though I do not agree with many of his political stances), I honestly believe the black community would LOVE THAT on the whole. The reason why? The vast majority of Black men and women in this country are over what happened half a century ago, much less 100 or 200 years ago.

      There are some idiot minority groups and people out there that still practice racism, but for the most part the majority of this country is over it. In general, the only people keeping racism alive are those that are out looking for anything that would be close enough to make a big fuss over it. If the Native people in this land today would just embrace the name on the jersey for what it is intended to be, instead of being all disparaged over it, nobody in today’s world would know it’s a disparaging term. Since you missed it, OXFORD’S Historical Definition of the term “Redskin”:

      “Redskin is first recorded in the late 17th century and was applied to the Algonquian peoples generally, but specifically to the Delaware (who lived in what is now southern New York State and New York City, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania). Redskin referred not to the natural skin color of the Delaware, but to their use of vermilion face paint and body paint.”

      It goes on to say that it has become a disparaging term, but we are past that point in American history. “GAY” used to be a “disparaging term”, and yet the Gay community embraces it and now it has become a celebrated piece of American culture. “Nigga” is a disparaging term, and yet listen to any rap station these days. The difference is that “Redskin” did not START OUT as a disparaging term and yet a small section of Native Americans still take offense to it.

      Listen, IF the term is used in a way that is INTENDED TO BE disparaging and degrading, then you have every right to get offended and you SHOULD get offended. I’m not saying you can’t be offended when the term is meant to create controversy, hatred and belittlement. But in this case, it’s not. If the logo was created to honor the courage, pageantry and legacy of the Native American people, then how is it that you can say it does not?

      • bruce wayne

        According to OXFORDS Historical Definition I should still be calling you negro, so negro please see below. ( I’m not using the word to be offensive, I’m using it honor your heritage.) Sounds like bullsh@t does it not =)

        A member of a dark-skinned group of peoples originally native to Africa south of the Sahara.The word Negro was adopted from Spanish and Portuguese
        and first recorded from the mid 16th century. It remained the standard
        term throughout the 17th-19th centuries and was used by such prominent
        black American campaigners as W. E. B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington
        in the early 20th century. Since the Black Power movement of the 1960s,
        however, when the term black was favored as the term to express racial pride, Negro
        has dropped out of favor and now seems out of date or even offensive in
        both US and British English. The 2010 US Census questionnaire was
        criticized when it retained the racial designation Negro as an option (along with Black and African Am.).
        The Census Bureau defended its decision, citing the 2000 Census forms,
        on which more than 56,000 individuals handwrote “Negro” (even though it
        was already on the form). Apparenly, Negro continues to be the identity strongly preferred by some Americans. Negro please.

        • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          Hahahhahaha. I love it. I know you weren’t attempting to be offensive and I actually laughed out loud when I read it. Appreciate the comic relief :)

          • bruce wayne

            Since when do natives need a football team named after them to carry our legacy? do you think we will cease to exist if they change the name of that shitty football team? Our culture is much more than the generic feather wearing but you already know that cause your great great great grandma was a Cherokee princess hahaha you are a foo


          • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

            You’re the one on the losing side of the argument when it comes to real world application. What you’re failing to understand is that you would actually be hurting your own people by taking the name away from American sports at the NFL level, because many of ‘your own’ people carry it with pride and it would force them to give it up. So enjoy that tunnel vision homie.

  • J.J.

    Josh: After reading your column several times, I still don’t understand your argument. Are you trying to claim that we should keep the Redskin name because Indian children are prideful of it??? Otherwise, why do you care so much??

    It was tribes that funded and presented the case to the patent office. It was Natives that requested Congress endorse a change. It is an incredibly wealthy white man who owns the team.

    Sports should be fun, not offensive. “Redskins” is offensive to millions of people (the ~13% of Natives from that poll is at least a few hundred thousand, plus the millions of non-Natives who find it offensive). We’ve changed less offensive names before (Bullets to Wizards).

    And non-Native fans wearing headdresses is incredibly offensive (in one of those links you posted). Ask most Natives. I’d guess you’d get a much higher percentage of Natives claiming offense.

    Sure, Native American communities have larger fish to fry (extreme poverty, intergenerational trauma, diabetes, etc), but let’s work on frying them all. This issue is clearly important to a significant group of people.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      J.J. appreciate the comment and a good question. The first thing is that I felt compelled to weigh in on the subject, because, well, I have an opinion on it and it’s a hot topic but also because I don’t get the argument presented on the other side. It honestly doesn’t make sense to be offended by the name (in my opinion).

      It was created to describe Natives that wore red body/face paint (war paint?) and eventually moved on as a generalized and all-encompassing description for many native tribes/people. It very much resembles the natives calling the “white man” white or the “black man” black. In it’s original form, it wasn’t meant to be a slur.

      The small percentile of natives (for every 100 natives that find it offensive there are 900 that do not and for every 100 Americans that find it offensive there are probably 10,000 that do not) that find it offensive very much have a right to their opinion, but I what are they fighting? And why should the NFL have to listen to them? So my ‘argument’ was to say why I feel they should want to keep the name. Also, the argument that the natives presented to get rid of the name would create a firestorm of controversy when considering any name in American sports that has a native background. It would, in fact, make it necessary to remove any and all native-based names in American sports. A lot of American’s only know about natives because of the name on the jersey of some sports team. It actually keeps the legacy alive, so removing it for an agenda that very few are on board with just doesn’t make sense.

      When I brought up the high schools, it wasn’t meant to say that “kids wear the name with pride so you should too”, it was meant to point out that there are those out there (remember entire communities of natives support these high schools) who actually do feel a sense of pride that comes with the name. It is in fact an ICONIC name and the NFL is an iconic-imagery league.

      Think about it. The fact that the NFL wants to showcase the Cowboys vs. the Indians (Redskins) two times per year in a way that is equal and fair to both sides is an amazing short movie for the entire native community. In my opinion they should embrace the fact that America turns around and embraces their race as one of its’ own “favorite” teams for the betterment of native culture. In this way when MOST Americans think of the word “Redskins” they see a positive image of the native community, not a slurring image. That’s my argument.

      This is America dude, everybody has an opinion but majority has always ruled, that’s what our country is based upon and that’s how I imagine the native community would prefer it as well. We’re not just gonna change our president because there is a sizable group that is offended that he’s black and would find a way to kill him just to get a white man back in office. And he’s not just going to step down because of it, you know what I mean?

      This article is an awesome one by ESPN on what changing the name would mean for MOST natives:

      • Tony L. Castleberry

        No Josh, the word “Redskins” was not innocently created just to describe Natives who wore paint. Stop lying here sir. The name was created as a derogatory by fearful whites in the old west and was still used as a derogatory term well after the white man took over the continent.

        I come from a predominantly black family and my brother uses the term “n*gger” (and the slang variations) in a more or less positive way but that would not justify a white man buying an NFL team and naming them the “N*ggers”..

        Want to preserve Native culture and cosmetic presence in the NFL? then change the name to the “Washington Natives” or “Tribals” or something. They can even keep the same logo for crying out loud!

        • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          Based on the argument presented to congress to get the name changed, this wouldn’t work. Not sure where you are getting your information from. There are natives in this conversation backing my claims and even saying that the natives themselves were the first to use the phrase. It was NOT created as a derogatory term or it would not be embraced by full native communities and high schools. You are listening to what media is telling you.

        • grego115

          While I agree with Josh’s argument, you are both wrong on the the name, though Josh is much closer. Ives Goddard did exhaustive research in the origin of the name, and, Tony, it is not at all what you say. You should check it out.

          The bigger point is that this is what this argument has become- most people forming an absolute opinion on this issue are doing so based on false information. Susan Harjo, Amanda Blackhorse and Ray Halbritter are all saying the term came from ‘scalping’. Whether or not thats true doesnt seem to matter to them. But facts should matter to people forming an opinion on this issue, rather than repeating what someone else with no actual knowledge of the situation said.

        • Peggy

          The scalp lie has been so discredited that even the expert witness for the Natives in the PTO case agrees that the word redskin was invented by Natives themselves, The Washington Post, Slate and most importantly the Oxford English dictionary accept that the origin of the word is Native. Once you know the whole story, you would be surprised to find that the words origins weren’t even racial in the way that we think of that word as something negative. To Natives at the time differences in skin color did not carry any stigma. It was just a natural fact of life. Even more important, they had a word for brown that they could have used to describe their skin color but they deliberately chose red. Sure their skin has a coppery kind of tone to it. But more important to them was the significance of the color red in their religion and culture. They believed that the color red was special and powerful and sacred. It had only positive meanings for them.

        • Peggy

          Tony The difference between the N word and the word redskin is that the N word was 1) imposed on African peoples & 2) it was always an ugly word. On the other hand redskin was chosen by Natives themselves and it originally meant something really good to them. Then they mostly kept a vague memory of its original meaning up until the present day until some busy body activists started attracting attention to themselves and causing trouble in Indian Country. I think its real interesting that there seems to be an age divide where the younger Natives hate the word redskin but the older ones accept it as no big deal. That says to me that something fishy has happened. You do not see that with the N word. I have never met a black elder who approved of that term. Its the younger ones that try and excuse it.
          And no the people who want to change the name hate all Native themes for sports teams. Its not just the name that they want to ban. Its all of it. For all Native themed teams including the Indians, Braves, Blackhawks, Chiefs and Seminoles. They already took out Fighting Sioux even though a whole tribe of Sioux people voted to keep it!

    • Peggy

      JJ What I don’t get is why the majority of Natives who don’t care about this issue do not count in your argument. I can’t understand why we should only pay attention to the people who are offended and ignore the ones who aren’t and affect a change that they are not asking for. The majority in this case represent a giant hole in the claims of the changers. If the word redskins is such an awful slur why don’t the majority of Natives feel that way? There is a lot more to the story than simply some people who are offended on the one hand and those who aren’t offended on the other. The picture changes when you factor in the possibility that the ones claiming offense could have an ulterior motive for making that claim. Besides, the idea that any minority gets to decide for everyone else based on their hurt feelings is an extremely faulty one. They have options. No one is forcing them to watch the Redskins. Redskins fans aren’t invading reservations and shoving the mascot in the faces of those who don’t like it. They have the option to either live and let live or to try and dictate to the majority of people who disagree with them. This idea amounts to a tyranny of the offended. I don’t think our society should be so accepting of that concept. That is why this issue is actually more important than you think. Its bigger than just the name of a football team in more ways than one.

  • abriandgull6

    Oh my goodness this is so wrong. Just substitute red for black or yellow and tell me there is a difference, really. Remember, that we judge people on the content of their character etc.! It is soo irrelevant to cite a 90% stat, even if true, which I doubt. The name’s origins are clear, the history is clear. So wrong to invest so much effort into arguments in support. Ewwwww!

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      Is it clear? What’s your finding? Mine are that the origins come from Natives who used red face paint and body paint, and was widened to include many native peoples, only as a descriptive term originally.

      • abriandgull6

        Oh really? Even if this is true, you are being dishonest claiming that this is how the name is, or should be today commonly understood. Not even Snyder claims this “oh, I meant the paint *on* his skin, not his skin”. Any other colours used? Like white? I hope you see how ridiculous this line of arguing becomes.

        • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

          Not sure what I’m supposed to be seeing. I’m not the one refusing to accept the fact that 90% of native America doesn’t find it offensive (because it isn’t) and at least as many as find it offensive actually find it something to be proud of. This whole ‘dishonest’ piece has no merit. Go to the history books. There are a few that have decided that any ‘slang’ description is “derogatory”, but these are personal opinions by people that are simply in a position to make an impression. It was a common term used to describe what we now know as Indians, American Indians and/or Native Americans when there was no other description. I am sure some used the term as derogatory, but that’s not the basis for a derogatory term. Not to mention the name “Braves” was found to be unsatisfactory by the natives on the team in the 60′s, which is why “Redskins” was created in the first place. The natives on the team embraced the name at the time, so how in the wild-flip would you think this is a dishonest argument.

  • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

    One last point I’d like to make here. To those that don’t agree with my thoughts on the subject, we may be running into a major roadblock when trying to decipher what “honor” means to us.

    The thought and very definition of “Honor” to the Natives is FAR different in application than it is to the working class of American people. There is a fundamental difference in approach, and I understand why a Native American would get very, very cautious when hearing the words “We do this to HONOR you”. To a Native American, the word is something very deep, even spiritually so, something worth dying for. In this instance, I can definitely see how using the word “Redskins” doesn’t invoke feelings of this “honor” we are claiming as Americans. When considering “honor” in this way, the word could definitely become a disparaging term.

    What you have to understand is that the defined American sees “honor” as a fundamentally different term. It’s not a slight to say it, but when Americans say “we do this to honor your courage”, it doesn’t mean the same things as it would if you said it as a Native. The more common and perhaps more appropriate application of the word would be to say that ‘we are attempting to keep your memory alive in this way, by keeping your image alive on a nationally highlighted sports team”. The term is much more irrelevant to the entire argument when you view it like this, and you have to.

    • Peggy

      A better alternative to the word honor might be the word salute. In American culture saluting someone for their courage is considered an honor.

  • Floridacoastdude

    This whole argument is completely stupid. The team’s name should be left alone and it is simply a case of loons in Washington that have nothing better to do than sit on their butts and harass someone. They never have probably lifted their feet in their 3 piece suits and set foot on a real reservation. As the article stated, there are over 20 schools, most of them in Oklahoma, Wyoming and Idaho that have the name Redskins as their school name I have lived in all 3 of those states and know of 3 of those schools personally. I have to this day have relatives who are 3/4 Indian and friends in those states who are full blooded Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Blackfoot. Not one of them are upset over the name. Do you think these Washington Beltway morons ever really go out there and talk to the Native Americans? No. Should all schools be forced to change a namesake they have had for over 100 years? Let’s talk other names these schools have besides Redskins. We also have Red Braves, Red Warriors, Fighting Chiefs, Fighting Indians, the list goes on and on in these Western and mid western towns. Look them up. These people need to get a life and do something really constructive besides this total nonsense.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)


  • Jack Holland

    “I have a dream that one day a man will be judged not by the COLOR OF HIS SKIN but by the content of his character”.
    Not yet Dr King. Not in Washington.

    • InMyTree

      Oh get over yourself. When someone calls someone a Redskin today, they are talking about a player or coach (past or present) on the football team. That’s it. Who the hell uses “redskins” for anything else other than to talk about a football team? Please tell me, b/c I’ve never met anyone that uses it as a slur (unless talking crap about the team).

  • Tony L. Castleberry

    Josh, your article is just nonsense. “Redskins” was and is a white-invented derogatory name for Native Americans. This is not a case where someone took an more or less innocent word like “Native” or “Tribal” and tried to make it out to be a racial slur. “Redskins” is not at all like calling white people “white” or black people “black” and you are ignoring the “skins” part of the word. How would you feel about a Super Bowl being played between the “Whiteskins” and the “Coloreds”? Can you imagine how quickly that situation would turn to cultural warfare?
    EVERYONE cites having some (usually 1/8th or 1/16th) Cherokee in them, whether they actually do or not and citing such a thing in justification of your position here is just absurd.

    Bottom line: the name IS offensive and completely unnecessary and unjustified. Hell the NBA’s “Washington Bullets” eventually became the “Wizards” and “Bullets” is nowhere near as problematic as racially charged terms like “Redskins”. They would lose NOTHING at all by changing their name and this controversy would go away.

    • InMyTree

      This is not true at all. Natives gave themselves the name, not the evil white man. Go do some research. Here, I’ll help you:

      • grego115

        research? nonsense! seriously, Tony, youre on a soapbox without a clue what you are talking about. if youre going to insult people and call them liars, youve got to get it together. it takes all of 5 minutes to check some facts.

        • InMyTree

          TTAB’s finding of disparagement is not supported by substantial evidence” and that “the doctrine of laches precludes consideration of the case.”One need not accept Harjo’s unfounded claim that the word redskin “had its origins in the practice of presenting bloody red skins and scalps as proof of Indian kill for bounty payments” to accept that many find the word objectionable in current use. But the actual origin of the word is entirely benign and reflects more positive aspects of relations between Indians and whites. It emerged at a specific time in history among a small group of
          men linked by joint activities that provided the context that brought it forth. Before its documented history can be traced, however, the false history given for it in standard reference books must be expunged.

          • grego115

            InMyTree, in a time when reading 99% of bloggers or ‘journalists’ articles leave me scratching my head, thinking i must be crazy, its nice to read some common sense supported by actual facts.

            kudos to josh as well for a well written, well thought out article that actually acknowledges the opinions of native americans who arent activists with an agenda and false story.

            keyboard commandos who believe that the loudest voice is the ‘right’ one are a large reason why this issue is where it is today. no attempt to get facts straight- the only goal, apparently, is to be the snarkiest, most intelligent sounding poster on the internet.

  • Butts Larue

    Excellent article, Mr. Davis. Just by reading some of the negative comments, I am wondering how many of those commenters even read the article. Especially the one who stated “I bet you are white as a bleached sheet, just like Daniel Snyder.” Funny how the people claiming that Daniel Snyder is a racist are the first to try and put someone down by the color of their skin. Anyway, it was a refreshing read, thank you.

    • Peggy

      Totally agree with you, Butts. The changers in the media are trying really hard to make like the only people who support the Redskins are white Republicans and southern ones at that. But the fact is that the Redskins fan base is one of the most diverse in the NFL. People of all colors, creeds and political beliefs support keeping the name and that includes many Native fans as well.

  • Peggy

    Josh I support you and appreciate your point. However I think I can make an even better case. Here is how I see it. Native Americans are a tiny and often isolated part of the population. But they are well represented in sports ie a big part American popular culture via Native mascots. If all Native mascots are eliminated (the changers have been clear that they want this) then Natives actually lose a huge opportunity. They go back to being isolated and forgotten by Americans and what then? I think if Natives were really smart about this they would exploit the toehold that they have on the American consciousness that is found in sports and in Native mascots. They should leverage that presence and that platform to engage and teach people about their real lives and their real issues. The Redskins being the biggest and most prominent of the Native themed teams would then represent the BEST opportunity to reach the American people with their message. But if it is banned, that will be one victory for the changers but it will also be a loss of a future and ongoing opportunity.