After the extensive research of in regards of whether it’s appropriate to use Native American names and mascots as a professional sports team name or mascot, I am somewhat torn…
In this Inquiry my personal area was the naming controversy of the Washington Redskins, arguably the most publicized and controversial team name in recent history. My personal opinion on this topic before the research was, First Nation mascot and names are appropriate to be used as long as it was portrayed correctly. And my opinion remains the same.
Most Native American team name was not designed with the intent of being used as a racial slur, instead often it’s used to honor native induvial who had great contribution with the team. In the case of the Washington Redskin, according to a letter from the team owner Daniel Snyder, the team was renamed to “Boston Redskins” from “Boston Braves” in 1933 to honor the four Native American players on the team at the time and the legendary head coach at the time Lone Star Dietz (William Henry Dietz, Sioux Indian) who is also native (There are controversy with if he is really a Native American).
But if they did not portray the Native American image correctly than that’s inappropriate. In the case of the Washington Redskins, although the intention of the naming was good but the origin of the word Redskins was very cruel- the word redskin came from the time when European settlers will kill Native Americans for bounty and then they referred the natives as the Redskins. So in the case of the redskin, when whoever named the team 84 years ago was poorly educated and they should recognize the issue and change the name.
Personally, like I previously stated, I believe it’s ok to use First Nation mascot and names as long as it’s accurate. Even the ad campaign by National Congress of American Indians against the Redskin name was about calling them self the correct terms, I don’t think anyone would mind if a team is called Chicago Lakota.
“Letter from Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to fans.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 9 Oct. 2013, www.washingtonpost.com/local/letter-from-washington-redskins-owner-dan-snyder-to-fans/2013/10/09/e7670ba0-30fe-11e3-8627-c5d7de0a046b_story.html?utm_term=.c51196709d94.
www.browsermedia.com, BrowserMedia -. “NCAI Releases Report on History and Legacy of Washington’s Harmful “Indian” Sports Mascot.” NCAI Releases Report on History and Legacy of Washington’s Harmful “Indian” Sports Mascot | NCAI, www.ncai.org/news/articles/2013/10/10/ncai-releases-report-on-history-and-legacy-of-washington-s-harmful-indian-sports-mascot..
PoetrySlamVancouver. “Winona Linn – Knock-Off Native.” YouTube, YouTube, 30 Jan. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_zFOsd_pqA.