By Gary Norris Gray, Staff Reporter
OAKLAND, CA.– American high schools across this great nation never taught you this.
“A white man and an elderly Native man became pretty good friends, so the white guy decided to ask him: “What do you think about Indian mascots?” The Native elder responded, “Here’s what you’ve got to understand. When you look at black people, you see ghosts of all the slavery and the rapes and the hangings and the chains. When you look at Jews, you see ghosts of all those bodies piled up in death camps. And those ghosts keep you trying to do the right thing. “But when you look at us (NATIVE AMERICANS) you don’t see the ghosts of the little babies with their heads smashed in by rifle butts at the Big Hole, or the old folks dying by the side of the trail on the way to Oklahoma while their families cried and tried to make them comfortable, or the dead mothers at Wounded Knee or the little kids at Sand Creek who were shot for target practice. You don’t see any ghosts at all. “Instead you see casinos and drunks and junk cars and shacks. “Well, we see those ghosts. And they make our hearts sad and they hurt our little children. And when we try to say something, you tell us, ‘Get over it. This is America. Look at the American dream.’ But as long as you’re calling us Redskins and doing tomahawk chops, we can’t look at the American dream, because those things remind us that we are not real human beings to you. And when people aren’t humans, you can turn them into slaves or kill six million of them or shoot them down with Hotchkiss guns and throw them into mass graves at Wounded Knee. “No, we’re not looking at the American dream. And why should we? We still haven’t woken up from the American nightmare.”
— A native American perspective on the mascot issue; this is an excerpt from “Wolf at Twilight” by Kent Nerburn.
Here is some advice to Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Football Club, The National Football League, and The Commissioner of Football, Roger Goodell. “Change The Name” and come into the future of a multi-ethnic America and change the nickname of the Washington Football Club.
The last question when will current African American leadership speak out against the Washington Football Club name? IT IS TIME!
The professional baseball version of the Washington Football Club, The Cleveland Indians retired the RED SAMBO- Chief Wahoo. Progress? Yes, but more has to be done. School districts around the country are taking a second look at Native American/First Nation mascots. With each passing year, school boards have band these mascots and symbols and have set a new historical context.
Now if we could get the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Chiefs fan base to stop waving their arms in a chopping motion and chanting the tomahawk chop, that would be continued progress and understanding of our Native American/First Nation history.
We are our brother’s keepers and we should help each other whenever we can. This is one issue that needs to be put in America’s past, forever. The question remains will the Washington Football Club and the Cleveland Indians remove their sports symbol and name?
After 70 years, Native American Indian/First Nation still fight the fight to get American Professional Sports teams to change their names or at least respect the names they have chosen. Americans need to support our First Nation/Native American brothers and sisters in this historic effort.
The Atlanta Braves, Kansas Chiefs, Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Golden State Warriors are the six professional teams with generic First Nation/Native American names, names that have limited impact on the average American man, woman, or child. But for our Native American brothers and sisters, it has an enormous impact.
Now is the time to ask: America, how would Americans feel if some of the professional teams had names like, THE DENVER DARKIES, OR HOUSTON HONKIES, CHICAGO CHINKS, SEATTLE SLANTS, THE NEWARK NIGGERS, or even WASHINGTON STATE WHITE BOYS or WILMINGTON WETBACKS?
Does not sound favorable, does it?
That is the same effect the name of the NFL’s Washington Football Club has on most First Nation/Native Americans; Redskin is not a kind word it is very detrimental and demeaning.
Being part Native American, our family rooted for the Washington Football Club against the Dallas Cowboys. We always wanted the Indians to beat the Cowboys. In the 1970′s Americans would see these two teams battle on Thanksgiving Day.
Americans did not know the negative connotation of the name Redskin. Americans can no longer claim ignorance because of the last ten years of publicity. THE NAME NEEDS TO BE REMOVED FROM THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL CLUB.
For those that do not know where the R-word came from there are two versions, the George Preston Marshall version, and the American historical version. Mr. Marshall was granted the rights to own the Boston Football Club in 1930, The Boston Football Braves played in the Boston Braves baseball field until 1932.
Marshall moved the club to Fenway Park home of the Boston Red Sox and renamed the team the Boston Redskins. Marshall did not want the fans to confuse the baseball team with the football team and wanted to keep the Native American connotations thus REDSKINS.
The second version is more continuous, The American cowboy in the great wild west were paid to collect scalps from Native Americans bodies. Most American history books claim that Native Americans scalped cowboys first, question why would they do that without motives? Head wounds are very bloody and messy thus REDSKINS.
Either way, this name does not honor Native Americans/First Nation residents.
The citizens of the Washington D.C. area should demand this change.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist. Email at email@example.com
P.S. This is the 700th article by Gary Norris Gray on Black Athlete Sports Network. Special thanks to all that have made it possible.