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NFL’s About to Start; Warm Up Your Anti-Redskins Arguments

Harlan McKosato
9/11/15

The NFL kicks off their first full slate of games on Sunday and the Washington R**skins will host their season opener against the Miami Dolphins. This will also kick off further protests against the team’s nickname by those who object to the name and feel the term R**skins is derogatory and should be changed.

Let me address why I believe the name should be changed. The Organization of American Historians, the largest academic membership association devoted to the study of American history, issued a statement which read, “The (OAH) hereby adds its voice to the growing demands by Native American organizations…to change the name and logo of the Washington R**skins.”

OAH, in its release, cited the following quote from the Winona Daily Republic, a newspaper based in Minnesota, on September 24, 1863, which reads: “The state reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory.” There’s nothing racist about hunting down people different than you (including women and children) for a bounty, right?

OAH also quoted Nazi Germany’s Adolph Hitler about his use of the term R**skins during his invasion of Russia, “There’s only one duty: to Germanize this country (Russia) by the immigration of Germans, and to look upon the (Russian) natives as R**skins.”

Okay, let’s look at some of the arguments that R**skins supporters offer up when they try to insist that the nickname is not insulting or racist, and that Native Americans who find the term insulting and opponents of the name are being too overly-sensitive and that objecting to the name is just part of American society’s new, absurd sense of political correctness:

First of all, the Washington NFL team has always used this name, this is our tradition. My response is “no, that’s incorrect.” The franchise started off with the nickname Braves. If you want to talk about tradition and legacy, go back to Braves.

Or, you could easily change your name to “Pigskins” which I’ve been advocating for quite some time because of Washington fans’ infatuation with your famous offensive line that blocked for John Riggins nicknamed “the Hogs.”

Even better, let’s rename the team “Rednecks.” Before the game you could have a guy looking like Larry the Cable Guy drive out to the 50-yard line at FedEx field, get out of his four-wheel drive pickup, put in a big wad of chaw in his jaw, chew on it as the fans go wild and then take a big ol’ spit of tobacco juice as the band plays and fans sing in unison, “Hail to the Rednecks.” That would be cool don’t you think?

How about the argument that Native Americans should be more concerned about other problems within our communities like poverty, alcoholism and other health issues like the high rate of diabetes. My simple response is, “We are, you idiot.” Next question.

Why did Native people just now start to complain about this issue when they’ve had a chance to raise the issue since the 1930’s? The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) filed a resolution in 1968 protesting the name, without much fanfare and without much public response or outcry. Next.

We call the team R**skins to honor our Native Americans because of their bravery, their nobility and their cultural pride. This is an honor, not an insult. Why are you Natives protesting this name, it’s nothing but an honor to your heritage?

How about if there was a professional team called the Big Bucks, but instead of a deer with a giant antler rack as the logo the team used the profile of an African slave and responded to protests by saying, “We’re honoring African Americans because of their ancestor’s strength, their endurance and their ability to withstand pain.”

Let me explain my deeper point of view on this issue: I do not have a “no tolerance” position when it comes to Native images and symbols being used as sports mascots on the professional, collegiate or high school levels. I have no problem when it comes to names like Chiefs, Braves, Warriors, or even Indians. However, I do believe that Savages, the Tomahawk Chop, and Chief Wahoo have to go.

When it comes to a child’s self-esteem, I believe it’s up to the parents, the home environment, and the extended family to ensure that a child sees herself or himself as worthy. If those things are not in order then, and only then, do I believe a Native child’s self-esteem can be negatively affected by Indian sports mascots.

Here’s my last retort, instead of getting upset with Native Americans and others who want the R**skins name changed, Washington fans should be angry about the fact your team has only made four postseason appearances and had five winning seasons since 1992.

Harlan McKosato is a citizen of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. He is the Director of NDN Productions, an independent media production company based in Albuquerque.

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Michael Madrid's picture
I like the idea that the name should be the Rednecks! After all, it’s mostly Rednecks who defend the current name!
Michael Madrid
tmsyr11's picture
The problem with the Redskin arguments is the existing state of Reservation indian affairs of gangs, drugs, alcoholism, elder neglect, child abuse, mental illness, environmental catastrophies as waste mgmt., mine tailing spills, as well as housing developments, meaningful economic industry, schools, etc. don’t begin or end with the Wasington Redskins. There is no ending in sight……no pre-season, no playoffs, no Superbowl (or even no World Series). The sorry sad State of Indian (reservation) affairs continues. It alway has and always will! So while your sipping your Starbucks latte and jet-setting to the next metro-city in time to “protest”, BELIEVE ME, we’ll be getting ready to watch our NFL pre-game show and maybe the WASHINGTON REDSKINS on our trusty black/white TV (HOOKED up to our truck battery). This year though we may be getting flat screen. My hope one day is to have the LUXURY of time and resources to be able to identify and maybe associate with “your” gripes and racial arguments. But until then, please refrain from using me, my family in your grievances.
tmsyr11
stevef's picture
So, we’re still beating our chests over the use of the Term ‘Redskin’ and saying that is was once or twice used ‘offensively’ and therefore, it should be banned…..well, except for us Redskins….we can call ourselves it and that is OK. So, I have heard many of my fellow redskins use the term ‘White’ guy very offensively when talking about ‘White People’, it’s probably in the new paper today in Fergeson is a derogatory way, ….so that term should be banned as Racist….right? Besides, are they really ‘white’, I have never seen a ‘white’ person…..lots of pinkish, some variations of brown and then some dark browns. Now lets talk about Indian Country Today….they use the term ‘Redskin’ or variants of that on a regular basis…it’s one of the chapter headings … is that OK since we presume that the editor is a fellow skin? hmmmm So, if we say yes to that, it begs back to that statement that if the owner, coach or players on the Washington Redskins team can trace any ancestor back to their great, great grandmother being a Cherokee Princess, then all is good in the world……..right?
stevef
Michael Madrid's picture
TO tmsyr11 – I don’t think any of the people protesting the team name are sitting around sipping Starbucks and jet-setting anywhere! Most of the people I know protesting the name are as poor and as incapable of attending the protests as I am. ________________________________________________________________ I think you’re also over-estimating your appeal and your fame. No one is using you OR your family in their grievances. You reserve your right to be an apple.
Michael Madrid
Michael Madrid's picture
TO STEVEF: I’m all for calling you Pink People if that’s what you prefer.
Michael Madrid
tmsyr11's picture
To mm: I know my census numbr, whats urs? I bleed red and my skin is the color of the dirt and rocks for which i was born of. But why start name-calling especially on basis of skin color?
tmsyr11
tmsyr11's picture
stevef: some of those comments, statements are just beyond any reasoning……or constructive thought. Obviously they are emotional in how they view matters. This country is reeling from 8 years of destructive race issues while real American policies abroad and domestic are stagnant and decaying. I do hope there will be better times of increased wages, reintergizing American industry and pride as Americans – but this bandwagon of racial hatred and discrimination is too intoxicating and …..”sexy”….. to let go of.
tmsyr11
stevef's picture
@ MnM: You can call me anything but late for dinner. Did I strike a cord when I spoke of those that say their great, great gram being a Cherokee Princess, if that is your story, then I am sorry I struck that cord. @Tmsyr11: I have no illusion that this ‘Redskins’ isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Just my 2 cents of a skin who has been on reservations all over Oregon, Washington and Idaho for the past 50 years and heard many of my peers refer to themselves as Redskins or Skins as a statement of pride. So, I find humor when I see attempt to morph the term into Racist term. So, lets talk about women who call each other Bitches……they know that term is derogatory, but still choose to describe themselves or their friends. Or ‘males of African decent’ who choose to call themselves ‘Niggers’. Again, they know it is a derogatory term, and choose to use it. I never thought of ‘Redskin’ as a derogatory term until the chest thumping against the NFL. It makes no sense to me.
stevef
Michael Madrid's picture
TO TMSYR: I’m not questioning your heritage, I’m questioning where your heart is. In my many years on this earth I’ve known many self-hating NDNs, Mexicans and Blacks. They’ve been beaten down and their spirits and their hearts are broken because of all the discrimination they’ve faced. ___________________________ If you’re THAT much a supporter of the Washington NFL team it would seem to me that the name wouldn’t matter all that much. If you found even ONE Native child who suffered as a result of promoting this slur wouldn’t you WANT to change the name? No? Then you’re an apple, red on the outside, White on the inside. I’m not questioning your “Indian-ness,” I’m not questioning your heritage or your culture, I’m saying your heart is in the wrong place and for the wrong reason!
Michael Madrid
tmsyr11's picture
“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”
tmsyr11

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