Jefferson Keel, President of the NCAI

NCAI Salutes Obama & Says ‘Drop the ‘R’ Word!’


The growing support for the Washington football team to change its name took a political turn this weekend as President Obama publicly stated for the first time that if he were the Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, he would “think seriously” about changing the team’s name.

And today, in Washington, D.C., the National Congress of American Indians, the largest and most representative national organization that serves the broad interests of tribal governments and communities saluted the president, adding that the 80-year history of the team’s name is not a good enough reason to not change it.

“President Obama’s remarks underscore the fact that has become increasingly obvious – the Washington franchise is on the wrong side of history,” said Jefferson Keel, President of the NCAI, in a statement responding to the President’s remarks.

“[That name] originated in the bounty paid for Native body parts and human flesh. It does not honor Native people in any way, and has no place in modern American society,” he said.

The NCAI’s 45-year effort to remove the name and caricatures associated with the Washington football team and other denigrating sports mascots is one of the organization’s clear goals.

“The ‘R’ word is a racial slur,” continued Keel, referring to the word Redskins. “[It’s] deeply offensive to Native Americans.”

“It’s 2013,” said Jacqueline Pata, NCAI Executive Director, in a statement to the press. “It’s time for leadership at the Washington team to heed the growing chorus – from high school students to Commissioner Goodell, and now the President of the United States – and close the chapter on this offensive name."


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Comments's picture
Submitted by on
I can respect any inference to derogative comments about Indian sensitivity to the Red Skins name, but it was never meant to put down Indians. The state of Oklahoma is an Indian name that translated means "Red People" also not a derogative name. In the future do you intend to challenge the changing the name of Oklahoma?

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
As an indian myself, you guys need to get a thicker skin. This is ridiculous. You have more important issues to be concerned with than this. Stop trying to be an enforcer of the ever hated PC movement.

Martha's picture
Submitted by Martha on
Man lets just change all that history is about. I am a Native American and I see nothing wrong with the name that has been a part of history for many years. I think that this nation needs to stop being so petty and look at the real history of the nation and stop looking to change things that have stood for over 60 years. If it was good enough for our ancestors why change it now? This is something I will never understand, this nation is taking all that was once sacred and throwing it out the window all because some of the newer generation wants to change what was and not face it and respect it for what it is.