As the Washington soccer team prepares to take the field this Thanksgiving Day against the Dallas Cowboys, they will do so without their distinct racial origins. The team name and the decorative mascot on the helmets and shirts.
The team name – a racist slurs toward Native Americans – and the Native American mascot, which has stirred outrage and stimulated activity among various Aboriginal and Peoples’ groups nationwide, retired in July, despite team owner Daniel Snyder pledging in 2013 that he would not change The name « never ».
But the struggle for the multi-billion dollar football franchise to abandon the racist name and slogan goes back decades..
Susan Sean Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodlje Muskogee) – recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and advocate for politics who helped indigenous peoples reclaim holy sites and over a million acres of Aboriginal land – famous for her courtroom battles to change the name of the Washington soccer team. Harjo was the lead prosecutor and organizer of the court battle for 17 years, Harjo et al v. Pro Football, Inc. (1992-2009), was an organizer and expert witness in a similar lawsuit filed by the Young Natives, Blackhorse et al v.. Pro Football, Inc. (Introduced 2006, active 2017-2020).
“In 25 years of litigation, they have never brought any original person to support their side in the courts,” Harjo said.. This is why I think Snyder eventually ditched it after he said he’d never change the name. Since we filed the lawsuit in September. 10, 1992, Team Washington did not return to the Super Bowl. They changed everything. Coaches, players and owner. But the name was not yet. Lots of people say, « When will you be cursed? » This is not a curse, this is karma.
The Washington soccer team is currently playing its matches at FedEx Field in Landover, MD, and wants to return to Washington, D.C.. C. It has been reported that the District of Columbia Council and other government officials will not allow the granting of federally owned land to the concession without changing the official name and removing the Native American logo and amulet.. It has also been reported that investment companies and shareholders have asked Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate their business relationships unless the team agrees to change its name.. This move is widely supported by fans.
Historian, educator, and filmmaker John Little, a member of the Standing Rock Tribe of South Dakota, made a documentary with his brother Ken Little about sporting mascots and Native American team names. More Than a Word explores its impact on real situations, issues, and politics through interviews with scholars, tribal leaders, lawyers, policy experts, activists, and fans of the recently renamed Washington soccer team.. They share the history of the term « r * dskin » and cultural stereotypes of Native Americans.
“Fans often talked about honoring Aboriginal people with the names and mascots of these teams, but what we also saw is that this wasn’t just a soccer team,” Little said.. “It was about their connection and their experience with this team. This is the crazy part. The last question we asked every fan was, « If they changed their team name, would they still be a fan? » Almost every one of them said that they would support them regardless of the team name.
Ian Washburn, who appeared in the documentary, shares his experience as a former fan. Washburn came from a family of « R * dskins » fans who have been season ticket holders for several generations. But after a 20-year journey to learn the racial origin of the name, he has since denounced the name « R * dskins », canceled his season tickets and joined Rebrand Washington Football, a group advocating for the name change of the team since 2015..
“There was relief and joy, but of course doubts also because we don’t know what the new amulet will be and there are concerns that it could still contain hints about Native Americans,” Washburn said when asked how he felt about the announcement of the name change. “What we’re really hoping for is 100 percent away from that and recognition. They try to undo this thing unharmed, as if they haven’t harmed Native Americans in 87 years and we all know they hurt..
But the movement to banish Native American sporting mascots and racist slurs as a thing of the past goes beyond professional sports..
Caitlin Reitz and Teresa Park founded Retire The Rxdmen, a group of East Islip High School alumni on Long Island to raise awareness of racial institutions, starting with their university of the same name. On June 4, 2020, former students launched a campaign calling on the school to change the mascot « R * dmen » through a petition that has now obtained more than 12,000 signatures, which they submitted at the school’s board meeting on July 27..
« The community response was divided, » Reitz said.. “I realize that some people don’t see it for what it is. Hate speech. They don’t understand that this is not an honor for the Native Americans. It boils down to intention versus impact. Long Island has a terrible history of racism and segregation. When I was young, I think I accepted it just the way things were. As an adult, I started de-escalating the racism I had learned, and kept going back to my high school with this team name and this racist mascot.. BLM led me to do something to change it.
Retire Rxdmen met with the Long Island School District superintendent on August 1. At the school board meeting in September. 24, School officials listed the reasons why the name was non-racist and invited the organizers of the competing « Save the Mascot » petition to speak out on behalf of retaining the name.. That same night, Retire The Rxdmen held a vigil for Briona Taylor. The vigil was met with a counter-protest organized by supporters of the « Save the Mascot » campaign, which included supporters of Trump waving the Blue Lives Matter flags..
« We are still in our position, » said Reitz.. “Our team feels we did everything we could, especially since many of us are no longer in town. With a sharp rise in COVID-19, we don’t think the school will give that attention it needs, and pushing it more at this time will make the council and the city fall further.. This should be an easy and quick decision for the board to make after hearing our presentation, but frankly, after listening to many distressed parents at the many board meetings, I realized that East Islip – with its wonderful love for football and mascot – would not be able to address this Now among the pandemic.
Save the Rxdmen responded to the school board in an open letter posted on their website after September. 24th school board meeting.
« Our immediate demand is to withdraw the team name and amulet and replace it with a name and mantra inspired by non-indigenous people, no tomahawks, no head dresses, » Reitz said.. . In the long term, we need the school to start implementing educational initiatives to thoroughly educate students about original history and contemporary life. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were gatherings of local tribal members in East Islip, and they have since disappeared.. Exposure to Native American history in this school district ends primarily in Trail of Tears. Native American education is not part of the curriculum. There are active tribes in the area that we should learn from and free resources that we can access from places like the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian.. We reached out to a group that started on Instagram, the National Committee to Eliminate Aboriginal Mascots (NCRIM) where we found other community groups communicating about the same issues, sharing resources and advice, and it has turned into a real thing, a way to communicate in communities..
As the fight continues to change the name of East Islip, a Bay Area high school ditches the Native American mascot. On March 3, the San Mateo Daily reported that South San Francisco High School had adopted a proposal for students to drop pictures of Native Americans. . The Southern San Francisco Unified School Board of Trustees agreed to get rid of the emblem and mascot – the head of a Native American leader wearing a feathered headscarf – at its February meeting. 28. The decision came at the request of the students, who had collected more than 400 signatures to support efforts to preserve the Veterans title, but had abandoned references to Native Americans.. .
As professional sports teams, colleges, and high schools study racism and cultural appropriation, and while there are supporters on both sides, attitudes and opinions seem to change. As for the Washington soccer team, no permanent name, logo, or mascot has been announced.
Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys, Coronavirus, Quarterback, Washington Soccer Team, Dak Prescott
World News – California – From professional football to high school sports, the fight for retirement Native American Amulets – El Tecolot