Tuesday, June 30, 2015

United Church of Christ General Synod Approves Resolution Supporting Boycott of the Washington Redskins // Renews Boycott of Cleveland Indians Over "Chief Wahoo" Mascot

The United Church of Christ is currently going through its General Synod, a gathering of UCC leaders and members from all over the denomination. Part of General Synod -- the more interesting aspect to me these days -- is the process of voting on resolutions supporting or opposing this cause or another.

The UCC's General Synod passed a resolution yesterday encouraging a denomination-wide boycott of the Washington Redskins football games and merchandise until the team finally dropped its "Redskins" name and mascot:
The Monday resolution takes the boycott national. It called on the NFL franchise to “change its team name and to refrain from the use of any images, mascots, or behaviors that are harmful or demeaning to Native American cultures or peoples,” said the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, a national officer of the UCC, in a press release.

“The use of the term ‘Redskins’ for the team mascot and nickname of the Washington football team is offensive and causes direct harmful effects to the public health and well-being of the Native American population,” she said.

In a joint statement about the resolution, Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and Jackie Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, representing more than 80 Native American tribes, said they were “honored” by the “effort to help relegate this offensive and outdated slur to the dustbin of history.”
The UCC's General Synod also passed a resolution, renewing it's long-standing condemnation of Native American imagery for sports teams, particularly the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo mascot.

There has been mixed reaction to the 1991 resolution against Chief Wahoo from within the denomination. But UCC member Toni Buffalo, a Lakota from Eagle Butte, SD, defended the resolution, stating:
"I am not a Redskin. I am not a mascot. That is not an honor. Do not try to honor me that way."
I originally wrote about the proposed resolution to boycott the Washington Redskins here.

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