For many years, sports teams have used First Nations as team names and logos. And for the same amount of time, there has been controversy to whether it is offensive or not. Red Skins, Indians, Eskimos, Blackhawks and Braves are examples of teams who say they’re trying to represent, honour and show pride towards First Nations. but are they really? Are they taking into consideration the way people of Aboriginal descent feel about these names?
A poll directed by the Washington Red Skins surveyed First Nations across Washington state. Statistics show that 9 in 10 aboriginals were not offended by this name. But who is to say that this isn’t a reliable source to use. Well, many Chiefs across Washington, and other states agree that it shouldn’t be where the line is drawn. What about the hundreds of people who were not called to give their opinion, and how do we know the people they called were, well, people?
The first thing that runs through minds when Red Skin is said, is skin color. It is obvious that they’re referring to skin with their name. How do teams show courage, honour, and show towards First Nations? Do they do so by waving around the skin they have ripped off First Nations? For the uneducated people who don’t know where the Red Skins name originated from, it came from when First Nations were brutality skinned, and handed in for reward. So yes, please keep cheering for the team that continues to hold up their Red Skin Flags.
The three teams that are deeply disturbing and catch many Aboriginals off guard are the Blackhawks, Indians and the Red Skins. The logos of these teams are very stereotypical and are unacceptable. They show that all Fir st Nations are the same and are in one group. This is not accurate. There are many different cultures that have different traditions than their “cousins”. Not all First Nations are red skinned, with high cheek bones, and hooked noses. And do not call me a Knock Off Native when I don’t fit your standards.
Using these names for sports teams enable people to use these names to describe First Nations. People associate First Nations with being resilient, warriors, and brave individuals. And this could be the reason they chose these names. But First Nations had to be resilient, they had to fight for their rights. Which were essentially ripped from their mouths, like their tongues when they spoke their language. Or their land that they still fight to live on. Using these names enable people to negatively affect us. A group of Indigenous children visited the White House to explain the way kids bullied them and called them these team names. Drunks, worthless, animals are also associated with First Nations, and it is not okay. If these names have a negative affect on people, why is it still appropriate to use them. If there is controversy of whether it is offensive or not, get the opinions of all First Nations, meanwhile, teams should not use First Nations as team names or as their logos.
“New poll finds 9 in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by Redskins name.” History News Network, historynewsnetwork.org/article/162867.
Rosenstein, Jay. “How Do Native Americans Really Feel About the Washington Redskins Nickname? Don’t Use the Phone.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 31 May 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-rosenstein/how-do-native-americans-really-feel-about-redskins-nickname_b_10199688.html.
PoetrySlamVancouver. “Winona Linn – Knock-Off Native.” YouTube, YouTube, 30 Jan. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_zFOsd_pqA.