Amanda Blackhorse has received stacks of hate mail since she became a prominent figure in the change the name campaign.

Blackhorse: The Hate Mail I Receive is Hostile, Aggressive, Racist and Sexist

Amanda Blackhorse

Sometimes I wonder if Washington team owner Dan Snyder and the co-owners know what type of hate mail those of us who have been battling the Native American mascot issue get. I don’t have a secretary or assistant who assists me in reading messages or organizing my social media, emails and such. Aside from my everyday duties of being a mother and making ends meet in my home, working on the mascot issue will usually take the back burner.

So when I get a chance I will read my “other inbox” on Facebook. After the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board granted the cancellation of the Washington team's registrations in June, messages to me quadrupled. I was swamped with messages from all over the world. Much of it was positive and people sent words of gratitude and encouragement, but a majority was hate mail. This one was one of the most shocking to me:

I’ve never had anyone call me an R-skin to my face. I once dared Dan Snyder in the spring of 2013 through a USA Today reporter if he would dare call me an R-skin to my face and his response was something to the effect of, “I don’t know her … I will never change the name of the team, you can quote that in all caps." I felt that response was very dismissive and patronizing. But otherwise, he has not called me an R-skin to may face or referred to me (to my knowledge) in that manner. I think we both know it would be terribly inappropriate if he did. But apparently this person, Jeff Gates, has no problem calling me an R-skin to my face. In the process he takes a jab at putting down my appearance, which is not up for debate.

And to more hate mail we go:

If it can’t get any worse, the next hate message, “Consider suicide?”, throws more salt on the wound. Many people in the Native American community struggle with suicide. Native American youth suffer at a disadvantaged rate. Wait. Isn't that one of those “bigger issues” other fans use as an excuse? Yes. So why are people encouraging me, a Native American person, to kill myself?

Another sort of theme I see in all of this are references to casinos. "Now go call a bingo game, redskin!" Or "Just shut the fuck up and collect your casino money." Well, as an enrolled citizen of the Navajo Nation, I don’t "collect casino money."  We have casinos, which I don’t go to. I think the last casino I went to was in June of this year and before that I don’t even remember. I’ve also never played bingo, so I don’t understand the whole reference to casinos. I’m sure they are referencing that Natives get checks or payments from casinos because we are all allegedly homogenous and all do the same things and all are identical. Many people don’t know we are very diverse. There are tribes out there I’ve never even heard of.

And then more hate mail:

Another common reference I’ve seen is related to Native Americans being alcoholics. Once again, that goes into the category of stereotypes. I know plenty of Natives out there who can drink alcohol and not get wasted or those who don’t drink. So again, why are we constantly under attack? As for myself, I haven't drank in over nine years and I prefer not to for political and spiritual reasons.

Another point I would like to make is that all of these messages are very aggressive, hostile, sexist, racist, and they are by men, though the anonymous 'Facebook User' above could very well be a woman, but what I see here are very aggressive and derogatory references to women. It is no wonder Native American women suffer high rates of violence, most of the time by non-Native American men. This is very apparent. Mind you, these screenshots are random selections. In almost each one there is a reference to my appearance and the word “squaw” or “bitch” was used. As Native women advocates, we are attacked because we are women and then because we are Native. 

Many people would beg the question of why I would put energy into displaying these negative messages. It’s like feeding the negativity. Yes, to a certain extent, but my intention here is to show everyday people how others are referring to us. This is what people are thinking about us. I’ve stated before, covert racism is often done behind closed doors, but racism toward Native people is outright, in your face, and this is socially acceptable. I then ask: Is this what the Washington team wants to promote?

Amanda Blackhorse. Photo courtesy Malcolm Benally

As I stated earlier, I wonder if Dan Snyder knows what people are saying and what their opinions are. These messages are nothing short of hate speech. Is this what the Washington team wants to be known for? Aren’t we supposed to feel honored? Well, being called an R-skin over and over again, being called a squaw and told to go back to my reservation (which I am currently on) and being told I am someone’s mascot and there is nothing I can do about it, shows me that Native mascotry promotes hatred toward Native people. Nothing more, nothing less.

This billion-dollar industry of Native mascotry profits off of the degradation of a race, an ethnicity, a culture and religions.

Amanda Blackhorse, Diné, is a mother and activist. She and four other plaintiffs won a case against the Washington football team that stripped it of six of its seven trademarks. She lives in Kayenta, Arizona on the Navajo Nation.

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Sofia Tkacheva
Sofia Tkacheva
Submitted by Sofia Tkacheva on
Hi, my name is Sofia, I'm from Russia. I just wanted to say a few words of support. It is terrible that there are so many jerks to write such things, especially to a lady. But it is also a clear marker that the thing you are doing is the right thing. So, I'd like to wish Ms. Blackhorse luck and strength, and let her know there are people around the world who are interested in Native Americans issues :)

Valerie Goodness
Valerie Goodness
Submitted by Valerie Goodness on
Thank you for your activism, sister. There is a race war brewing at the behest of the settler colonialist elites. Dan Snyder not only knows that Indigenous women and children are being targeted, but encourages it, evidence by the "Thanksgiving" and "Redskins" social media propaganda. I would like to remind the readers that most whites fought and still against this kind of racism. So we need to be mindful of who we blame. Settler colonialist are not happy with owning only that which they do. They have to take more. Indigenous people stand in the way. So they target our food, our women and our children in order to own every part of us. Dan Snyder would call you a redskin to your face, sister, But would he to a Native male? I doubt it. 4 out of 5 Americans would never call any Native American "Redskin".....What does that say about Dan Snyder and the racists trolls who posted in your social media article?

tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Ms Amanda, meanwhile your only a mere ONE Hour drive (East-erly) from appearing and/or showing up on the Red Mesa High School, AZ - the Home of the Red Mesa REDSKINS. You drive another hour and your in SHiprock, NM - the Home of the Shiprock, NM Chieftains. Let's go back to Kayenta, AZ, you drive west at one hour and your in Tuba City, AZ - the Home of the Warriors. Apparantly, the Red Mesa community has far more GREATER concerns: contaminated water from uranium tailings (Federal/State/Tribal), old (outdated) buildings (Tribal/State), lack of school resources (State/Federal/Tribal), Health and Wellness (Federal/Tribal), Public Safety (Tribal/Federal)…..the list could go on for other Navajo Tribal communities. With as much 'influence' by your efforts, its quite obvious in listening to REAL people especially from Red Mesa, Arizona, THEY have greater issues and concerns than to (in my words)….waste time and effort in instigating a racial movement. Couldn't you spend more time in challenging the US Federal GOvenrment? How about looking after and reporting on the Navajo Tribal Government? FYI, the Navajo Nation Government received $550,000,000 Million dollars on behalf of the Navajo people, who will be watching Tribal Government management?

Mojo Hand's picture
Mojo Hand
Submitted by Mojo Hand on
Ms. Blackhorse, it is indeed repulsive to see the hate and vitriol directed your way. And for that, and to all the activists who've endured this onslaught of incivility, I am sorry. Yet, somehow it is not surprising. What your examples show are the kind of majority privilege's mindset: insecure and threatened by a marginalized minority group asserting itself to be treated with respect and dignity. It is all about dehumanization and defnining who or what people of color are, which the majority is quite good at---from Little Black Sambo to the stereotypical illustrations of the Five Chinese Brothers, and many other racist depictions of minorities in children's books, no less. And what's worse, is the NORMALIZATION of these images, which further propogates the mascotry and dehumanization. We are but play things and toys to the majority...The vile words directed towards you and others make me angry as well, but I have to remind myself that these folks who so carelessly and thoughtlessly spout such invective are but lesser, immature, souls in this universe who have plenty to learn to evolve. As hard as it is, these ignorant folks are to be pitied for their utter lack of compassion and respect for another human being---all for the sake of money (on the part of Snyder) and support of an ideological view that, in the words of these devolved beings, " you will never control us and our warrior name". Quite bizarre. So it's about power and control over another human being then, is it? This, coming from a cowardly Facebook user that has zero stake in the profits of a franchise (and a lousy football team at that). What does that tell you about that person?.....The day will come when they will, like we all will, have to face the Cosmic Engineer and look back on the life given to them and answer the question: what did you do with your life? So how will they answer when it comes to how they treated others, their fellow human beings on their journey through life?

Briyin Emm
Briyin Emm
Submitted by Briyin Emm on
WHY THEY GOTTA HATE ON US!!! CHECK OUR TRACK OUT.. https://soundcloud.com/brian-emm/why-you-hatin

Bobby Neary Sánchez
Bobby Neary Sánchez
Submitted by Bobby Neary Sánchez on
Amanda, you are beautiful, inside and out. Though this arc towards justice has been bending for centuries, the hate will never defeat you. I'm sure of this.

LineageCompany's picture
Submitted by LineageCompany on
Keep your head up and keep fighting most of these people are ignorant and horribly misinformed on this issue. Thank you for all you have done for us Native Americans!

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
This is old news to anyone who combats this ignorance. I'm sorry that Ms. Blackhorse has had to put up with it. I'm not at all surprised at the hint of Covservatism accompanying the misspellings and the grammar. These are clearly not the mental giants they would like to think they are.

Lesa What-That Is
Lesa What-That Is
Submitted by Lesa What-That Is on
O M G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - First off let me say - Amanda Blackhorse - YOU ARE GORGEOUS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Literally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SO ASHAMED of these HILLBILLY, inbred sounding WHITE people who have ANY nerves to associate with native Americans in the same breath they say "Collect Casino Money!" with. They all need JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hate is REAL and ALIVE - Racism STILL EXISTS! :( PROUD OF YOU AMANDA BLACKHORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lesa What-That Is
Lesa What-That Is
Submitted by Lesa What-That Is on
O M G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - First off let me say - Amanda Blackhorse - YOU ARE GORGEOUS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Literally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SO ASHAMED of these HILLBILLY, inbred sounding WHITE people who have ANY nerves to associate with native Americans in the same breath they say "Collect Casino Money!" with. They all need JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hate is REAL and ALIVE - Racism STILL EXISTS! :( PROUD OF YOU AMANDA BLACKHORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Flower's picture
Submitted by Flower on
As a female native supporter to change the name, I've given up posting on all social media outlets because I get the same. In my heart I want this change for our children's sake, but the ugliness from the public on social media is too much. I will never understand how some people can do this to another over this issue which so easily should have been changed a LONG TIME AGO. Thank you Amanda for being my voice. I am praying for you.

Maria Seager
Maria Seager
Submitted by Maria Seager on
And so they prove the point that no team should be allowed to use a derogatory term as part of the team's name.

quakerite's picture
Submitted by quakerite on
Wow. Hard to know what to say - except that I (a latina whose roots are a South American indigenous people) have noticed that many white people take any criticism as an attack. They fight back like cornered animals. Your observations won't make any difference to people like that - they don't think, they just react. Hang in, sister. Every drop of hatred shortens their lives!

Peter Givens
Peter Givens
Submitted by Peter Givens on
Hello Amanda, I have only "love mail" to offer. When I read through this hate mail, I can only think these hateful and vile messages are monuments to their authors - monuments of their colossal ignorance and stupidity. I admire you greatly, for your grace under fire, and your ability to handle this horrible barrage of ignorance and hate. I love the Native Americans, and I'm of European descent - Scottish, mostly. I've visited a tribe not far from me, often. They are not as well off as the Navajos, but are a wonderful people, like the Navajos. I can't wait for my next opportunity to go back and visit them again. As a radio engineer, I'd love to set them up witha low power AM radio station for their people. It would bring them together more, promote their culture, and preserve their language as well as their culture. Much good can from that. For each hateful person, I imagine that there are many more who admire and love you. Count me as one of the latter. You're an excellent writer, and you are wise in your thinking. I'm glad you don't gamble. I don't either, because it can become a major problem in life. I'd rather gamble on doing something constructive. It may not always work out, but I can live with that fact, and try again in some other venture. I've never posted hate mail, or contributed to a hate mail list, and I feel odd posting here. Fortunately, I cannot hate. I may disagree with a person's thinking, and sometimes be quite passionate about that, but ignorant hating is a tragedy for the one who hates, as well as for the victim who cannot see his or her way through the obvious falseness of the statements that hatred generates. I just wanted to offer this humble message to you, and to tell you I think you're a talented person who thinks rightly. You are a fully benign and sublime influence on your readers (at least those who can think things through intelligently), and it is good that you contribute your thoughts on a regular basis. Please continue on in your inimitable fashion! Thank you so much for taking on the unenlightened people that you do, and don't let their ignorance pull you down. Ignorance is simply the notable lack of intelligence. Thank you for displaying the haters' ignorance in action. If what they said were not so lacking in knowledge, it would be funny. Thank you for being you, Amanda. You're unique, fantastic, and irreplaceable! sincerely, Peter Givens

Butts Larue
Butts Larue
Submitted by Butts Larue on
Those comments are sickening. I hope the words of 7 people are not used to stereotype the millions of fans out there that do not share those hateful thoughts.

Amy Jacobson
Amy Jacobson
Submitted by Amy Jacobson on
Unbelievable. I am commenting so that I add a supportive voice to fight the disgusting evil voices. Keep up the good work. On some level you are fighting for those people, too. They just don't know that they need it. :)

TeninoWoman's picture
Submitted by TeninoWoman on
These non-gentlemen have earned top spots on my prayer list. Congratulations!

TeninoWoman's picture
Submitted by TeninoWoman on
These non-gentlemen have earned top spots on my prayer list. Congratulations!

James Tolliver
James Tolliver
Submitted by James Tolliver on
Dear Ms. Blackhorse, I wish I had answers to why people of all stripes are hating on their fellow human beings. I do know that they everywhere I go online that it shows up in every comment section and it doesn't matter if an article was positive and uplifting, they've got to come out and drag someone down. It's a shame there's no honest discourse anymore, anywhere. Opinions and feelings of people are at such extremes they've pulled apart and there is no middle ground where differences can be worked out. While I'd rather fix the problem instead of fixing the blame I have to say a common thread among haters is ignorance and laziness. Maybe I'm picky but I think in this world of internet anonymity, how you write is how you appear to others so misspelled words (in these days of spell-checkers) and improper use of your, you're and ur and to, too and two's can give clues even before the venom in the message hits full force. That racism still exists and is manifested even uglier than ever has made me even more determined to work to end it. When the Constitution was ratified in 1789 there were too many who weren't included in the ideal of "We the People" and it took a major civil war, court battles and Constitutional amendments to make We the People a de jur reality. But it will take changes in the heart to make it a de facto world of peace. I wish you and yours well. James Tolliver

David Bonello
David Bonello
Submitted by David Bonello on
Amazing. Hard to believe that their favorite team would dry up and die if they quit using a racist, hateful name. Hard to believe the vitriol and miasma of ignorance. And, I should tell you. I am a professional photographer. These people must be some butt-ugly individuals to call you ugly. I'd photo you in an instant. David

silversmithd's picture
Submitted by silversmithd on
Hang in there. I know that on fb some people or kids use other people's signin if that's any consolation.

Mythwalker's picture
Submitted by Mythwalker on
I've just presented this topic, academically, at our local college and the support for change seems overwhelming! Most comments I received were along the lines of: "I never knew the extent of this", or "I'm amazed no one knows how hurtful the epithet really is". The hate speech we now incur over the internet is off the charts. My hopes are Ms. Blackhorse (and others) know she has far more support than detractors and that this antiquated use of American Indian imagery for mascotting will continually cease to be used. Peace to all =)

Dolly Lamaze
Dolly Lamaze
Submitted by Dolly Lamaze on
Ugh. There is a lot of dumb and a lot of nasty on the interwebs, and you got a supersize helping of both, courtesy of these stellar gents. You are an inspiration for how to be. And that is immutable and unbreakable. Thank you for not being intimidated. Thank you for being calm. Thank you for being grounded. Thank you for all of your hard work. Thank you for being magnificent.

crwillingmcmanis@aol.com's picture
Submitted by crwillingmcmani... on
I think you're very pretty. And I think those who are mean-spirited wouldn't see your beauty if someone slapped them in the face....

gsbee's picture
Submitted by gsbee on
I am a Canadian who has a winter home in the U.S. I love it there and have met so many good people. I must say that none have been like the posters of the negative comments. When one resorts to personal insults and vulgarity it's because they have no intellectual points to present. Or they don't have the capacity to make them. When one resorts to personal insults and vulgarity, it only means they have already lost the argument. As a Canadian, I do know of the issue with the team name and I do follow the NFL. But, I can look at it objectively and say that, yes, it is disparaging. It is no different than naming a team the " Palefaces". I have had the discussion with my friends about this issue and some do think the name should remain, if only because of tradition. When I ask them to really think about, I mean give it real thought, they do agree with me. I think the negative posters have a knee-jerk reaction about this because (even if deep inside they know the name is racist ) they don't like being told what to do by someone who they feel is inferior to them. By reading their comments ( and grammar ) it is obvious they are inferior to Amanda Blackhorse. Also, not that it matters, but she is very attractive as well as intelligent and she looks fantastic in turquoise. Thanks for the space to offer my opinion. Let me have it if you want. I can take it. Your Canadian friend will see you soon.

johnsmama's picture
Submitted by johnsmama on
Hello, I just wanted to say that I'm an older (56) white female than lives in western NC, and I am very proud of you for fighting to change such bigotry and hate. I've always loved Native American culture and history and I firmly believe that Mr. Snyder needs to change this nasty, hate-filled name and to stop propagating such a racist tradition. The R**skin name needs to go. Just because it has been used for so long, does NOT make it right to continue to use it. If the name was a slur against African Americans, you can bet it would have already been changed, and Native Americans deserve the same consideration, much more so in my opinion (considering all that your people have endured, war, disease, attempted genocide, assimilation just to name a few). Let the hate roll off of you like water from a duck's back, you are in the right. I wish many Blessings for you and your family, and success in getting rid of the R**skin name. You are truly a strong and beautiful woman.

garyahnefeldjr.'s picture
Submitted by garyahnefeldjr. on
Amanda, you have my support and admiration. Keep fighting until you win. I have no kind words or thoughts for the people who have sent you hate mail. It angers me that they do this, and that Professional Sports teams continue to use racist names and mascots. Those hateful words are nothing just as the people who speak them are nothing. I hope one day we can all rise above this racism and defeat it. I will stand with you in this fight. I wish you well.

jofloresz's picture
Submitted by jofloresz on
If we don't want our people mistreated then we need to stand together! Everyone who see this needs to go on facebook and look up all of these men's pages and let them know just what you think about their comments! If they know they are not going to say what they want without any repercussions then they will continue to disrespect our women warriors and that will be our fault! All you have to do is type in their names and look at their stupid pictures they are idiots and i for one let them know it! Like my mum says the tongue has not bone, but warriors fight back!

Marge Cullen
Marge Cullen
Submitted by Marge Cullen on
The hate is awful and the US in my opinion is heading for a lot of necessary unrest but I think more non-natives are with you this round.