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What’s in a name: Redskins Controversy Anyone?

Since most of the pure football topics have been covered, and practice is closed today I thought it might be a good time to bring up the debate about the Redskins changing their name. If you find that completely boring feel free to stop now.

First I wanted to look at where the name first originated and then try to form my own opinion that what some on T.V. say is equivalent to using the "N" word.

"Redskin" was used throughout the English-speaking world (and in equivalent transliterations in Europe) throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a common term of reference for indigenous Americans. However, the more commonly used term from early colonization through the twentieth century was "Indian", perpetuating Columbus' error. The first use of red-skin or Red Indian may have been limited to specific groups that used red pigments to decorate their bodies, such as the Beothuk people of Newfoundland who painted their bodies with red ochre. Redskin is first recorded in the late 17th century and was applied to the Algonquian peoples generally, but specifically to the Delaware (who lived in what is now southern New YorkState and New York City, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania). Redskin referred not to the natural skin color of the Delaware, but to their use of vermilion face paint and body paint. The indigenous peoples of the continent had no common identity, and referred to themselves using individual tribal names, which is also preferred to the present day. Group identity for Native Americans only emerged during the late 18th and early 19th century, in the context of negotiations between many tribes signing a single treaty with the United States.

Many claim the term is a particularly egregious racial epithet that represents a bloody era in American history in which Indigenous Americans were hunted, killed, and forcibly removed from their lands by European settlers. The claim often centers around a proclamation against Penobscot Indians in 1755 issued by King George II of Great Britain, known commonly as the Phips Proclamation. The proclamation orders, "His Majesty’s subjects to embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and Destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians." However, since the proclamation itself does not use the word redskin, citing it as the origin of "redskin = scalp" has also been called "revisionist history". Ref. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redskin_(slang)

So having read this piece, I personally don’t see any proof that the term Redskin means scalps, or refers to the color of one’s skin.

The center of the controversy is of course the Washington Redskins team name. Supporters claim that when the name was chosen in 1933 to honor William "lone Star" Dietz. Dietz was the coach and claims exist that his mother was Sioux.

Many have tried to poll Native Americans in order to judge if this truly is a racial slur or if it’s just a small amount of their population who are offended and trying to force their will upon everyone.

In a 2002 poll by Sports Illustrated showed that 75% of those polled had no objections to the name. Activists claim this is bogus because the magazine refused to provide how they actually conducted the poll.

A second poll in 2004 by the University of Pennsylvania confirmed the previous poll results. This time 91% from 48 states had no objection.

This is where it gets difficult because no-matter what type of poll you devise, how do you ensure those taking it are actually Native Americans? Many people claim to be, and many more officially determined to be Native Americans can have a little as 1% Native American bloodlines.

I don’t see any way that it’s possible to come up with a reasonable consensus of how the Native American population feels about the use of the name.

As much as American’s love the game of football…..would we really pick a derogatory name for our team?

I think not….I think it’s more of a celebration and a showing of respect……that Washington would use the name and logo of a Native American for its team.

Of course that’s just my opinion so I asked my two adopted sons, ages 21 and 17 how they felt about the name and they had no objections at all. I might add that they are both 51/64ths Lakota Sioux, born at the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota so that carries a little more weight than just being my sons.

So that is the results of my own personal poll and I guess for me, I really don’t see that the use of the name is anywhere close to using the "N" word.

So now it’s your turn if you stuck around this long.

How do you feel about the Government telling a team to change its name if it comes down to that?

"A bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives on March 20, 2013 to void any use of the redskins as a trademark. The primary sponsor, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D., D.C.), stated she supports the local team but not the name."Ref. same as above.

Do you think the name is God Awful and should be banned from all humanity?

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