“Doesn’t the Native American community have bigger problems to address than a sports team’s name?”
Excellent point. Poverty, unemployment, homelessness, obesity, mental health issues, substance abuse among other issues plague our community. Having non-Natives understand and appreciate our reliance on culture is difficult to explain.
It’s logical to ask about our priorities and perspective. Native American communities have existed WITH the “Redskins” (87 years 1933-2020) longer than our culture had existed on reservations BEFORE the “Redskins” (65 years since the last treaty was signed 1868-1932). That’s one perspective not usually considered.
The term used was “Native American community” and our community is still coming together. We have been fragmented and physically relocated into an existence that doesn’t align with our history, and we’ve struggled to adapt. Every other culture in this country has a home to find their culture & traditions. American Indians don’t have that option because this America is our home. These names and imagery keep our history and us as a People relevant. Would anyone actively deny us our history and presence?
What’s also important to understand is that in order to sign treaties in the past, required a mandate of the tribal membership. The last Treaty (Supreme Law of the Land under the US Constitution) was conducted in 1868 and required 2/3rds of the male tribal member's consent. Since then, “Agreements” have replaced the Treaty process and now only require 3 or 4 questionable Indian leaders to agree. Therefore, our ability as a People to ensure our culture lives on is being controlled and compromised by fewer and fewer Natives.
What brings us together across tribes, reservations and city Indians? The Redskins. This team is cross-tribal and a source of pride. It is a healing force for our communities.
Community is what propels us to address the many problems that the Native reservations and tribes possess. Stripping our culture and positive aspects we have known for 87 years is detrimental to our community.
𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝘆 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀, 𝗶𝗺𝗮𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗼 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘂𝘀.
The assault on our names and imagery is an assault on the American Indian “no more, no less”. The NCAI (National Congress of American Indians) has acquiesced to fringe activists, academics and government forces to spend the last 50+ years trying to exterminate our culture and communities. The amount of money and organizational activity around eradicating Native names and imagery is astounding.
𝗦𝗼 𝘄𝗲 𝗮𝘀𝗸 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: Doesn’t the opposition have more important issues to address in the Native American community than our sense of community, culture, Names and imagery? If it isn’t important, why have they been so organized, spent so much time and money, and so dead set on our eradication?
Native Americans face poverty, unemployment, homelessness, obesity, mental health issues, substance abuse all at alarmingly higher rates than other ethnic groups. Native children graduate high school at lower rates than other races. Yet the NCAI for 50+ years has been eradicating and erasing our culture.
Native American pride brings us together and creates community. Our imagery and names bind us together.
𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝘆 𝘄𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁.
📸 Credit: NCAI Activists’ “database” and progress of their eradication efforts