ICTMN Exclusive: NCAI Releases R-word Video Ahead of Super Bowl


The National Congress of American Indians has release a video extending their efforts to eradicate the offensive R-word.

Just days before Super Bowl XXLVII, the NCAI is reminding Americans that Native people are not mascots.

“This week’s celebration of football is exactly why we need to keep talking about the D.C. mascot,” the organization said in an email to ICTMN. “Cheering for a football team should never include the casual use of a racial slur. It is important for all teams and all of their fans that the name of the D.C. team is changed.”

In October 2013, the organization released a 29-page report called Ending the Legacy of Racism in Sports & the Era of Harmful ‘Indian’ Sports Mascots, which ICTMN covered here

The video called “Proud to Be” illustrates the strength and beauty of tribal nations and highlights prominent and influential Native people throughout history. The roughly two-minute video ends by saying that Native Americans call themselves many things, but not the R-word; and the last shot of the video is a picture of the ‘Redskins’ helmet.



Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on

Great video, too bad the average football fan doesn't care what we think.

Hopefully it will create the spark in those few individuals who will make a difference. Why is it so wrong to want to be seen as simply human beings?

mainue's picture
Submitted by mainue on

Great film. Just needs to be cut down to one minute. Also change the name "Mills" to "Olympian." I believe that is more significant.

JAZ's picture
Submitted by JAZ on

These words were sent to that football team's Facebook page. I do not feel that I own these words. They are now anyone's to use re-edit and send or refer to because nothing seems to get through to them. Probably the best thing I ever wrote and proud of it, Maybe somebody up there in the office or bleachers will read it and understand:

Dear Sports Team and Sports Fans:

LETS GET EDUCATED. This message in the link is important. Here's my reflection.: I recall when I was a young boy being cast into the school basement - "The Retard Class" - How it felt being called that. To this day I don't like that word "Retard". In those days they used the word "Negro" not Black or African American, and they were often called the "N"-word" (Ni**er) even to their face. And "Bucky" our Taxi cab driver a surviving Eastern Lenape Indian (even spoke Munsee) didn't like being called an "Injun" (not a good word but no way as bad as the "R-Word" meaning "R**skin" - just as bad as the word Ni**er). They used to laugh at his long grey hair and the beadwork on his jacket, his moccasins, or fancy painted bowling shoes calling him "Injun". That was 1962. Here it is 2014 and non-Indian Americans think it's OK to use an Insult and Racial Slur that refers to Scalps taken from American Indian people that were collected for bounty. Yes. At one point when the heads of decapitated American Natives, became too cumbersome and heavy; and, too numerous to carry to collect the reward for killing an Indian man, women or child, they came up with the idea to use "Redskins" called that for the color of the underside of the scalp. It does not refer to the pigment of an Indian American. It refers to a Native American's scalp removed for purposes of genocidal eradication, for profit. And so that is what the word "Redskin" refers to. Even animal pelts were treated with more respect. This bounty was paid by governing bodies and private companies to drive out and steal Indian Land; and for the Indian Hunter or trapper and fur trader, it was murder for profit. Understand that "R**skins" will always refer to this true definition: "The scalp of a dead Native American killed for profit, and it does not stop there: The noun "Re**skin" evolved to be used with many adjectives. Even after the massacres, they started calling living Indians "Redskins" as if no more than a bounty, or less than an animal to be scalped. The word was and STILL IS used in conjunction with: filthy, dirty, rotten, no good, and even worse. i KNOW i heard those words uttered by racist white Americans. So, REDSKINS refers to murdered American Indian men women and children's scalps that were collected for bounty as part of a systematic process to eradicate Native Americans. Do you football fans understand that or am I still a "retard" too? Go ahead and call me a "Retard" but do not call my friends and family any of us Indians "Redskins." And let's STOP using that word for a football team and let's stop the use of mascots and fans dressing up as Indians. It's wrong, it's offensive, and it is a sign of ignorance. The "R-Word" Is a foul derogatory to Americans Indians (not Injuns). It is still derogatory and offensive no matter how it is used.
Now to the dressing up as American Indians and Mascots for sports events: How do you think it would feel if a bunch of people who did not understand your culture, traditions, and history, started dressing up in cheap, stupid looking facsimiles of your important religious, cultural, and historic clothing? And that these costumes were used in what would appear to you as a sickening display for view by millions of people all over the world, for profit, belittling what your people have hung onto over 500 years? And that those Mascots and Sports displays represented what your grandparents were no longer allowed to wear, after foreigners came into your country, they stole your ancestral land, starved you, put you on reservation concentration camps, killed your game; THEN, by force took away your grandparents from their parents and sent them to state run boarding schools, where many of your relatives who were abused this way, died there? That in those boarding schools they were not allowed to speak their language or wear clothing associated with your culture or nationality, or religion. Taught that you aren't good as an Indian, you need to be white. How do you think it feels to take these things away, then make fun of them for entertainment and profit by turning them and your hardships into a joke?
Add these displays of mockery of you and your roots to the name "R**skins" then put a logo on it and call it an "Honor" to you and your history, and you are saying all that was done is OK and there is money to be made and fun to be had doing these things.
That is saying "it is O.K. that we massacred your people, stole your land, imprisoned you, impoverished you, and took away your languages and cultures. it was all in good fun and it is profitable." That is not even human - and it should not be permitted under the law.