Eunice Davidson: Removing Redskins Name Is Another Step Toward Erasing Native Americans From American Culture


We are very disappointed in the decision by the US Patent Office to cancel the trademark for the Washington Redskins, and we would be in shock if we had not just gone through this same deception in North Dakota with the Fighting Sioux issue.

We believe there is an agenda to eliminate all true Native American history and remove us from view. One can only guess as to why.  The intention, we believe, is to make us a forgotten people by using the divide and conquer tactic.  Just as the Fighting Sioux name was removed – not by Native Americans but a handful of non-natives who were able to use a small group of Native Americans as a pawns.

Make no mistake there is a national effort to remove us, which includes Native American tribes being denied use of their own heritage. For example, in the Oregon Public Schools System which has banned Native American themed nicknames and logos.

We can only say to those who are offended by our appearance: Don’t go to the Redskins games, don’t go to the Seminole games, don’t go to the Aztecs games, don’t go to the Blackhawk games, and don’t go to the Atlanta Braves games. We could go on and on about these honorable names and images, but if we are that offensive to you, don’t make us go into hiding.

Just close your eyes.

A CNN reporter stated that 30% of Native Americans are offended by the names and logos, but what about the 70% of us who support and take pride in those names and images? Don’t we count for anything?  Other independent surveys have found 80 to 90% support names and images. Sports Illustrated and Attenburg Election Survey among others have found this to be true. They don’t have a dog in the fight, so we put more stock in them.

But even 70 percent is a large number.

The US Patent Office for 80 years has recognized the Redskins as legitimate and not hostile, what has changed? They also found the UND Fighiting Sioux logo and nickname – also trademarked – to not to be not hostile. The Patent Office is supposed to follow the law, not political agendas. And this is political agenda.

Is it Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed with way too much power that has caused this? He has used that power to divide, not unite?

It is none of his business and we ask him to quit speaking over us Indians, as if he were a God. Harry Reid’s comments towards the Redskin name are nothing new from corrupt politicians. Politicians have always used a small handful of Native Americans to achieve their personal agenda and goals. If he really cared about us, he would talk to all Native Americans, not just those that fit his agenda.

Where is the true racism in that? Not with the Redskins nickname.

On a different topic but same agenda, in 1900 there was 54 million acres of Indian land. Now there are less than 11 million acres. Most non-Natives might think we sold it, but that’s not true! In treaties it says “Only enrolled members can live on these lands, but in 1904 Proclamation our reservations lands were illegally reduced size and then opened to white settlers in violation of treaty laws.

Why? For politicians’ benefit is why.

Taking our land is an effort to take the last of what we still. Taking the pride we have in our nicknames and logos is just another step towards that goal of not assimilation but genocide. Removing all references to something is the first step in removing it entirely.

This column was written by Eunice Davidson, Archie Fool Bear, Frank Black Cloud and LaVonne Alberts. All members of the Committee of Understanding and Respect established among North Dakota’s Sioux people to support and promote the Fighting Sioux nickname at the University of North Dakota.