Via Fox News
Redskins owner Dan Snyder sits in his box seats with Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly

Protesters March Against Redskins; Snyder Still Wooing Natives

Jacqueline Keeler

At least 150 protesters, led by Amanda Blackhorse -- the lead plaintiff in the trademark lawsuit that led to the cancellation of billionaire NFL owner Dan Snyder’s trademarks on the Washington football team’s name – gathered to protest the name Redskins in Glendale, Arizona, during Sunday’s NFL football game, Cardinals vs. Redskins.

The protesters began with a prayer led by Tohono O'odham elders and marched to University of Phoenix Stadium where luminaries like poet and writer Simon Ortiz (Acoma) spoke to the crowd about racism, colonization and against the use of Native people as mascots.

When Blackhorse spoke to the crowd, she said, “We are not here to fight amongst ourselves. We are not here to call them names or anything like that. We are here to raise awareness."

ICTMN reported in an earlier story that Zuni Tribal Governor Arlen Quetawki Sr. would attend Sunday’s game as Snyder’s guest. Quetawki was allegedly given at least 250 tickets by Snyder for tribal members to attend, including Navajo students and staff from Red Mesa High School (whose mascot is also the Redskins). 

Navajo/Dine protesters hold up signs during a Redskins protest in Glendale, Arizona on  October 12, 2014. (Ron Jackson)

The students were bused to the game courtesy of Mr. Snyder.

Snyder also hosted a tailgating party for his Native American guests, and Native people were seen heading to their seats with free Redskins jerseys, hats (some signed) and even children with other merchandise, which reportedly included iPads (ICTMN will follow up with a report). And Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly was in a private box seated next to Dan Snyder during a portion of the game. Attendees were also encourage to make signs stating their tribal affiliation and how they supported the Redskins.

RELATED: Native Groups to Protest Sunday’s Redskins Game in Arizona

RELATED: Navajo Nation Officially Joins Fight Against Redskins Mascot

RELATED: Navajo Council Member Introduces Anti-Redskins Bill

Kenrick Escalanti, Quechuan brought his tribe’s lightening crew of young men to the protest. They experienced hateful comments by Redskins fans—even from a young 7-year old boy. When Escalanti told his parents that they were teaching their son to support racism, they were at first defensive, but later apologized. He said, “It’s like going back in time and seeing racism, Martin Luther King’s era, and seeing little kids who don’t know any better supporting racism.”

Navajo Nation councilman Joshua Lavar Butler and author of the Navajo Nation’s resolution against the Redskins name told ICTMN, “In light of today's actions by my Nation's president, I am sad to say that while disappointing, it is by no means surprising.

It brings to mind an astute observation by the celebrated writer Sherman Alexie, that when the Native community sees our own people supporting the Redskins team name, we must remember that Custer and Kit Carson also had their 'Indian scouts.'

Jacqueline Keeler is a leader of EONM, one of the groups that participated in Sunday's protests.

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tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Gurlfriend, your seem frustrated about Navajo President Ben Shelly sitting in the football stands with the 'much celebrated Washington Redskin warrior' Dan Synder. Ben Shelly,as leader the Navajo Nation Tribe of Indians, is on record to receiving courtesy of US Taxpayers from the US Federal Government, the dollar award to Navajo Nation Tribe $550 Million dollars or $550,000,000.000. Doesn't that $550 Million dollar amount even faze your concerns even after Mr. Shelly's Navajo Tribal Government returned unspent US Federal dollars of $96 Million in federal housing assistance? If the US Government provides federal dollars with stipulations, any Government (Tribal, City, State) should spend all of it. Why does the Navajo Nation of Tribal Indians continue to be homeless or suffer the lack of adequate housing throughout the Navajo reservation? If the Navajo Nation Government (President and the Navajo Tribal Council) can't seem to put priorities to the benefit of The People, how are the The People supposed to monitor or watch how the $550 Million is spent/invested (if any)? How about the disqualification of a young man from Navajo nation Tribal President as he didn't meet the tribal requirement of fluency in the Navajo language. There is a large majority who seemingly (understandably) don't or can't the time to learn or speak the language. Of course, a sizable percent of the award of $550 Million could and SHOULD be invested into a Navajo Language program. Of greater concern (in my own opinion) is how the same young man set about to CHANGING Navajo Tribal law of the need for being fluent to speak. A Navajo Police Officer was shot again in his call to a domestic violence event. The last was in 2011 that cost the life a Navajo Police Officer. Domestic violence is a large-REAL LIFE concern due to alcohol abuse, drugs, under-employment. WHo is watching/monitoring the Navajo nation Tribal Government other than watching and reporting whose/who at a football game. Meanwhile, the social media sensation, the trival expose', the charade, to who is a Washington Redskin or not a Washington Redskin but maybe a Foreskin goes on….