Actor Chief Dan George said it best when describing the post-civil war, new model of Indian survival in the classic movie, The Outlaw Josey Wales, “We shall endeavor to persevere.” Yesterday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office decided that the term Redskins when applied to sport team names is disparaging to Natives. It is indeed a good day to live.
However, I am not about to start singing “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead” just yet. We still have to survive the tsunami of backlash that is sure to come.
Most sports fans will blame Obama or the Democrats (Democan’ts) for their PC attitude—never mind that it’s an attitude that was shared by many Republicans, as demonstrated by the statements of support for the name change that continue to pour in. After more than half a century of Natives raising the subject of this offensive name before public officials in Washington, this issue finally became the latest writing on the wall of Congress. We have allies on both sides of the aisle in our coalition.
Pro-Football Inc. and Snyder are predicted to appeal the decision to a higher court or have the decision reviewed by a court. I believe it will be a waste of time. If only the courts always recognized our push to remain culturally and politically distinct from the rest of the country. Let me amend that: Some of us work to remain distinct. Others have joined, blessed, blew smoke and banged drums in solidarity with Snyder for the cost of a winter jacket, and 50-yard line tickets. But it is summer now and the sun does shine on those who wait. Who persevere.
Bravo to the 5 young ones who picked up the war staff in the Blackhorse petition and continued the charge when it seemed we were beaten.
Today, life is good, worth living and worth sending gratitude to all who helped and to those who helped but are now gone and to the Creator for teaching us patience, humility and the power of righteousness.
Back to the game. The fat lady did not sing yet and it is down to the last desperate quarter. The beast is cornered and thusly at its most dangerous and mean. As for the sporty Americans who take umbrage, the bar room and locker room arguments (we call it dialogue) and cat calls are just beginning. So, get used to that.
Our chore of winning hearts and minds is likewise just beginning. This is not about a name, it is about squashing a way of life, an attitude and belief system that rose its ugly head the day we witnessed our first massacre and subsequent man hunt to kill and scalp the redskins of this continents first peoples for bounty in English pounds.
Ray Cook is ICTMN's opinions editor.