In a 9-2 vote in favor of the legislation last Thursday, the Navajo Native Council passed legislation officially opposing the continued use of Washington’s football team name, the “Washington Redskins."
UN human rights expert on indigenous people’s rights James Anaya concurred with the vote, saying that the name is a "hurtful reminder” of the indigenous people’s history and genocide by America’s colonizers: “[T]he term for many is inextricably linked to a history of suffering and dispossession.”
On Feb. 22, news broke that the NFL’s Competition Committee is considering an automatic 15-yard penalty for use of the “n-word” on the field and presumably other racial slurs. This opens up a glaring hole: What about the Redskins? The name of an entire football team is considered by many to be a racial slur with no good arguments against changing it. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, and Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins owner, need to wake up.
Team owner Daniel Snyder announced Monday that after four months spent “[travelling] to 26 Tribal reservations” and learning about their “views, attitudes, and experiences,” he would start a philanthropic project to aid American Indian communities.
“The more I heard, the more I’ve learned, and the more I saw,” he wrote in a letter, “the more resolved I became about helping to address the challenges that plague the Native American community.”
He added: “It’s not enough to celebrate the values and heritage of Native Americans. We must do more.”
Facepalm. While it’s heartwarming that Snyder has finally decided to help indigenous people after 10 years owning the $1.7 billion franchise, the move completely ignores “the elephant in the room,” to quote Indian Country Today: “The widespread objection … to the team’s name.”