Avid Sports Fan Louise Erdrich Says, ‘This Is Over,’ Urges Redskins Name Change


Award-winning Ojibwe author and avid Vikings fan Louise Erdrich has weighed in resoundingly on the Redskins name.

“This controversy is not a controversy,” said Erdrich to New York Magazine at the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on September 29, where she received a lifetime achievement award. “It’s a done deal. This is over.”

Washington team owner Dan Snyder, she pointed out, has a choice whether to perpetuate an insult, or step up and lead in the other direction.

“It’s heartbreaking and sickening to everyone,” she said of the name, adding that it goes beyond stereotyping, especially in tandem with recent revelations on how much the NFL knew, and when, about players’ traumatic brain injury. “So the Redskins is just more of the same. It’s more of the same disregard for basic human dignity.”

Erdrich was in town to receive the Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction from PEN America, the country’s premier literary organization. This lifetime achievement award is bestowed annually “to a living American author whose scale of achievement in fiction, over a sustained career, places him or her in the highest rank of American literature,” according to PEN America’s website.

“Read in full she dazzles as a writer of all times and all places, following those branching shoots of story wherever they sprout,” said judges Edwidge Danticat, E.L. Doctorow and Zadie Smith in their citation. “She is a writer only America could have produced, committed to the extraordinary project of capturing a complex land and a various people in their own voices, and in hers.”

Erdrich’s novel The Round House (HarperCollinsPublishers, 2012) won the National Book Award last year.

RELATED: National Book Award Goes to Louise Erdrich for The Round House

Native Writers Win Big at American Book Awards

Erdrich, of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, makes her home in Minnesota, where she—along with her sister and fellow writer Heid Erdrich—owns Birchbark Books.

RELATED: Shelf-Promotion: Famed Novelist Louise Erdrich's Bookstore Stocks Great Native Books

The literary light had much more to say to New York magazine about Snyder that is worth reading in Washington Football Team Has a ‘Disregard for Basic Human Dignity,’ Says Native American Author.

Learn more about PEN America and Erdrich’s achievement at 2014 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page