Center for American Progress Report on American Indian Mascots

Here is “Missing the Point: The Real Impact of Native Mascots and Team Names on American Indian and Alaska Native Youth:” StegmanAIANmascots-reportv2

An excerpt:

Although the debate over the Washington football team may rage on until either the NFL or the team’s owner, Dan Snyder, finally does the right thing and changes the name, there are many things that can be done right now to support AI/AN students in schools that perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Instead of debating merchandise economics and fan sentimentality, it is time to get to the point in this debate and to stop the harm that racist mascots and team names do to AI/AN youth.

Stephen Pevar against the Washington Football Team Nickname

Here, from the ACLU blog. An excerpt:

Think of a vile name that you were called by bullies at school based on your religion, your race, your country of origin, or some other characteristic. How did it make you feel? If I call you by the same name but tell you that my intention is to honor you by using it, will you feel honored just because I say so, or would you suggest that I find another way to show my appreciation?

“Redskin” is a vile name. It’s a name that people who hate American Indians often call them. Every dictionary defines “Redskins” as being offensive, derogatory and a racial epithet. Even with the best intentions, naming a sports team the New York Kikes, the Seattle Slant Eyes, the Atlanta Niggers, or the Washington Redskins will likely offend the very group you want to honor. And they’re the ones who should know if the name is an honor or not.

The ACLU is a champion of free speech. The issue here isn’t whether Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins has a right to call his team anything he wants. He does. The issue is whether he should perpetuate racism.

WaPo: D.C. Council Calls Out Washington Football Team Nickname


An excerpt:

“Enough is enough — the name must go,” said David Grosso (I-At Large), who first introduced the name-change resolution in May.

The version of the “Sense of the Council to Rename the Washington National Football League Team Resolution of 2013” approved by the council was worded less strongly than the original, which called the team name “insulting and debasing.” But Grosso pulled few punches in comments on the council dais.

The notion that the “Redskins” name should be kept as a symbol of the team’s heritage, he said, “is akin to saying to the Native American people . . . your pain has less worth than our football memories.”

David Grosso is a hero to Turtle Talk.

Christine Haight Farley on Trademark Law and the Washington Football Team’s Trademarks


An excerpt:

The term used by the Washington football team has been demonstrated by overwhelming linguistic and historical evidence to constitute a disparaging epithet insulting to Native Americans.  Many Native American organizations, including the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Education Association, the Native American Journalists Association, the Native American Rights Fund, the Morning Star Institute, the International Indian Treaty Council, and the National Indian Youth Council, have publicly and vociferously opposed the continued use of the term in trademarks or as the name of sports teams.  The director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has said he considers that name to be the most offensive name in current use.  The trademark office tribunal was satisfied by survey evidence that showed that 37 percent of the Native Americans surveyed found the word the team uses as their name to be offensive.

NCAI Mascot Report

NCAI Releases Report on History and Legacy of
Washington’s Harmful “Indian” Sports Mascot
Washington, DC – Just days after President Obama joined the growing chorus of those calling for the Washington NFL Team to consider changing its name, the team’s leadership justified the use of their “Indian” mascot as a central part of the team’s “history and legacy.” A new report released today by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), titled Ending the Legacy Of Racism in Sports & the Era of Harmful “Indian” Sports Mascots also outlines the team’s ugly and racist legacy, while highlighting the harmful impact of negative stereotypes on Native peoples.  
The report details the position of NCAI, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization. The following is a statement released by NCAI’s Executive Director Jacqueline Pata along with the report:
“The report NCAI has released today provides the history of an overwhelming movement to end the era of harmful “Indian” mascots – including the fact that Native peoples have fought these mascots since 1963 and no professional sports team has established a new ‘Indian’ mascot since 1964.
There is one thing that we can agree with the Washington football team about – the name ‘Redsk*ns’ is a reflection of the team’s legacy and history. Unfortunately, the team’s legacy and history is an ugly one, rooted in racism and discrimination, including the origins of the team’s name. It is becoming more and more obvious that the team’s legacy on racial equality is to remain on the wrong side of history for as long as possible.
The team’s original owner, George Preston Marshall, named the team the ‘Redsk*ns’ in 1932, just months before he led a 13-year league wide ban on African American players in the NFL. Nearly 30 years after the race-based name was chosen, Marshall was forced by the league to hire the team’s first black player in 1962. He was the last NFL owner to do so.
We’ve released this report and have a firm position on this issue because the welfare and future of our youth is at stake. We are working every day to ensure they are able to grow up and thrive in healthy, supportive communities. Removing these harmful mascots is just one part of our effort to encourage our children to achieve their greatest potential. We’re focused on their future; these mascots keep society focused on the negative stereotypes of the past.
NCAI calls on the NFL, other professional sports leagues, and all associated businesses to end the era of harmful ”Indian” mascots.”
The report details a range of issues: the harm stereotypes have on Native Youth and the overwhelming support for ending harmful mascots by organizations, tribal governments, the NCAA, high schools, community groups, and individuals. The report also reviews in depth the well-documented legacy of racism in the Washington football team’s history, including factual rebuttals to the Washington football team’s false claims that NCAI leadership at one point endorsed the use of the “Redsk*ns” mascot.
The report points to the fact that harmful “Indian” mascots exist while Native peoples remain targets of hate crime higher than any other groups, citing Department of Justice analysis that “American Indians are more likely than people of other races to experience violence at the hands of someone of a different race.” The report also reviews in-depth studies that show the harm negative stereotypes and “Indian” sports mascots have on Native youth. The rate of suicide is highest for Native young people at 18 percent, twice the rate of the next highest of 8.4 percent among non-Hispanic white youth.
In the report, NCAI calls on the NFL, MLB, and NHL to address harmful mascots that profit from marketing harmful stereotypes, “Each of these professional sports businesses attempt to establish a story of honoring Native peoples through the names or mascots; however, each one—be it through logos or traditions — diminishes the place, status, and humanity of contemporary Native citizens. What is true about many of the brand origin stories is that team owners during the birth of these brands hoped to gain financially from mocking Native identity. As a result, these businesses perpetuated racial and political inequity. Those who have kept their logos and brands, continue to do so.”
About The National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit

Michigan Civil Rights Commission to File Discrmination Complaint with U.S. Dept. of Education over Indian Sports Names and Mascots

From the MCRC:

Later this morning, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights will file a complaint with the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on behalf of all present and future students who are, are descended from, or otherwise self-identify as American Indians.  This complaint asks OCR to order an end to the use of American Indian mascots, names, terms, graphics and/or other imagery as a violation of equal protection for primary and secondary students.

Here are the materials:





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NMAI Symposium on Mascot Controversies Scheduled for February 7, 2013

Here is the notice. The speakers:

Speakers include:

  • Kevin Gover, who will deliver opening remarks
  • Manley A. Begay Jr. (Navajo), moderator, associate social scientist/senior lecturer, American Indian Studies Program, University of Arizona, and co-director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Jerry C. Bread Sr. (Kiowa), outreach coordinator, facilitator and adjunct associate professor, Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma
  • N. Bruce Duthu (United Houma Nation of Louisiana), chair and professor, Native American Studies, Dartmouth College
  • Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/ Hodulgee Muscogee), moderator. President, Morning Star Institute and past executive director, National Congress of American Indians, and a founding trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian
  • C. Richard King, co-editor, Team Spirits, Native Athletes in Sport and Society, and Encyclopedia of Native Americans in Sports, and professor and chair of the Department of Critical Gender and Race Studies, Washington State University
  • Oren Lyons (Onondaga), Council of Chiefs, Onondaga Nation, and SUNY distinguished service professor and professor emeritus of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Buffalo
  • Delise O’Meally, director of Governance and International Affairs, NCAA
  • Lois J. Risling (Hoopa/Yurok/Karuk), educator and land specialist for the Hoopa Valley Tribes, and retired director, Center for Indian Community Development, Humboldt State University
  • Ellen Staurowsky, professor, Department of Sports Management, Goodwin School of Professional Studies, Drexel University
  • Linda M. Waggoner, author, Fire Light: The Life of Angel De Cora, Winnebago Artist; and editor, Neither White Men Nor Indians: Affidavits from the Winnebago Mixed-Blood Claim Commissions, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, 1838-1839