Letter: MHA nation finds ‘Redskins’ nickname offensive, demeaning
At the Oct. 10 regularly scheduled tribal council meeting, a resolution entitled “Rename the Washington Redskins” was passed unanimously by the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation’s Tribal Business Council.
The resolution 13-163-VJB says the name of the professional football team, the Washington Redskins, is highly offensive and demeaning to Native Americans. The resolution says the name “redskin” gives no honor or respect to the First Peoples of this land, but rather is simply a racist reminder of the troubled past.
The original lyrics for “Hail to the Redskins” underscores the demeaning and offensive nature of the team: “Scalp ’em, swamp ’um; We will take ’um big score; Read ’um; Weep ’um, touchdown; We want heap more.”
Native American tribes and communities have historically challenged the use of offensive, inaccurate or ignorant depictions of Native Americans as mascots, logos and sports teams’ names.
The resolution says, in 2005, the American Psychological Association, and in 2007, the American Sociological Association, called for the elimination of Native American mascots because of the harmful effects of racial stereotyping and inaccurate racial portrayals on the social identity, development and self-esteem of American Indian youth. Numerous reference sources, scholarly articles and books describe the term “redskin” as a racial slur or epithet.
The 16-member Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association in 2011 unanimously adopted a resolution supporting the NCAA’s policy eliminating the use of American Indian mascots.
On Oct. 10, the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation’s tribal business council voted unanimously to oppose the continued use of the name Redskins or any other logos, mascots or sports team’s names that demean the First People of this land. The council called on all tribal entities, schools, communities, and allies to develop similar resolutions opposing the “Redskins” nickname.
Public Information Officer,
Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation