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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

HS Football Team On America's Largest Native American Reservation is Named "The Redskins"

Red Mesa (AZ) High School, which sits on the nation’s largest Native American reservation, is proud of its football team, named "The Redskins." The name was adopted by the school when one of its earliest students, Raymond Oldman, proposed it because he was a fan of the Washington Redskins.

A Washington Post reporter attended a recent game and found the team and its supporters do not believe the name is an ethic slur:
The scene at this tiny, remote high school was as boisterous as it was remarkable: Nearly everyone on the field and in the bleachers belongs to the Navajo Nation. Most of the people in Red Mesa not only reject claims that their team’s nickname is a slur, they have emerged as a potent symbol in the heated debate over the name of the more widely known Redskins — Washington’s NFL team. More than half the school’s 220 students eagerly accepted free tickets from the team for an Oct. 12 game near Phoenix, where they confronted Native American protesters who were there to condemn Washington’s moniker.
The use of the name Redskins name by the Washington D.C. NFL team has become a cause célèbre for some Native American activists, lawmakers, civil rights leaders and sports commentators who have denounced “Redskins” as deeply offensive (a position rejected by team owner Daniel Snyder). One of the country’s most prominent anti-Redskins activists, Amanda Blackhorse, is the lead plaintiff in a legal case that threatens the Washington Redskins’ trademark protection. Blackhorse is a Navajo and lives about an hour’s drive from Red Mesa.
There were 62 high schools in 22 states using the Redskins moniker last year, according to a project published by the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. In addition to Red Mesa, two others are majority Native American: Wellpinit High School in Washington state and Kingston High School in Oklahoma.

Outgoing Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly generated a firestorm at the Washington-Arizona game by sitting next to Redskin's owner Snyder and wearing a Redskins hat.
“Changing a mascot’s name is not going to produce one job on the Navajo Nation,” said Deswood Tome, Shelly’s special adviser, noting that the unemployment rate on the country’s largest Indian reservation is 60 percent.

Red Mesa students paid little attention to the politics. They loved being at the NFL game, posing with former Redskins players in photos that turned up on pro-Redskins Facebook pages, and getting gift cards for popcorn and pizza.
“I just kept my head down,” said Kelvin Yazzie, a Red Mesa senior lineman who lives with his grandparents. “[The protesters] were calling me a sellout.”
His grandfather, Steven Benally, 55, a candidate for the Navajo Nation Tribal Council, pointed to the jug of water in their kitchen. Because his wife is a gifted-and-talented teacher at Red Mesa, they get to live on campus, but they can’t drink the tap water. It has been contaminated by high levels of arsenic and uranium, and everyone at the school and in nearby homes must drink bottled water. 

According to the Washington Post report, the majority of people in the Navajo Nation believe the name Redskins is a non-issue. Unlike the activists in the "pc police," they are worried about clean water and jobs for their communities.


Jeff Dunetz said...

If Josh was being paid for each time he said `the president', he'd have enough to retire.

Jeff Dunetz said...

this is like people of color being able to call each other that word I dare not say!! :-)

Jeff Dunetz said...

What a porker....waste and abuse of resources LA citizens need. Oxygen and common-sense,in the Senate, that is...buh bye Mary.

Jeff Dunetz said...

I thought the exact same thing.