Wednesday morning, a Native advocacy group calling themselves ‘Rising Hearts’ unveiled a social media campaign accompanied by a series of spoof websites announcing the Washington Redskins would be changing their name to the Washington Redhawks.
Among the spoof sites included mockeries of ESPN Sports, The Washington Post and Sports Illustrated. A fake Washington RedHawks twitter account was also created.
The sites appear nearly identical to the news sites aside from different urls.
Social media responded to the point where Dan Snyder and the Washington team issued a statement to address the false claim.
On the spoof ESPN site a disclaimer announced the parody as the introduction of the article announcement.
DISCLAIMER: This website is a parody and is not endorsed nor affiliated with ESPN. This website was created by Native advocates created to help us all imagine how easy and powerful changing the mascot could be. See our press release for more details.
The article outlines a decision of the NFL team including decision for the change and new logos and uniforms that embraced the original colors of the team.
“We wanted fans to be able to recognize the brand. We want people to know this still is your team,” stated a team spokesperson,” the article states.
The ESPN article also cited statistics as issued by the National Congress of American Indians as well as the embedded video “Proud to Be.”
The release issued by the Rising Hearts Coalition stated reasons for the expansive effort.
“After decades of team owner Dan Snyder refusing to change the name of the Washington football team, Native advocates took to the internet to do it for him. Today, social media exploded with an updated logo and mascot for DC’s football team: The WASHINGTON REDHAWKS.”
“We created this action to show the NFL and the Washington Football franchise how easy, popular and powerful changing the name could be,” said one of the organizers, Rebecca Nagle (Cherokee Nation) in the release.
“What we’re asking for changes only four letters. Just four letters! Certainly the harm that the mascot does to Native Americans outweighs the very, very minor changes the franchise would need to make.”
The organization did state they were sorry for any confusion people might feel learning the name change announcement was a hoax.
We are sorry for the disappointment and confusion many will feel learning that Snyder has not changed the name yet. The purpose of this action is to show that the need for a new mascot is real and immediate. This online campaign is one of many direct and confrontational tactics that we as Native people have to use to demand our human dignity.
The activists behind the online action, Rising Hearts, are hosting an in-person press conference in Washington DC this Thursday December 14th at 2PM at the George Preston Marshall Monument in front of RFK Stadium.
Supporters can join also join a rally at FedEx Field this Sunday.
Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter