Not in Our Honor

Okay, I know people hate being PC. I know they say Mascots honor Native American Indians. But it really blows my mind that in this day and age, when we finally have a man of color in the White House, that we can also have the football team in the nation’s capital named “Redskins”.

As an American Indian, I grew up seeing kids dress like Indians, seeing adults dress like a “sexy” pocahontas, and wondering, why are they making fun of us? I know that was not the intent of kids or adults, but that is what I felt.  Now as a mother, I don’t want my children to ever see that, and have to question why?

The last time KC played Washington in 2005, in KC, I along with other college students organized a rally to educate the fans on who the KC team was named after. A white man who was an icon in KC. (so they should dress up in business suits) We even asked the KC general manager to tell the fans, not to dress up as American Indians, not to erect their teepees or facepaint, but they declined.  The day of the game, we were met with hostility and rudeness from all races.  We instructed our people to just stand there, don’t yell back, just smile and hold your signs.  We weren’t angry, we just wanted the people to be informed of the truth.  The news ran that night as “American Indian Protestors”.  We weren’t protesting, we were educating…and the framing began as it always does.

American Indian identity has been stolen, by every football, baseball, hockey, and basketball team that uses our people as a mascot.  We want it back. If a person’s identity is stolen, wouldn’t they want it back, wouldn’t they do everything to get it back? Well, think of it like that.  I don’t want non-indians to be using our faces anymore, and I don’t want our nation’s capital to be using our identity.  The case against the Washington team has been in litigation for years, and the main point against the plaintiffs, has been that they waited too long to lodge the complaint. How ironic when you think about how long American Indians have lived here compared to our “guests”.

KC will be playing Washington in October again in Washington, and there will be no winners in this game. I will be listening and reading to see how many stereotypes are made in the broadcast and print editions.


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