Whitewashing Redskins Tour Gets Navajo Code Talkers Assoc. Endorsement
Suzan Harjo wrote of the event: “The Redskins’ ‘honoring’ of Navajo code talkers consisted of four frail veterans standing in the end zone and receiving a round of applause. Three of the four Navajo elders wore Redskins jackets, with the new-clothes price tags still hanging at their wrists. These seniors probably thought this was another in a long line of recent recognitions of their WWII achievements some 70 years ago, rather than any implied endorsement of the team’s name.”
On hearing about the Code Talkers endorsement of the Redskins, Harjo honed in on MacDonald’s involvement. “He has a long history of exploiting his people,” she said, “and I think this is an example of that.”
MacDonald has a simple explanation for the endorsement: he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the name, and he claims other Navajo feel the same way. “So far as we’re concerned, so far as people are concerned here at Navajo, redskins have always meant Native Americans or Indians to us – nothing more. So I don’t know who decided to make that a slur word or offensive. To us, redskins, whiteskins, blackskins, yellowskins, brownskins – we here on earth did not create the color of human skins; it was the Great Spirit that created us with different colors and we honor His creation and have no problem with anyone using those colors to identify the Lord’s creation.”
Asked if he’d mind if his grandchildren were called redskins, he said, “No! As a matter of fact we have schools right here on Navajo Nation – Red Mesa school – it’s a Navajo high school. The school [nickname] name is Redskins.”
He said he was not familiar with the origins of the name, or the 1755 Phips Proclamation in Maine that detailed the bounty prices the colonial government paid for Indian scalps, “but humans around the world have different colored skin – what’s wrong with calling them by the color of their skin?” he said.
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