Native groups have been protesting Washington NFL team’s name this fall.
Last weekend the Washington Post revealed Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington NFL team, has been visiting Indian country in recent months to solicit support to retain his team’s offensive name.
The secret trips – or sneaky trips – to Indian country reek of foul play.
Mr. Snyder is now feeling the heat about the need to change the name. The renewed campaign to have Mr. Snyder change the name has reached across Indian country to the White House, the halls of Congress and into the pulpits of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues.
America seems to be paying attention: the name – the R-word – is offensive. To many American Indians the R-word is comparable to how offensive the N-word is to African Americans.
Apparently, Mr. Snyder thinks if you go find some American Indians to support his continued usage of the R-word for his team’s name all will be well.
It should be noted American Indians are not monolithic. We don’t all of the same opinions on the same subject. Just as any married couple can attest, both spouses don’t always agree on certain things. So it is among American Indians.
So, there is no doubt Mr. Snyder can find some American Indians who don’t have a problem with the R-word used as his team’s name. Some of these Indians may be in our own families. Most people understand you can typically find people to support your points of view.
The reason the secret trips to Indian county reek of foul play is Mr. Snyder’s attempt to collect support is another representation of the old “divide and conquer” tactic that has been used by non-Natives for centuries to satisfy their own greedy desires.
Time after time, non-Natives would find that American Indian who may be willing to “sell-out” his people to be short-termed rewarded.
There is enough evidence that the usage of American Indian names and imagery in sports damage American Indian students.
Barbara Munson, an Oneida from Wisconsin, chairs the Wisconsin “Indian” Mascot and Logo Taskforce. She wrote a commentary in September that reads:
“Since 2002, a rigorous and ever expanding research base has grown around the impact of race-based ‘Indian’ stereotypes on Native students, students from other minority populations and indeed all students. This research supports the anecdotal and experiential testimony of Indian parents and educators. It has been replicated and duplicated and expanded into several disciplines such as applied and clinical psychology, and sports psychology to name a few. This body of research shows that “Indian” mascot, logo and name stereotyping is harmful and that it teaches students to stereotype other groups of people than the depicted ‘Indians.’”
So, even with Mr. Snyder out in Indian country seeking support, those American Indians he visited should really find out why their students are suffering from low self-esteem. They should find out why their students from their tribes are subjected to offensive bullying when they attend schools in border towns.
Offensive message caused uproar among American Indians & others across Internet.
The inappropriate sign that some ignorant Sonic employee put up in Belton, Missouri on December 7, 2013 clearly demonstrates the danger of retaining the R-word as a team name in our nation’s Capitol City.
If Mr. Snyder really wants to assist American Indians he need not travel to Indian country. He can stay in Washington and work with Congress to properly fund Indian country so that economic development can occur and American Indians can move out of the ranks of the most impoverished racial/ethnic group in America.