RENO, NV - People across the country are calling on the Washington Redskins to change their name to something less offensive. The latest blow came from the U.S. Trademark office, which revoked their trademark Wednesday morning.
Senator Harry Reid has long protested the name, saying he won't attend any Redskins games. Then, following the announcement on Wednesday, he commented, the team name reminds natives of a long history of racism and bigotry.
Our local colonies agree with Reid. Saying whenever they hear the term 'redskins', it reminds them of the dark time in history when they were killed, had their land stolen, and their children taken away because they were different.
At the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health center on Thursday, Victoria Kane discussed how her family has a history of fighting offensive sports mascots.
"They petitioned the school and it went into a student vote and through the vote; they overrode the Stanford Alumni Association," said Kane.
Back in the '70s, her cousin and brother were instrumental in switching the school's mascot from the Stanford Indians to Stanford Cardinal. Now there's a new fight against the Washington Redskins.
"They called us redskins to steal our land; they called us redskins when they hauled our children off to boarding schools against our wishes. That is the association that our people have for that redskin symbol," said Kane.
The team maintains the name and its symbol are not offensive. In a recent letter, its president called 'redskins' a term of native American solidarity. Tribal members, however, liken it to dressing in blackface.
"Would it be acceptable to have your children called a redskin in our public schools, especially our younger children, and i would say, that's not acceptable," said Arlen Melendez, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Chairman.
Melendez understands the average American may not be offended by 'redskin' but he says natives are offended, and that is what matters.
"It's become a movement as you hear more people becoming educated as to what it actually is," said Melendez.
Aside from the name 'redskins,' natives want the Indian mascot removed. It's wearing a headdress that has a very important spiritual and cultural significance. They say this depiction takes meaning away from those values.