Carol Berry
AIM and Idle No More members hold up signs and march in a protest against the use of the slur "redskin" at the Washington Denver NFL game this weekend.

'Redskins' Are Set to Lose as Public Awareness Grows

Carol Berry

Colorado activists confronted Washington fans and players with signs, handouts and slogans as they protested the name “Redskin” at the Denver Washington NFL football game yesterday. The activists blasted the Washington team’s name as racist and outdated as they marched outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

“We are here today to tell Washington owner Dan Snyder that his brand of racism might fly in D.C., but when the team comes to Denver, it is going to get push-back from Native people and our allies,” said Glenn Morris, leader of the American Indian Movement.'

Glenn Morris, AIM leader, rallies marchers during yesterday's protest at the Bronco Redskin NFL game (Carol Berry)

The AIM, Idle No More and Denver activists protested against the team’s mascot with loud chants, “Hey, Dan Snyder, you can’t hide, you are on the racist side.”  

Dozens of red signs calling on the Washington team to “Change the Mascot” were held aloft for the players to see as they walked by an area outside the stadium that was packed with police.

Although the Denver activists shouted at the teams’ buses as they sped through the entrance to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, they were not acknowledged. Denver Broncos officials made no comment despite requests about the name controversy. And the name “Redskin” remained in the Sunday sports pages of The Denver Post, despite the activists’ efforts to discourage the media’s use of the name.

A radio announcement by the Oneida Indian Nation began running on 102.3 ESPN the day before the game. It noted that the Washington team was the last team to permit racial integration and that it kept to its underlying philosophy when it chose a “racial slur as the team’s name.”

In the ad, called “Legacy,” Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation representative and CEO, said the Nation is a proud sponsor of the NFL and that they understand Washington fans don’t intend to offend Native Americans. “We just want to be treated as what we all are—Americans,” he said in the ad.

Interested bystanders at the game were told that “Redskin” (as described by the National Congress of American Indians and other major groups) originated at a time when Natives were hunted and killed for bounty and when their “red” skins were used as proof of a kill.  

AIM and others disagree with Native and non-Native people who suggest that this is a trivial issue, or that there are more important issues for Native people to address. “The fact that those in the dominating culture try to dismiss this as trivial quibbling exposes the power behind the national privilege to treat indigenous peoples as pets, mascots, or ‘conquered peoples,’” Morris said.

Jolynne Woodcock, Oglala Lakota, and an INM leader echoed that sentiment during a rally after the game. “Why don’t you focus on one thing—focus on something that’s really important. We’re going to focus on the racism our children have to fight every day.” 

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Bill W.'s picture
Bill W.
Submitted by Bill W. on
Those who say this is just an attempt to impose political correctness on others are just ignorant of history. Some have said the name "Redskin" stands for strength or pride. This is total bull. The term is racist and anyone with a brain knows it. I doubt Snyder will change his mind- too much money involved- but maybe he can at least be shown to be the racist he is.

John Derby's picture
John Derby
Submitted by John Derby on
Just as I thought, you were afraid to publish my opinion. You only publish those opinions that agree with your newspaper that oppose keeping the Redskin name from being published. Breaking news...the Washington Redskins have changed their name and are dropping the name Washington as it is offensive to most Americans.

yaddayadda's picture
Submitted by yaddayadda on
If I were Snyder I would change the name to: "Blood Thirsty Savages."

yaddayadda's picture
Submitted by yaddayadda on
How about: Changing the name from RedSkins to: "A once brave and noble people reduced to government dependancy and alcoholism." Its kind of long for a helmet but its more updated and to the point.

Terry Day's picture
Terry Day
Submitted by Terry Day on
Never ceases to amaze me what a violent racist systemic country we are! My son,invited me to a protest at the Hubert Humphry dome ( It is now called the Mall of America dome which is in Bloomington MN, not downtown where the football dome is located.) He was invited by a classmate who was a grass dancer. That was over 20 years ago and I was given a sign that said RESPECT PEOPLE. The redskins were overrepresented by middleaged overweight men who were naked from waist up and painted red and waving plastic tomahawks. They were drunk and yelling with profanity at us. Some teenagers in native dance outfits started answering back and the Mpls Police came and arrested, you guessed it, not the profane naked drunk racists, but the native dancers. America, one nation under gold.There national football the Redskins, or red pelts. Pretty sad wouldn;t you say, all in the name of tradition.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
How about truth in advertising? Change the Redskins name to: Ethnocentric Assholes? Or better yet: The yadayadayadas?