Poll: Nine Of Ten Native Americans Do Not View Redskins Name As Offensive

350px-Washington_Redskins_logo.svgWe have previously discussed the controversy over the Redskins name.  I have previously written about my disagreement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decision to rescind federal trademark protections for the Redskins as a racially disparaging name as well as the underlying law used to strip the team of its trademark protection. The law allows for a small administrative office to effectively dictate the outcome of a long simmering societal debate over the team name. More importantly, the standard for determining what names or words are disparaging remains dangerously undefined with striking contradictions as we have previously discussed in permitted and disallowed trademarks. One of the cases that I have discussed involves an Asian-American rock band called The Slants, which was also barred by the office. Now, an independent poll by the Washington Post has found that 9 out of 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name. This is consistent with past polls going back years that have found that the vast majority of Native Americans do not object and are not offended by the name. In particular, a 2004 poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that same overwhelming result. Indeed, the numbers have not changed despite years of advocacy by a small fraction of Native Americans.

The survey involved 504 people across every state and the District. Notably, over 7 in 10 said they did not feel the word “Redskin” was even disrespectful to Indians. What is equally notable is that 8 in 10 said they would not be offended if a non-native called them that name.

Despite the results, the lead plaintiff in the challenge to the trademark, Suzan Harjo, 70, said that the results are meaningless and “I just reject the results.” Jarjo is a member of the Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee tribes.

Two other advocates took a different spin and commended Native Americans for being “resilient and [not allowing] the NFL’s decades-long denigration of us to define our own self-image.” Yet, Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata insist that the fact that 90 percent of Native Americans do not view the name as offensive does not mean that it is not offensive.

Yet, other Native Americans are quoted in the article below as saying that they are proud of the name.

Two years ago, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s appeal board rule against the team on trademark protection and a district court has upheld the order. However, the Redskins have petitioned the Supreme Court to review the decision.

Source:  Washington Post

34 thoughts on “Poll: Nine Of Ten Native Americans Do Not View Redskins Name As Offensive”

  1. Randy, You might want to consider that you are merely part of the 10%, and being forceful, your brothers and sisters don’t want to get into a tiff w/ you. I took a class on different cultures when I was in college. An Indian activist[he said to call him “Indian”] was forthright in telling the class that this an issue w/ tribal leaders, not the rank and file.

    I respect your culture. I also respect the rights of a football team to keep their longstanding name. I would only call someone on any reservation a Redskin, if they played for the NFL team bearing that name.

  2. Shame on you Jonathan for not doing your due diligence to determine the validity of the respondents (56% of whom only identify as native american and are not enrolled citizens of a tribe). I can’t speak for other tribes, but my understanding of my tribal culture is that I shall not speak for other tribes and therefore would not choose to represent myself as the voice of all 5.2 million Native Americans. For that you need to ask all 5.2 million Native Americans.

    But for those of you who do not think the term Redskins is offensive, you are welcome at any time to put your judgement on the line and walk down of the middle of a reservation community and call anyone you see a Redskin…


    1. Randy – The article you linked to is a typical SJW article. Reminds me of the days of AIM, all emotion, no logic.

    1. Karen – I have not seen it. But then I was in Arizona 20 some years before I went to the Grand Canyon. Figured it was not going any place, so I could put it off. 😉

  3. Paul – I will always think of the Bob Marley song whenever I hear “Buffalo Soldiers.” 🙂

    Being assertive is entirely appropriate in your situation, and I’m sure you didn’t throw your plate of food on the floor. 🙂

    On another note, what is that name of that famous park in AZ were the rock formations look like ochre striated waves?

    War spite – thanks, and I hope you are right about our schools.

    Nick – there does seem to be some condescension in these long series of crisis. When people question the facts or interpretation of the argument, the warriors always go to their two arrows – you are either too ignorant to understand the crisis, or you are too bigoted/racist/black hearted to understand. It’s first and foremost divide rather than come together and solve.

    I think the entire Transgender Bathroom War should have focused on the one area where transgender have not worked out a solution years ago – schools. Transgender, or gender dysphoria, is classified as a mental illness in the DSM-5. It’s where your body image does not match your mental image. It has nothing to do with sexuality. It is similar to body dysphoria, such as when people feel they should be an amputee, or when people run away with plastic surgery because they just cannot get it “right.” As such, people who suffer from body dysphoria deserve the community’s compassion and support. There is currently fierce debate among psychiatrists about whether sex reassignment surgery is enabling a mental illness and has any positive outcome effect since the post surgery suicide rate is something like 20X the norm, or if it should be removed from the DSM entirely and merely be considered part of the normal range. However, from the school’s point of view, what in the world do they do if they do not have single bathrooms/showers, and there is a male who declares himself female, but has up to a 90% chance of reversing that decision at some point in the next few years, and has not had surgery yet or hormones? 70-90% of transgender children no longer feel that way by adulthood. So does the school have everyone shower together? What about the girls who have changed and showered separately from males all their lives, and who feel uncomfortable showering with a declared transgender who may, unexpectedly, actually become attracted to them? You have two groups of people feeling uncomfortable, and they will want to put everyone at ease. Great, how do you do that? Obviously the easiest is a supportive environment and individual shower/changing rooms. But what if they don’t have that, or the budget to build a new locker room? And if you put the male in with the other boys, he could get teased, or feel uncomfortable, too. That’s an issue we should be discussing with professionals, rather than enacting sudden, sweeping judgement that gives all adult males access, no questions asked, to all female areas.

    Oh, and since I’m off on the transgender tangent, let me also explain the difference between transgender and intersex, which get confused in the debate on the issue. Transgender is a mental illness whereas someone feels like they are born in the wrong body. This can be especially problematic, because if the person feels like they are supposed to be 5’2″, and they are 6’3, no amount of surgery can correct the disparity. Intersex refers to a people who have a range of physical anatomical differences, such as having both male and female parts. For instance they could look female from the outside, but their internal anatomy is entirely male. Or they could have mosaic (or chimera) syndrome, where some of their cells are XX and some are XY.

    The brain differences in transgender are often associated with sexuality, rather than gender dysphoria. There are differences in the brain between straight and gay men. When that difference shows up in a transgender person, he may be suffering from body dysphoria, AND just be gay. Again, like transgender, this group deserves our compassion, respect, and support, rather than clumsy, ill thought out legislation.


  4. I am with TIN above. Funny thing i ain’t stupid but grew up without cable sports net. I was over thirty before i learned the “washington redskins” wasn’t the state’s team…(ok maybe i was over 40). So of i took the poll i’d be dubious…and first ask if the respondent knows who or what the redskins are. Washington DC using it ….after the small pox blankets…isn’t the same as washington state. I don’t think in later it is offensive. Then again i am not an expert at all obviously! But now wondering how Red Lake Minnesota got its name????? And if the ppl on that reservation are offended? It is what it is i guess. And changing a team name isn’t the end all. The north stars to ? Lakers to timbers? Wild?

    Bread and circus “what difference at this point does it make?”

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