June 20, 2014

Natives cheer Redskins trademark decision

Indian Country Celebrates Redskins Trademark Revocation; Snyder Resists Name Change

By Rob CapricciosoIndian country could not be happier.

“The U.S. Patent Office has now restated the obvious truth that Native Americans, civil rights leaders, athletes, religious groups, state legislative bodies, members of Congress and the president have all echoed: taxpayer resources cannot be used to help private companies profit off the promotion of dictionary defined racial slurs,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Executive Director Jackie Pata in a joint statement. “If the most basic sense of morality, decency and civility has not yet convinced the Washington team and the NFL to stop using this hateful slur, then hopefully today’s patent ruling will, if only because it imperils the ability of the team’s billionaire owner to keep profiting off the denigration and dehumanization of Native Americans.

“On behalf of the Oneida Indian Nation, the Change the Mascot campaign and NCAI, we would like to sincerely thank Suzan Shown Harjo and Amanda Blackhorse for their tireless efforts that helped lead to today’s historic milestone,” Halbritter and Pata added.

“It’s a good day for Indian country as we applaud the USPTO decision that the Redskins name is disparaging for our people, and the name Redskins used by Washington pro-football team must be cancelled,” said Tex Hall, chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes. “We appreciate effort of the 50 senators and everyone in America who sees this as wrong as well.”

Hall was referring to a letter recently sent by half of the Senate to Snyder urging him to change the name. President Barack Obama and congressional members from both sides of the aisle have made similar arguments.
Native Americans Celebrate USPTO’s Cancellation of Trademark for Redskins, a Derogatory SlurEradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, a group of Native parents and their allies from across the country celebrate today the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s cancellation of six trademarks for the Washington NFL franchise of the name “Redskins.” We fully support and thank them for recognizing the word as a derogatory slur and “disparaging to Native Americans.” We look forward to the team’s selection of a new mascot and name that unites, instead of divides the American people and proudly represents, in our nation’s capital, the respect we as American people strive to show to all American people of all ethnic backgrounds.

EONM would also like to recognize the work of Suzan Shown Harjo (Muscogee Creek), a long-time activist with the Morningstar Foundation, on this issue since the original filing of the first trademark case she brought against the Washington Redsk*ns in 1992. She persevered after her first successful suit was overturned on a procedural issue, and helped to organize a second suit filed by Amanda Blackhorse. After two decades, the USPTO has sided with the Native plaintiffs again, and we hope that the decision is upheld on appeal.

We would also like to recognize the plaintiffs in the lawsuit both past and present. Thank you for standing up for our people and bringing about the end of a racial slur being used to market a professional, national sports team.

We also call upon Nike, Adidas and other sports apparel manufacturers to stop selling products with the Redsk*ns logo on them and to reconsider their position on sales of other offensive Native mascots like the equally derogatory and grotesque caricature of Chief Wahoo used to market the Cleveland Indians Major League Baseball team.

We also call upon Fed Ex Field and sports announcers to stop using the name “Redsk*ns Field” for the stadium in light of the USPTO’s ruling.
Tribes rejoice

Saginaw Chippewa Tribe on Washington Redskins trademark ruling: 'A small, but measurable step'

By Andrew DodsonOfficials from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe say a recent ruling that stripped the Washington Redskins of six federal trademarks of the team name is a small, but measurable step in a very long argument.

This week, the Patent Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board wrote in a 2-1 decision that "these registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered."

"It's sad that in 2014, the commentary in the United States is dealing with something such as this," said Frank Cloutier, spokesman for the tribe. "It's simply inappropriate, it's racist and it's vulgar.

"I would hope in my lifetime that we see a name change."
Native American Chief blasts “Redskins” name

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief George Tiger says recent ruling isn’t enough

By Brittany Harlow
The chief of the one of the largest tribes in the United States sat down with KRMG Friday morning to discuss his belief that Native American mascots need to be removed from all non-Native American teams.

“I’ve gone out publicly saying that I am for changing the NFL football team’s name,” Chief Tiger said. “And I stand behind that. I feel very adamant about that. I think there’s no difference in what our African American communities consider racial when the “N” word is used.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office made headlines Wednesday when it ruled the Washington's Redskins should be stripped of trademark protection because the name is "disparaging of Native Americans."

Chief Tiger believes he is in agreement with tribal leaders across the country when he says it’s a very racist situation. Particularly troubling, Chief Tiger said, because it involves a national football team making money off of the term.
Non-Natives chime in

The trademark decision encouraged some new calls to change the name:

Redskins Stripped Of Trademarks

Jesse Ventura says it's time to change the name!Jesse Ventura has been vocal about the need to change the Washington Redskins name. Today, it turns out that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office agrees. The office stripped the NFL team of six federal trademarks because the name is disparaging to Native Americas.

NFL Hall of Famer and Fox NFL host Terry Bradshaw recently said on Larry King Now that the time has come to change the name. Larry King, who is a friend of Dan Snyder, agreed with Bradshaw:

"I’ve given it some thought, and if it’s offending people, if it’s really offending folks, absolutely. Did you see the article in the paper where the defensive back said, you know, it’s like the n-word?" said Bradshaw. "So Redskins, if it’s offensive, they can be Washington something else. It’s not gonna change a thing."
Howard Stern tells Dan Snyder to ‘have a heart’

By Dan SteinbergIt is now the openest of open seasons on the Redskins. Among those to weigh in Wednesday: Howard Stern.

“Well I’ve got to tell you: I don’t know who the owner of the Redskins is; I don’t follow it that closely,” Stern began, via Jimmy Traina. “But [expletive], this guy has dug his heels into the sand. The guy’s name is Dan Snyder? You know, it’s so foolish. It obviously is an offensive name.

“Why would he be so dead-set against change?” Stern went on. “I mean, the team is still going to be there. Even if it was like the Washington Reds, or something, I don’t know. I mean, what would it mean to him? It’s just like, give these American Indians a break. Their entire history has been obliterated. Their entire ancestry is gone. If it really bothers them that much that there’s a team, the Washington Redskins, [bleeping] change it. Have a heart.”

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