#Not Your Mascot march in Minneapolis – Protest Washington R-word team name
“We are standing up against this monster team that is here today and to this Jewish person who should know a little bit about genocide”
— AIM leader Clyde Bellecourt
MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of American Indians from various parts of Indian Country took part in perhaps the largest rally ever protesting the use of Indian names and imagery for sports teams on Sunday at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The crowd, which included young and elders, showed up because the Washington NFL team was in town to play the Minnesota Vikings. The Native protesters were joined by allies that included politiicans and former NFL players.
While the call for the Washington team to drop its usage of the R-word as its name has been going on for decades, the issue has intensified during the past couple of years. Last year President Obama said the team should consider changing the name.
American Indians have long held the name of the Washington team is racist.
Marchers chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, this racist name has got to go!” as they made their way towards the stadium.
“We are standing up against this monster team that is here today and to this Jewish person who should know a little bit about genocide,” proclaimed Clyde Bellecourt, a co-founder of the American Indian Movement.
Bellecourt, who is known for his poignant comments, was referring to Dan Snyder, co-owner of the Washington team, who is Jewish.
His reference was about the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust during World War II by Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
“He should know a little bit about genocide,” Bellecourt continued, “the fact that Jewish people are still here today. There have been millions of people erased from the face of the Earth, scalped. Scalped! Their scalps taken to be sold for bounty. The blood running down the children’s faces. There were whole tribes that were totally decimated.”
Bellecourt said Snyder has refused to accept the true meaning of the name of the team, which represents the scalping of Indians that were sold for money.
ESPN estimated that the anti-mascot rally attracted 5,000 people.
Dirk Whitebreast contributed to this story from Minneapolis. Photo by Dirk Whitebreast