Associated Press
Hundreds of protestors outside the Mall of America Field ahead of the "Redskins" Vikings game on November 7th.

Hundreds Rally Against the Racist R-Word at Mall of America Field


Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Mall of America Field last night ahead of the "Redskins" Vikings NFL game.

“We call this a walk, not a march, and this is a walk to raise the consciousness of people with regard to racism in sports,” said Alan Yelsey, who identified himself as an organizer for the American Indian Movement. “We’re certainly trying to change the name of the Washington team. That’s the focus,” he told The Washington Post

The protesters held signs like “racism honors no one” and “human beings are not mascots” and chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, little red Sambo has got to go” and demanded that the Washington NFL team change its name. The Star Tribune reported that 700 demonstrators were part of last night’s movement to change the racial slur which was led by American Indian Movement founder Clyde Bellecourt.

Protestors chant against the racist R-Word. The rally started at the American Indian Movement Interpretive Center, then continued to the Mall of America Field in Minneapolis. (

The crowd marched to the stadium to hear several speakers including, U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), and the Former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura.

“This name is wrong. It’s just plain wrong,” Ventura said according to USA Today. Ventura also told the marchers that he tried to avoid saying “Redskins” when he covered the team as a sports broadcaster.

Holding a bullhorn as he marched, Bellecourt said that the R-Word was just like the N-word. “We want the R-word completely erased from the memory of the NFL,” Bellecourt said according to the Star Tribune.

Also present were: Billy Mills, who won the 10,000-meter gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics; Joey Browner, a former Minnesota Viking and Pro Bowl player; Minneapolis folk singer Larry Long, who sang a new song he wrote, “Redskins! I don’t see no Native people on your team.”

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton was asked about the name Thursday morning during a press conference and he said, “I believe the name should be changed,” calling the team’s name “racist” and “offensive.”

Ryan Schneider, an Ojibwe from Shakopee who participated in the march, told the Star Tribune, “The name is indefensible. It makes Native American kids ashamed of who they are.”

Several Takoda Prep high schoolers in Minneapolis also spoke out about the R-word hours before the protests. You can watch the video here.

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
"Ryan Schneider, an Ojibwe from Shakopee who participated in the march, told the Star Tribune, “The name is indefensible. It makes Native American kids ashamed of who they are.” This has been true since the Redskins got their name. We've never felt honored by the name, we've never felt special because of the name. We HAVE wondered why our very own racial epithet has lasted so long while Little Black Sambo and the Frito Bandito died so young.

Lorraine's picture
Submitted by Lorraine on
People get a life. It's just a word. Haven't you heard of stick and stones. Lived with it all my life, it just rolls of my back now.

Cynthia Thompson's picture
Cynthia Thompson
Submitted by Cynthia Thompson on
It is offensive....It should have never been named. That in the first place. There are not any native people on the team.

Cynthia Phipps's picture
Cynthia Phipps
Submitted by Cynthia Phipps on
I attended the univ. of Mass (Amherst )back in early 1970's.The football team back then was the REDMEN which was changed to the MINUTEMEN. Same reason...