The growing support for the Washington football team to change its name took a political turn this weekend as President Obama publicly stated for the first time that if he were the Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, he would “think seriously” about changing the team’s name.
And today, in Washington, D.C., the National Congress of American Indians, the largest and most representative national organization that serves the broad interests of tribal governments and communities saluted the president, adding that the 80-year history of the team’s name is not a good enough reason to not change it.
“President Obama’s remarks underscore the fact that has become increasingly obvious – the Washington franchise is on the wrong side of history,” said Jefferson Keel, President of the NCAI, in a statement responding to the President’s remarks.
“[That name] originated in the bounty paid for Native body parts and human flesh. It does not honor Native people in any way, and has no place in modern American society,” he said.
The NCAI’s 45-year effort to remove the name and caricatures associated with the Washington football team and other denigrating sports mascots is one of the organization’s clear goals.
“The ‘R’ word is a racial slur,” continued Keel, referring to the word Redskins. “[It’s] deeply offensive to Native Americans.”
“It’s 2013,” said Jacqueline Pata, NCAI Executive Director, in a statement to the press. “It’s time for leadership at the Washington team to heed the growing chorus – from high school students to Commissioner Goodell, and now the President of the United States – and close the chapter on this offensive name."