Suzan Shown Harjo will speak at the American Indian Community House Aug. 7, 2013.

Suzan Shown Harjo will speak at the American Indian Community House Aug. 7, 2013.

Revered Advocate Suzan Harjo Heads to NYC to Talk About Racist Mascots

Suzan Shown Harjo of the Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee nations will be at the American Indian Community House in New York City Aug. 7 to participate in a panel on the detriments of Native American mascots.

Harjo was one of six plaintiffs who first sued the Washington Redskins over the team name in 1992. She has been the president of the Native American rights organization Morning Star Institute since 1984.

Harjo, who is also a columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network, promulgates that the name ‘Redskins’ is nothing less than “racist.”

“Many native people cannot bear to say or hear the r-word, while some use it, or ‘skins’, in the same way that some African-American people use the n-word, but are not OK with those of other races using it,” wrote Harjo in a column for The Guardian. “As loathsome as it is for the franchise to impose this false identity, its name is even more vile, because it is rooted in the commodification of native skin and body parts as bounties and trophies.”

Rick Chavolla, education and development officer at AICH, lauds Harjo as a nationally renowned expert on Indian mascots and adds that she brings a “deeper and complex level” to the discussion. He added that the timing of Harjo's arrival couldn’t be more appropriate.

“There’s a huge discussion about the Washington Redskins [lately],” he said. “It’s a topic that’s been pretty much in the news this summer.”

The panel is a part of the American Indian Community House’s NYC Native American Week, which will end Aug. 12, 2013.

For more information, go to Aich.org.

Related story: Redskins Players Backpedal on Name Change

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