April 11, 2014

Navajo Nation condemns "Redskins" name

Council opposes Redskins' nameThe Navajo Nation Council formally has opposed the use of the Washington Redskins name.

The council's committee of the whole voted 9-2 Thursday on the measure sponsored by lawmaker Joshua Lavar Butler. He says the word can have negative psychological effects on American Indians.

The statement of opposition also applies to what Butler says are disparaging references to American Indians in other professional sports franchises.

It does not apply to college or high school mascots. The mascot for at least one high school on the Navajo Nation is the Redskins.
Navajo Nation Officially Joins Fight Against Redskins Mascot

By Gale Courey ToensingButler’s proposal was brought before the council in March, but it was tabled, because there were obstacles, including a generational challenge, he said. “The older generation may be desensitized to the negative impact of the racial slur. We did a lot of educating and answering their questions and so forth. It was a grassroots effort that helped us, as well--young people voicing their concerns to the council,” Butler said.

A lot of support came from young urban Navajo citizens living off the reservation, Butler said. “These are young Navajos working, going to school, being professionals--I received a lot of praise from that sector. They really applauded this effort and are very happy,” he said.

The Navajo Nation is believed to be the first Original Nation to formally adopt a resolution opposing the offensive name. Butler said his staff had researched the issue, working with the Nation’s Washington office and could find no tribal council acting on it, only national organizations or individual advocates. He recommends that other nations follow the Navajo council model. “I’ve offered the Navajo Nation’s approved resolution as a template to present before their councils and get a stamp of approval from their governments as well,” Butler said.
Navajo lawmakers approve bill opposing offensive sports names

Thursday's legislation marks the first time Navajo Nation officials have weighed in on the debate

By Noel Lyn Smith
Before the bill's passage, committee members approved an amendment to remove any references the bill made to the Navajo Code Talkers Association.

The code talkers association was included in the bill after four members appeared at an NFL game between Washington and San Francisco in November. Some members have also met with executives from the Washington team.

Their appearance made some individuals in Indian Country think the Navajo Nation supports the use of such terms, Butler said in a previous interview.

After Speaker Pro Tem LoRenzo Bates certifies the bill, copies will be submitted to the National Congress of American Indians and to the Washington Redskins headquarters.
Navajo Nation wants Washington Redskins name change

By Chris McKeeNew Mexico is now a player in the battle over changing the name of the Washington Redskins.

The Navajo Nation is the latest tribe to try to tackle the mascot controversy.

It’s a divisive topic in sports fandom. You either love the Washington Redskins name or hate it.

“It is offensive, very offensive,” said Chief George Tiger of the Muskogee Creek Nation.

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