"It is, simply, inconsistent with the human right of people," said Rebecca Tsosie, the executive director of the Indian Legal Program at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.
Sunday's game is expected to attract protesters who question the NFL's tolerance for the mascots of the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins. The D.C. franchise is the most controversial and the subject of a petition filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the trademark.
The first 1,000-yard rusher in the NFL was a Native American. Beattie Feathers was a Chicago Bears rookie in 1934 when he hit the milestone. Others who have come through the league include Hall of Fame halfback Joe Guyon, a member of the Chippewa tribe, and Sonny Sixkiller, a University of Washington standout who played briefly with the Los Angeles Rams.
"At least they know we're out there," said Northrup, who lives on First Mesa on the Hopi Reservation.
"Am I bothered?" she said. "I think that 'bother' is not a strong enough word that fits how much it affects us. It doesn't make me angry, it doesn't make me sad, it makes me feel separate."
Francisco believes the NFL's Chiefs and Redskins are "false representing" themselves.
"Walk around here, you don't see people dressed like that. Maybe the dancers, but they're interpreting dances from long, long ago," she said. "What the games are doing aren't interpreting dances, so why?"
"I don't know who they're interviewing. They need to continue listening to us," Francisco said. "Because just like football is going to stay here, we're going to stay here, too."
So the only argument offered for mascots is "better offended than invisible." I'd say the "nay" side wins this mini-debate.
Below: A real Indian (Sonny Sixkiller) and an Indian mascot.