And if Dan Snyder knew where the word “Redskin” comes, truly understood it, I think he would make that change—a man knowing what a holocaust is and what genocide is. Goes all the way back to Governor Kalb [ phon. ] in Newfoundland in the 1500s. When they started their Western expansion, the Indian people were in their way, so he put out a bounty on Indian people. It was perfectly legal to kill Indians then. And they were bringing them in by the wagon loads. Women, who didn’t have any rights back then, and the church started speaking out about it. It became to cumbersome financially to bury them. So he said, to prove that you killed an Indian, now that’s all you had to do was bring in their skull. And they said they were bringing them in by gunny sacks, bushel baskets, bringing wagon loads to collect their bounties. The women spoke out again, put pressure, pressure on the governor, Kalb. And he said, “To prove you that you kill an Indian, that’s all you have to do now is bring in a lock of their hair.” So when they cut that scalp off the Indian people’s head, now they could go after little children, babies, and collect more money. That blood would run down their face, that red blood, and down their bodies. They’d put those pouches, the pouches on their leg, their scalps, and come in and collect their bounty. Henceforth, there’s been over 60 tribes that have been totally erased from the face of the Earth, no longer exist. And Dan Snyder should understand that, being Jewish himself. There are Jewish people still here, but there are tribes that have been totally decimated. And that’s where the word “Redskin” comes from. And we’e demanding that that change. The “R” word is no different than the “N” word, and Little Red Sambo has to go.
— Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder and director of the American Indian Movement. He was a major figure in the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. Bellecourt is also an organizer with the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media.