Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Is "Redskins" Truly a Term of Respect towards American Indians?

I wrote earlier about the use of Native American caricatures as sports mascots and about the long-brewing controversy over the name of the Washington Redskins (here). The big thing that I often hear is that it's a sign of respect and honor when sports teams make mascots out of American Indians.

I read the following article on Indian Country earlier this evening and it shares a 1863 clipping from The Daily Republican out of Winona, MN and pretty bluntly demonstrates the historical truth behind the term "redskin":

This was posted on Facbook by Dallas Goldtooth. The 1863 clipping reads:
The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.
Dallas posted the following commentary next to the 1863 clipping:
It was only 5 generations ago that a white man could get money for one of my grandfather's scalps.

At the time... it was Redskin that was used to describe us.

So to those who fail to understand the significance of this whole mascot debate, think deeper about the word legacy. Is the legacy of racism, death, and plunder worth keeping?

And to my fellow native people who remain unmoved on the issue of mascots and racist imagery, remember that at one time we were hunted for our skin.

And yes there are other important issues out there that we have to handle. But stop being scared of multitasking. The threat that faces our people's future is a multifaceted beast, so it follows that our response(s) should be just as multifaceted.
Please read the article here. It's sadly interesting to read some of the responses he has received.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's several months since you posted this, but I feel pretty sure that this is an altered image. Winona State University has made available all the old issues of Winona newspapers online. The image does indeed to appear on page 2 in the upper left corner, but the lower paragraph about a dead Indian bounty is just nowhere to be seen: