Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Whitesplaining the ‘Redskins’ Mascot Controversy to Native Americans

Larry O’Connor  |  Aug 15, 2023

A group called the Native Americans Guardians Association (NAGA, for short) has petitioned the new owners of the Washington Commanders to rename the NFL franchise after its original mascot, The Redskins.

NAGA has set up a petition to raise awareness for the issue and gain momentum for the team’s fans to re-claim their historic “Redskins” identity. As of this post’s publishing date, nearly 100K have affirmed the proposition.

A spokesman for the group, Billy “Two-Guns” Diekman, told Lawrence Jones that the removal of the team name in 2020 was offensive to him, a Native American, and to other members of his tribe.

“I’m a United States Marine, a two-time combat veteran, I am the epitome of a modern-day Redskin,” he said, “The name has deep, deep honor and it’s a status symbol of an elite warrior. It’s not a slur. It’s not a nickname. It’s something that we achieve to be.”

Indeed, according to a 2016 poll of Native Americans conducted by The Washington Post – the newspaper that led the effort to force the name change – 90% said that they were not offended by the moniker. Further, a subsequent poll from WaPo (because they really, really wanted to get the results to change) asked 500 Native Americans to pick from a list of words that described their feelings about the Redskins name. The word most picked was “proud.”

Ironically, the Post would not release the entire results of that poll, but said that the majority were not offended.

The Washington Post also asked Redskins fans in the DC area if they supported a name change. Over 70% said they wanted Redskins to stay the team mascot. How many times does The Washington Post have to ask the same question before they finally give up?

So, let’s recap.

NAGA, representing Native Americans, wants the Redskins name. A vast majority of Native Americans polled not only want the name but actually are proud of the name. And the majority of Washington football fans want the name to revert back to The Redskins.

So, the obvious question is: Who is offended by the name?


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