House Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Ban Redskins Trademark

March 21, 2013

Just nine days after the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board heard a case brought by Amanda Blackhorse, Navajo, and five other young Natives seeking to eliminate the Washington, D.C.'s NFL team's tradmark of the term redskins, House legislators have introduced a bill that would prohibit the use. This indicates a signifcant movement, as the debate over the NFL team's name expands from the court of public opinion and the U.S. legal system to Capitol Hill.

Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) has authored the Non-Disparagement of American Indians in Trademark Registrations Act of 2013, which would cancel all existing federal trademarks using “Redskins” to refer to Native Americans and prohibit future trademarks as well. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) — a critic of the team’s name — is an original co-sponsor, along with Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona) and Karen Bass (D-California).

As the notes, the team has not publicly commented on challenges to the Redskins trademark, but last month began posting articles to the team website that highlighting high schools that also use the moniker. This bizarre move seems to be backfiring, though, as students are leading the move away from using the racist nickname, including at Cooperstown High School in New York.

Click here to read the full text of the bill and to track its progress in Congress.