Gary Edwards: Wrong on Redskins

Ted Quasula

My friend Gary Edwards is wrong on this one. I saw his video on the Washington pro football team website. There is no way to justify using the term redskins, no matter how many coats and backhoes the team owner wants to give away.

Gary, Dan and Commissioner Goodell (as Gary calls them in the video), ignore the consequences of further degrading a proud people slaughtered, deceived, and demoralized. Capitalizing on a slur, no matter how you justify it, sadly perpetuates an ugly story. The foundation is a sleazy effort to win over a racial group. If you really want to “help” Native Americans as you say—do the right (and very easy) thing—start with changing the team’s name. Then if you really want to “help” us some more, create an education scholarship where all Native Americans may benefit if they so desire.

I have studied Native American history, particularly that of my tribe, Hualapai. I cannot find one instance where our people called themselves redskins. You claim some past tribal people called themselves redskins in negotiating with the federal government. Really? If that’s the case it was long ago. The times have changed. We have a black president, slavery is gone, Native Americans are considered citizens of the United States, anti-discrimination laws have been passed, the N word and other ugly racist names to identify a racial group are no longer acceptable and on-and-on. Why do you think redskins should be an exception?

I can’t speak for all Native Americans, other tribes or even all Hualapais, but I can speak for my family in saying we would never want to be referred to as redskins or would we ever call other Native Americans redskins. We are Hualapai people, period.

President Obama and numerous other politicians have spoken out against it. Tribal leaders and tribal people as a whole have said no to the use of an offensive name like redskins. Gary, Dan and Commissioner, get with the times! Go down in history as the guys that made change for the betterment of humanity, not as the guys who cherished the racist redskins name in the interest of money.

In the early1990s, John Hensley, Gary Edwards, Gerry Cavis, Woody Lewis, Dorothy Summerfield, Sherry Doyle, Chuck Choney, Walter Lamar and I (all Native American law enforcement officers) originated the idea for establishing a Native American professional law enforcement organization that resulted in the National Native American Law Enforcement Association. Believe me, none of us ever came close to thinking our group or any of its members would be supporting this racist term!

Ted Quasula served for 26 years in the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Law Enforcement Services, rising through the ranks from field criminal investigator to director of the national program. He was the chief of police for the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe from 2003 to 2007 and was appointed to the Indian Law and Order Commission in 2011 by President Obama. A graduate of the National Academy of the FBI and the John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives at Harvard University, Quasula holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in police science and administration from Northern Arizona University. He is currently general manager of the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

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Michael Madrid's picture
You tell them, Ted! I've NEVER heard any of my Apache or Navajo friends refer to themselves as skins.
Michael Madrid