Opinion | Sports

Minnesota Tribes: United in campaign against racist NFL mascot

A young protester takes part in major rally against the Washington NFL team's racist nickname in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo from Peggy Flanagan / Twitter

Leaders of eight Minnesota tribes explain why they oppose the Washington NFL team's racist mascot:
We will not shy away from the fact that anti-Indian sentiment continues to exist. Racism and misunderstanding of Indians and Indian tribes are roadblocks in our efforts to improve our communities and the lives of our children. One glaring example of anti-Indian sentiment is the use of caricature Indian images or sports team names.

The tribes in Minnesota stand together and oppose the use of offensive Indian images and names. One of the more disgusting and disrespectful uses is the name of the Washington NFL franchise. Its retirement is long overdue.

We are confident that most Native Americans are not honored by these caricatures. They are demeaning, and they reduce the rich and wonderful complexity of who we are to mere cartoons. The negative impact on the self-image of our children is real.

If the owners of professional sports teams want to honor Native people, they should understand and respect tribal sovereignty — understand and support tribal self-governance and self-determination. They should join our tribal governments in removing the roadblocks that debilitate efforts to improve the lives of the people they say they honor.

Get the Story:
Melanie Benjamin, Norman Deschampe, Karen Diver, Kevin Leecy, Denny Prescott, Darrell Seki Sr., Charlie Vig and Erma Vizenor: Minnesota's tribes are united: Change that offensive NFL team's name (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 11/1)

Another Opinion:
Native American protest should force a re-think of Washington team name (The Washington Post 11/1)

Related Stories:
Kevin Leecy: The truth about our history will set Americans free (11/3)
Erma Vizenor: Join tribes for protest at NFL game in Minnesota (10/28)

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