Redskins name: Fight to change is nothing new for local Native American leaders

WASHIINGTON (WJLA) - The push to change the name of Washington’s professional football team is led by the Native American tribe, Oneida Indian Nation – which made the primary effort that managed to make national headlines and even prompt a response from President Obama.

But eliminating the name “Redskins” is not a new fight for local Native American leaders.

“For us to be in the 21st century and still use a racial slur to identify the name of a professional football team...” says a disapproving Jay “Winter” Nightwolf.

Nightwolf is a member of the Cherokee Indian tribe, and along with executive producer Ramon Grimaldi, he hosts "American-Indian Truths" on Pacifica Radio’s WPFW FM.

For almost 20 years, they have been trying to bring attention to what they call the degrading, racist, and genocidal term of “Redskins” – a name they saw was first used 600 years ago in the newly settled America.

"it's two words: red, skin. The red skin that had to be shown to get money for slaughtering the Native American," they explain.

But Walt “Redhawk” Brown, Chief of Cheroenhaka Nottoway Tribe in Virginia, says he considers “Redskins” a term of honor. According to Brown, Native American leaders and President Obama should be focused on more important issues.

"Why would my president say that is offensive to him?" he asks. "What's offensive to me is that we have 11 state-recognized tribes, and he hasn't done one thing to get those tribes federally recognized."

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