Navajo Council Member Introduces Anti-Redskins Bill
Butler has been a vocal opponent of the Redskins name and spoke out against it last fall soon after the Oneida Indian Nation, owners of Oneida Nation Enterprises, parent company of ICTMN, launched a public relations campaign called “Change the Mascot.”
His proposed bill comes on the heels of a vote February 28 by seven members of the Navajo Code Talker Association (NCTA) to endorse the use of the hateful Redskins name, an action that harms the Nation, Butler said. The 7-0 vote did not include the consent of all 40 voting members. “The NCTA is putting us in an awkward position because some tribes, especially on the east coast, are fighting this aggressively. At the end of the day, we have to work with those tribes as well and the NCTA is sending the wrong message by endorsing the utilization of that term,” Butler said.
The bill was written in part to counter the effect of the NCTA endorsement. The bill notes that the NCTA has met with executives of the Washington Redskins team on several occasions. “This interaction has led people to believe the Navajo Nation supports the use of the name, both undermining the Navajo Nation’s advocacy efforts at all levels of government and damaging its relationships with other Native nations,” the bill says.
The draft legislation supports the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission’s advocacy on implementing the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and it authorizes the Navajo Nation president, the speaker of the council, their designees and the Navajo Nation’s Washington, D.C. office “to oppose the use of the term ‘redskin’ and ‘redskins’ and other offensive names used in reference to Native Americans and to support Faleomavaega’s bill in the U.S. Congress.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly could not be reached for comment.
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