Oneida Indian Nation Leads Effort to Change “Redskins” NFL Team Name

The Oneida Indian Nation of New York is leading a national effort urging the Washington NFL team to drop its offensive “redskins” name and mascot. The first ad in its “Change the Mascot” campaign has been released and some key people seem to be getting the message.

Recently, the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has declared that league and team officials “need to be listening” to the mounting calls for change. The commissioner’s declaration, made during an interview with a Washington, D.C. radio station.  Reporting on Goodell’s comments, the Associated Press noted that “momentum for a switch has been growing.”

Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said:

“We are encouraged to see that Mr. Goodell is joining us and so many others in calling for a serious discussion about ending the Washington team’s use of a racial slur. Mr. Goodell is absolutely right – it is time for the Washington team’s owners to start listening. If Dan Snyder continues to be dismissive of the concerns of Native Americans and disdainful of the fact his franchise bears a name that is defined in the dictionary as an epithet, it will be incumbent upon the other owners, the League and the Commissioner to step in and take action.”

The plan is to have ads that run each week in every city the Washington NFL team visits. The campaign isn’t about mere ‘political correctness’ because this sort of language carries with an implicit violence.


(Image posted by Twitter user @Mzhakdo)

Even if the NFL commissioner and the Washington, D.C. football franchise doesn’t want to change the mascot because it’s racist, perhaps they will be moved to change it so that they can distance themselves from images like the one above.  Surely, someone at the NFL thinks this sort of symbolic racial violence hurts their brand.



  1. Seattle in Texas

    I wasn’t sure exactly where to leave this comment, but this seemed appropriate enough.

    Some years back Texas A&M underwent public protest for a blackface video students put out and the university responded from: :

    Gates condemned the blackface video as “so utterly disgusting that, regardless of race, religion, or background, I believe virtually any member of our Aggie family would be outraged and ashamed if they viewed it.” Sociology professor Rogelio Saenz says while Gates has done more than his predecessors in addressing the issue of racism on campus, “there have only been surface changes where deeper changes need to be made in this structural and cultural problem.”

    Yes, it’s true TAMU rests on an incredibly brutal and very ugly foundation of racism, white supremacy, etc. Can it overcome the racism? Uhm…ehem. Well, perhaps it’s at least at reached a beginning phase in that process whereas many other traditionally white universities throughout the nation have yet to even get to that point.

    Throughout the U.S. recognizing racism directed towards Black/African Americans is fairly easy for white society and predominately white institutions to recognize–as well as groups of color in general…at least more overt forms. Many agree that hate groups are wrong, etc. but as demonstrated in the main post above the horrible forms of symbolic violence directed at American Indian groups still carries on with whites often suggesting they are only showing pride and respect by using the racist mascots, etc. Nevermind the obscene, offensive and unapologetic violence directed at the mascots by the contending fans.

    But these things go well beyond sports and aren’t seen as really that harmful or offensive by dominant white society. I am sharing this video because just by chance, I have seen it twice now on a television station sponsored by one of the major universities in Washington State: . While I do not watch television and certainly not that station, I’m assuming others have seen it as well since others probably spend much more time watching television than I do. Nobody has protested the video and likely if they did, it wouldn’t be taken seriously–it would probably be dismissed as just young college kids having a little bit of fun or what have you. Racism directed at American Indian populations is somehow more acceptable even within some of the more hyper-colorblind and politically correct areas in the nation–maybe because Americans do not associate white klan robes (“the ‘real’ racists) with rustic and dusty macho heroic cowboys who were riding around on horses annexing the American frontier while keeping the white damsels in safe keeping from the indigenous populations around them just waiting for the right moment to snatch them from their safe-keeping. Well, somehow in their minds, that’s how the whites saw it and or remember it–stuff along those white lines.

    Not saying that either blackface or redface should be considered “worse” than one another, but rather both should be taken and handled equally seriously by not just society, but institutions–especially institutions of higher education. The failure to take redface and similar forms of racism seriously only serves to reinforce the various types of discrimination and various forms of ongoing genocide experienced by remaining indigenous populations, groups, individuals, etc.

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