Big Fire Law and Policy Group
Advertise:   ads@blueearthmarketing.com   712.224.5420

Opinion
Harjo: White man's words trump Native views


"In traditional Native cultures, a person's word is sacred and history told by one generation to the next is trusted. Increasingly in modern American society, Native oral history accounts are disbelieved until and unless they can be substantiated by documents from non-Native sources. Some of these sources seem to have full-time jobs coming up with documents to undercut Native oral history, especially involving ongoing court cases.

One of the many 'Indian experts' on the federal payroll - a Smithsonian linguist - recently produced a sketchy paper to support his claim that Indians dreamed up the term 'redsk and that it wasn't insulting at the outset. He cited other white men from the 1800s who wrote that Indian men used that term to describe themselves.

Of course, the words of the Indian men were translated by white men, but the linguist's paper does not make that point; and there is no record of what Native-language words the Native men actually used. Another white man - a reporter for The Washington Post - made the linguist's paper a news story, without making any of these linguistic points."

Get the Story:
Suzan Shown Harjo: Paper beats rock and the spoken word (Indian Country Today 10/20)

William "Lone Star" Dietz Research:
Linda Waggoner: Reclaiming James One Star (Indian Country Today 2004)

Appeals Court Decision:
Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo (July 15, 2005)

Lower Court Decision:
Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo (September 30, 2003)

Patent and Trademark Office Ruling:
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (1999)

Relevant Links:
Redskins - http://www.redskins.com

Related Stories:
Linguist claims Indian orgin for 'redskins' term (10/03)
Harjo: Native nations stand up to 'Fighting Sioux' (10/03)
Schwarzenegger vetoes bill banning 'Redskins' (9/30)
Column: 'Redskins' players not exactly keen on name (09/19)
Research: 'Redskins' coach faked Indian heritage (08/30)
Column: How about the Washington Blackfaces? (08/19)
Opinion: It's time to bench the 'Redskins' mascot (08/08)
TV stations challenged on use of 'Redskins' name (7/22)
'Redskins' lawsuit revived by appeals court (7/18)
Opinion: It's time for racist mascots to go (07/14)
Seminole Tribe doesn't have problem with mascots (07/05)
Harjo: Ruling expected any day on use of R-word (06/17)
Harjo: NCAA should ban all 'Native' imagery (05/27)
Appeals court enters battle over 'Redskins' names (4/11)
Letter: Redskins owner should drop offensive name (11/11)
Column: It's time for 'Redskins' to go (09/22)
Opinion: Redskins should drop 'offensive' name (01/07)
Seneca Nation invited lawmakers to Redskins game (10/13)
Opinion: Fight against Redskins marks a waste of time (10/07)
NCAI critical of ruling on Redskins trademarks (10/3)
Judge allows team to keep Redskins names (10/2)
Court considers cancellation of Redskins team marks (07/24)
Report: Redskins merchandise worth $5 million (07/24)
Judge to hold hearing on Redskins mark case (7/21)
Opinion: Take Indians out of Redskins (12/02)
On Mascots: 'Redskins' is our n-word (09/16)
White Man: Indians proud of Redskins (5/30)
Opinion: Why Redskins must change (3/4)
Redskins get 'new' old look (2/7)
Redskins uniforms changed, for now (2/6)
Harjo: Seeking 'honor' in R-word (2/4)
Opinion: Redskins is for Indians (1/28)
Letters: More on Redskins name (1/18)
Redskins name OK if it offends (1/17)
As If: Replace Redskins logo (1/15)
Editorial: Redskins honors Native people (1/14)
Letters: Debate over Redskins name (1/14)
Redskins name called 'dehumanizing' (1/10)
Redskins told to pick new name (1/9)
Letter: 'Redskins' honors Native people (1/9)
Opinion: War over Redskins plate (1/7)
Redskins name wanted changed (11/19)