Tag Archives: Redskins

California Bans Use Of Offensive ‘R’ Word, Drawing Praise From Native Americans



Officials from California high schools expressed disappointment Monday as prepared to do away with a mascot they see as historic and beloved – the Redskins – after the nickname was banned by a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

California’s new law speaks to the larger national conversation surrounding the Washington Redskins and the mounting pressure on the NFL football team to change its name.

The ban will go into effect on Jan 1, 2017 to give schools in Merced, Calaveras, Tulare and Madera counties an adequate amount of time to phase out all the materials that bear the name and mascot.

The advocacy groups lauded California for “standing on the right side of history by bringing an end to the use of the demeaning and damaging R-word slur in the state’s schools”.

The wording of this opens the door for anyone at any time now and in the future to use this act to force a school to change its school name and mascot.

In California, proponents of the “Redskins” school mascot ban have cited a peer-reviewed study by researchers at the University of Arizona, Stanford University and the University of Michigan that found American Indian youth who were exposed to Native American mascots and stereotypical imagery reported a diminished sense of what they could achieve academically.

The four schools affected adopted their mascot years ago.

“I would say somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000, ‘ Weatherby said”.

A few superintendents said would abide by the law, even though they felt the governor should let local governments deal with the issue.

The schools have expressed the importance of having the community and students involved in picking a new mascot. I wanted to graduate as a redskin.

There was, also, an additional bill, that Governor Brown didn’t sign, that would have made similar demands on schools that use any manner of Confederate States of America names or imagery. Schools are not required to remove existing signs or fixtures by a certain date.

But how do native tribes in Calaveras County feels about the mascot change?

The law, he said, creates “an opportunity for Native youth to obtain an education free from mockery”.


Redskins Trademark Ordered Cancelled By Federal Judge


Erik Brady / USA TODAY Sports

The Washington NFL team lost in court Wednesday when a federal judge ordered the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to schedule cancellation of six federal trademark registrations owned by the club, ruling that the team’s name — “Redskins” — was disparaging to a significant composite of Native Americans when the marks were originally granted.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee emphasized that the team remains free to use the name as it chooses and that the ruling means only that the team loses the specific legal protections of its federal registrations, which remain in effect until all potential appeals in the case are heard.

Lee’s ruling affirms the findings of the patent office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which last year ruled in favor of Amanda Blackhorse and four other Native Americans who sought cancellation of the registrations. The team had sued in district court to overturn that ruling.

The team is likely to appeal Wednesday’s decision to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Today’s ruling by the District Court resoundingly affirmed the Trademark Office’s decision that the team’s trademark registrations should never have been issued,” attorney Jesse Witten said in a statement. He represents Blackhorse and the other petitioners in the case.

Lee rejected the team’s contention that trademark cancellation infringes on its free-speech rights. “The federal trademark program is government speech and is therefore exempt from First Amendment scrutiny,” Lee wrote in the conclusion of his 70-page ruling.

The team argued in a hearing before Lee last month in Alexandria, Va., that it could not be proved that a significant composite of Native Americans found the term “redskins” disparaging during the years that the federal registrations were granted. But Lee ruled that “the evidence before the Court supports the legal conclusion that between 1967 and 1990, the Redskins Marks consisted of matter that ‘may disparage’ a substantial composite of Native Americans.”

Those legal terms — “significant composite” and “may disparage” — come from the Lanham Act, which bars federal trademark registration for marks that may disparage or bring into disrepute particular groups or individuals. The original trademark case against the team using the Lanham Act came in 1992, when Suzan Harjo led a group of Native Americans who challenged the federal registrations.

The patent office’s appeals board ruled in favor of Harjo and her fellow petitioners in 1999, but the team appealed in federal court and won in 2003 when the court ruled the petitioners had waited too long after turning 18 years old to file their complaint. The Blackhorse case, which began in 2006, used younger petitioners. Lee ruled against the team’s argument that the Blackhorse petitioners waited too long not only by citing their ages, but “because of the public interest at stake.”

Even if the team were to lose all appeals, it could continue to enforce its trademarks in state courts and under common law. But team attorney Robert Raskopf argued in last month’s hearing before Lee that losing the circled R that comes with federal trademark registrations would be a significant blow to the team, which has invested money and goodwill in its marks for decades.

The decision also figures to be a loss for the team in terms of public relations. The fight against the team name, which goes back decades, was re-energized last year when the patent office’s appeals board issued its ruling.

Source: http://usat.ly/1Mf5i

Lancaster Drops ‘Redskins’ Name And Mascot After Rivals Boycott Games

Two attendees turn their backs to the board as board members speak during the Lancaster School Board vote that retired the Redskins mascot and nickname in Lancaster, N.Y., Monday, March 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jen Fuller)

Two attendees turn their backs to the board as board members speak during the Lancaster School Board vote that retired the Redskins mascot and nickname in Lancaster, N.Y., Monday, March 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Jen Fuller)

By Red Power Media Staff

The day of the “Redskins” is over in Lancaster as the controversial nickname and mascot was voted out Monday night by the school board. The vote was 7 to 0.

The unanimous vote was shouted down by Redskins supporters, many of whom wore past and present school uniforms and jackets with the Redskins logo.

In the end, the school board could not deny that the word is a slur to Native Americans.

Other schools had begun to boycott athletic events with Lancaster. The boycotts and other pressure from the community hastened the school boards decision.

The vote, put a formal end to a nearly 70-year tradition that was beloved by many in the community and also detested by Native Americans and others who viewed it as an offensive racial slur.


Local Native American activists that helped lead the push are celebrating the decision.

“Our community came together. We took a position and I think we were effective,” Hoyendahonh of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation said.

But many others believe the board and the superintendent succumbed to outside pressure and should’ve at the very least allowed the public to vote.

Some are vowing to make them pay at the voting booths.

The people of this community will respect what has happened tonight and understand right from wrong and the need to adapt to the times and change,” Board President Kenneth Graber said.


“We can take this as a positive learning experience for all of our students as it gives them a unique opportunity to create a new legacy and traditions for future generations,” board member Kimberly Nowak said.

The district is forming a committee to explore options for a new name.

CaptureThe Oneida Nation and members of the National Congress of American Indians are congratulating the Lancaster board on its decision, saying, “The people entrusted to teach our children stood up for what is right. They listened to all sides of the debate and arrived at a fair decision that demonstrates tolerance and respect, and embodies the values that we as Americans hold dear.”

Joel Barkin, a spokesman for the Oneida Nation, made this statement to the AP:

“Not only did the school make a powerful statement to the Native American community that they no longer wanted to use a term that is a dictionary-defined slur against native people, but it made a statement to the kids in that school to be self-aware and have empathy and think about how the actions that you are engaging in affect other people outside of yourself.”

Numerous high schools and universities throughout the country have dropped the term Redskins in recent years and several Native American groups have begun a “Change the Mascot” campaign to press the National Football League to remove it from the Washington, D.C., franchise.



Washington ‘Redskins’ fan flips off Navajo child during confrontational protest (Photo)

Native Americans and others protest the name and logo of Washington’s football team before Sunday’s game. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

By Black Powder | Red Power Media 

Last Sunday, more than 100 activists chanted, marched and waved signs on church property about one-third of a mile east of FedEx Field.  The demonstrators gathered in a grassy lot on the south side of Arena Drive, a road that thousands of tailgaters used to walk to the stadium for the game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Although the gathering drew less than half the crowd organizers had hoped for, it represented the largest protest of the Washington Redskins name that took place at a home game.

Police had surrounded the area with yellow caution tape, stationing officers on each side. Although confrontations never turned physical, they were frequently heated and profane.

Demonstrators held signs of protest — “NO HONOR IN RACISM,” “CHANGE THE NAME” — and displayed burgundy-and-gold T-shirts adorned with dissent: “RETHINK,” “REPLACE,” “RENAME.”

“We are people,” the crowd chanted. “Not your mascots.”

Most fans heading for the game ignored them. Others shouted back.

“It’s nothing personal,” one fan yelled. “You can’t change history,” said another.

A man with a sticker of an Indian head logo on his cheek said he didn’t understand: “They should be honored.”

“I’m so sorry that your feelings are hurt,” a woman shouted, while smiling. “We all have things to boohoo about.”

Tusweca Mendoza, an 8-year-old protester who lives in Arlington, Va., dared a fan to call him a Redskin. He didn’t.


The event was organized by a coalition of groups that have spoken out against the use of Native American imagery in sports. Organizations like the National Congress of American Indians, The National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, and Change the Mascot have argued that such mascots dehumanize Native Americans, reducing them to racist stereotypes rather than real people facing real challenges. They say such imagery makes it harder for indigenous people to advocate for themselves, and also has direct effects on the psychological health of Native youth.

Activists have been pushing back against the Washington team name for years now, and some progress seems to have been made in the 2014 season. The largest protest in more than two decades was held in Minnesota in November, before Washington fell to the Minnesota Vikings in one of its 12 losses this year.

Public support for the use of the name has also been diminishing among a number oflarge news outlets, including The Huffington Post, as well as among several TV commentators. In June, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademarks, claiming the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” An appeal is still pending.

Team owner Daniel Snyder has remained insistent that the name isn’t going anywhere. Earlier this year, he created a foundation intended to help indigenous communities, claiming that his team’s mascot wasn’t one of the “genuine” issues facing American Indians. As part of this broader argument, supporters of the team often point to Native Americans who say they aren’t bothered by the name as proof that the controversy is overblown.

But opponents of the team name argue that a lack of consensus among the nation’s 566 federally recognized tribes and millions of Native Americans does nothing to invalidate the objection. For many, the primary problem with organizations like Snyder’s is that they are built on Native stereotypes and mischaracterizations that contribute to a broader environment of disrespect for indigenous people. It’s this damaging attitude that allows many on the other side of the debate to deny Native Americans the simple request to be seen as equals in the eyes of their non-Native peers.

Opponents of the name have been working to take their fight deep into the postseason, even if the team itself has long been out of playoff contention. As Think Progress points out, the National Congress of American Indians and the Change The Mascot campaign have launched a fundraiser to create a new ad against the name. So far, they’ve raised more than $20,000, which will help pay for a digital campaign.

In anticipation of the Super Bowl earlier this year, the NCAI released a powerful 2-minute video called “Proud to Be” that spoke to the legacy of Native Americans and their communities today.

The groups plan to have a new video ready for the upcoming Super Bowl in 2015.