Natives Speaking for Themselves About the Redskins Controversy


It's a simple idea whose time has come: American Indians speaking up about the Washington Redskins team name and mascot. Artist Gregg Deal has watched the debate occur in the public square and, like many Natives (including Gyasi Ross -- great minds do think alike) has been frustrated that the discussions in the mainstream media are happening with little to no Indigenous input. Getting rid of the Redskin logo is easily written off as a "white liberal cause." In the bigger picture, non-Native talking heads presume to speak for Indians: The Redskins issue is framed as something "they" (Indians) care about or "they" don't. Shouldn't we let "them" say it for themselves? "It ultimately looks like a 'shut up Indian, the adults are talking' attitude," Deal says.

Here's Deal's response: A big shotgun-blast of real Natives saying how they really feel. No Bob Costas, no Rick Reilly, no Dan Snyder, no Barack Obama. This video is 100% Native:

"My video will show that not only are Indigenous peoples still here but also that we are united on the 'Indian' mascot issue," Deal tells ICTMN. "The issue that comes into play is how to get some of these Native people the chance to speak when they are spread out all across the country. That’s where this video will make the most impact." Here's Deal talking about his project:

Deal has launched a Tumblr site for the campaign -- -- and he's also putting updates on twitter @the_lame_sauce. Deal was last seen on this site tackling issues of Native visibility with his "Last American Indian on Earth" performance art.

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Renie Oliver's picture
Renie Oliver
Submitted by Renie Oliver on
BRAVO!! well done, Gregg!! the momentum is growing, the voices are coming together, this is exciting to witness. So glad you are doing these things...thank you for bringing all of this to the forefront.

Scott's picture
Submitted by Scott on
My Question is why is this just consuntrated on just the Washington Redskins? There are A LOT of other references including Native Americans using the term with each other? & have teams on Reservations called "Redskins" This can't be a double standard, you poll people that are against the name but what about the Native Americans that have no problem with it?

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
It would have been more of a powerful statement had one of the people in the video said "I am a taxpayer" in addition to introducing themselves

john's picture
Submitted by john on
while im sure our ancestors would be against us being used as a mascot for football. im also sure there are more important struggles to be overcome in our country

Mike 's picture
Submitted by Mike on
This is the kind of video that makes people who really don't have any connection to either side take notice and go, "Hey, wait, maybe there is something to this." I'm not saying it's what the Will I. Am video was for Obama in the Democratic primary. But it's got a lot of the same persuasive qualities that make you connect with the faces and the voices. Good luck with your efforts, Gregg.