Save the Redskins

Native Americans speak up for the Redskins name

Mike Wise declines to post a link to his newspaper's story, NFL executives meet with Oneida Indian who supports Redskins name, so we post a link to the story and quote excerpts here.

”National Football League executives spoke Friday to an Oneida Indian who told them he was not offended by the name of Washington’s football team, offering a starkly different perspective than the one they heard last week during a meeting with the Native American leader from the same New York tribe.

"The conversation between NFL officials and Melvin Phillips was arranged by his attorney, Claudia Tenney, a New York state assemblywoman who has been a vocal critic of Ray Halbritter, the Oneida Indian Nation representative who is behind a national campaign to change the team’s name.

"Tenney, who also participated in the conversation, which occurred over Skype, said it took place with Jeff Pash and Adolpho Birch, two of the three NFL vice presidents who met with Halbritter and other Oneida representatives Oct. 30.

“'I think we enlightened them,' said Tenney, a Republican who represents Oneida County in the state legislature. 'Their eyes were wide open and their ears were wide open. They asked a lot of questions and they took a lot of notes.'"

(The Washington Post, November 8, 2013, by Theresa Vargas and Susan Svrluga)

Halbritter's camp says they are waiting for a response from the NFL to the ridiculous demands it made when the two sides met in New York last month.   

Cwazy wabbits. The league responded in an underpublicized statement it released almost immediately after the meeting.

"We met at the request of Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation. We listened and respectfully discussed the views of Mr. Halbritter, Oneida Nation Wolf Clan Representative Keller George and their colleagues as well as the sharply differing views of many other Native Americans and fans in general. (Emphasis mine) The meeting was part of an ongoing dialogue to facilitate listening and learning, consistent with the commissioner’s comments earlier this year."

ReGina Zuni would be among the "many other Native Americans" the NFL, Mike Wise and WRC's Jim Vance should listen to. Ms Zuni is a full-blooded Isleta Pueblo resident of her reservation near Albuquerque and she is a third generation Washington Redskins fan. Here is what she wrote on the Facebook Save the Redskins page after seeing images of anti-Redskins protesters at the Redskins at Vikings game.

Redskins name protesters at Redskins-Vikings game 2013

"Arguing with the Anti-Redskins sect is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good your argument the pigeon is going to knock over all the pieces, crap all over the board, and strut around like it’s victorious.

"I’m so over this nonsense of change the name campaign! Their primary assertion is they find the Washington Redskins offensive, derogatory and racist! 

"If these Washington Redskins Haters have to bone to pick then they should start a campaign against the U.S. Federal Government. Why? Because the Declaration of Independence uses the term” 'the merciless Indian savages.' 

"Consider the following? Which his more racist and derogatory 'Redskins' or 'merciless Indian savages?'"

We quote Ms. Zuni with her permission.

The Save the Redskins folks ask fans to sign the online petition to keep the name. Link to the petition here. Redskins Hog Heaven signed the petition under the name of my meek, mild-mannered alter ego.

Online petitions are not enough. Shortly after signing the petition, this email popped up asking that we send the following message to friends, to the NFL (National Football League 280 Park Avenue New York, NY 10017) and to Congress.

Letters ‒ those things you write on paper and send through the mail ‒ are more powerful than email, especially when sent to the NFL and to Congress. So, cut & past the following message into a letter. Print it. Sign it. Mail it today.

In the USA there are 2 million Native Americans enrolled in 566 federally recognized tribes, plus another 3.2 million who tell the Census they are Native American. In the only recent poll to ask native people about the subject, 90 percent of respondents did not consider the term "Redskins" offensive or racist.

Is something still "racist" even if most of the people involved don't agree? Do we simply allow journalists, the President and a few congressmen determine what is and what is not offensive and racist?

That's why I signed a petition to National Football League, Roger Goodell, Commissioner, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:

"Washington Redskins fans, including many Native Americans, are strongly against the name change. The name is not meant to be offensive. The name Redskins represents positive meanings of honor, strength, pride and respect. In 1933, George Preston Marshall, the owner of the team, which was then located in Boston, renamed the team the Boston Redskins in honor of his head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, an American Indian. This was done to honor Native Americans not offend them. 

As Washington Redskins fans and supporters, we do not agree with the consideration of changing the name of the team. 
As Washington Redskins fans and supporters we also honor the history of all Native Americans across our country. 


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Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.