Navajo Medicine Men Pass Anti-Redskins Resolution

Gale Courey Toensing

“Diné traditional medicine-people always have the commitment to teach, preserve and protect the welfare of the Diné people as well as the welfare of the Diné Nation through providing exceptional protocol of the traditional knowledge of the distinctive oral philosophy of [the] indigenous way of life on the basis of the Diné Ancient Oral Sacred Philosophy of the Spiritual Belief Foundation. Hence, it has always been the moral principle that guided the ceremonial sacred songs and prayers interwoven with intellectual and oral proceeding of planning and teaching with dignity and integrity which is still the effectual foundation of [the] Diné way since time immemorial,” the document says.

The resolution notes that the opposition to the racist name “in efforts to eliminate racist stereotypes and cultural appropriation from American sports” was brought to the association’s attention years ago. It cites various litigation that has been launched to ban the name, including the famous Harjo v. Pro Football case that went on for years. The case ended when the U.S. Supreme denied petition to review a lower court ruling that allowed the team to continue using the name based on legal procedures rather than whether the name disparaged Native Americans. The DMMA resolution also mentions Blackhorse et al v Pro Football, which is ongoing, and H.R. 1278, the Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013 which in pending in Congress.

The resolution references the “highly respectable documents of the United Nations Indigenous Rights – the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – and Obama’s statement that the U.S. government recognizes “its history with the Indigenous Nations is long and troubled living a legacy of injustice that has yet to set forth meaningful and faithful strategies that would help Indigenous Nations build enjoyable future[s] choosing through treaties, court decisions, federal and state legislations and the [C]onstitution [which have] sacred pacts with us that all must honor toward [an] enjoyable foundation for security, prosperity and fulfillment of life way[s].”

Finally, the resolution urges the U.S. President, Congress and the Senate to do whatever is necessary “to acknowledge this here psychological and physical disrupting issue with effectual deliberation to forever eliminate the racist stereotypes and cultural appropriation intertwined in relative Mascots in the National Professional Sports.” And it urges Shelly to do whatever is necessary to present the issue to the legislature and the Navajo offices “to be effectively supported and processed through every avenue.”


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