The Arizona Republic
Amanda Blackhorse

Blackhorse Says That Code Talkers Honor 'Sugarcoats' Racism


The lead petitioner in a federal trademark case against the Washington Redskins says that the NFL team was disingenuous when they honored the Navajo Code Talkers during Monday Night Football.

"As a Navajo person, I understand the symbolic meaning of our Navajo Code Talkers, and we will continue to honor them for their service," Amanda Blackhorse wrote in an email to USA Today Sports. "The Code Talkers deserved a more genuine honor, not just 30 seconds of media time so the Washington team can sugarcoat their racism."

Blackhorse also had a message for Dan Snyder. "Using four Navajo elders does not justify what they are doing and does not change anything. At the end of the day, the name is still inappropriate and disparaging toward Native American people.” She also said, “Our views have not changed. Nothing has changed. We are still offended and outraged that he would parade around our elders and use them as a shield against the growing number of people who want him to do the right thing."

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The Code Talkers are a select group of Marines who created an unbreakable code based on the Navajo language during World War II. Four members of the American Code Talkers Association were honored during Monday night’s Washington San Francisco NFL game.

"We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps,” Dan Snyder told USA Today Sports in May. Snyder wrote a letter to fans saying, “We are proud of our team and the passion of our loyal fans. Our fans sing 'Hail to the Redskins' in celebration at every Redskins game. They speak proudly of 'Redskins Nation' in honor of a sports team they love. “ He signed off saying that the team name will remain in place “for years to come.”

Blackhorse said by phone Wednesday to USA Today that she suspects Snyder would not have called the Code Talkers "Redskins" if he met them on Monday. Blackhorse is also mentioned in a story by the paper saying that she would ask Snyder to his face if he would call her a “Redskin." "I think the best way is to just not comment on that type of stuff," Snyder said. "I don't know her."

Blackhorse’s case was heard in March before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, part of the U.S. Patent Office, and a ruling is expected in coming weeks.

"Those are our elders," she said. "We honor our elders. I hope he did not use such a word to them, and I don't think he would."


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skyler black horse's picture
skyler black horse
Submitted by skyler black horse on

First of all those elders should know what all first nations should know. We had our wars with the white man and it is out right stupid and sick to be a proud American of which we are not. They are still at war with us. It moved off the fields and now in the courts. We cannot change the pathological mentality of the great satan we can only move forward and hope for the best.

Butts Larue
Butts Larue
Submitted by Butts Larue on

"My opinion is that's a name that not only the team should keep, but that's a name that's American."-Roy Hawthorne, vice president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association
Doesn't sound like they were "used" to me. Some people claim that teams like the Redskins don't honor Natives yet when they do, those same people call it a PR stunt.

David Velarde Jr.'s picture
David Velarde Jr.
Submitted by David Velarde Jr. on

Pretty sad, I wonder if he would mind if we called him a Hiemie?

Mr.Big stuff's picture
Mr.Big stuff
Submitted by Mr.Big stuff on

The name pays homage to your warrior ancestors.Personally i rather it be scalpers or something more warrior like.However,You natives are national treasures as proved by the Alamo scouts.Hopefully you will teach your children in the old ways and have them live off the land for a few years upon their 18th birthday to keep those skills alive if they are not already lost.There will always be another great war and Native Americans are the reason we win wars.

Mr.Big Stuff's picture
Mr.Big Stuff
Submitted by Mr.Big Stuff on

Alamo scouts were the first navy seals and since that time have never been replicated.