Local response to Washington NFL team’s name change
MINOT, N.D. - Monday morning the Washington Redskins announced they will be retiring their name and logo after large corporate sponsors urged them to change the name.
After years of being under fire for what some say is a derogatory name for Native American people the Washington Redskins will change their name for the first time since 1937.
For people of Native American descent like Annette Mennem the word isn’t just a team name.
“You’d walk into a trading post and on the wall would be mink and then a price, beaver and then a price, redskin and then a price,” said Mennem.
Mennem, who serves as Minot State University’s Native American Center Director, said the history of the word is rooted in violence, death and tragedy for Native American people.
Turtle Mountain Tribal Chairman Jamie Azure says the name change is the response of Native Americans working together to correct an injustice.
“I really do believe that it is an estimate to our people that have evolved to the point where we say that we’re not going to hide who we are anymore and we’re going to be vocal about it and these are the issues that we have,” said Azure.
Mennem said above all she is glad to see the name go.
“There has to be changes. Because, people say we’ll it’s a part of our history. Just because it’s part of our history doesn’t mean it was good. No new name or mascot has been announced yet, but that should be coming in the next few weeks,” said Mennem.
Major companies like Walmart Amazon and Target have all removed the teams apparel until the name is changed.
Meanwhile, another pro sports team, the Atlanta Braves, announced they will *not change their name, but are reviewing the tradition of the Tomahawk Chop at home games.
Mark Fox, the chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, released the following statement to Your News Leader:
"The position of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation is the "Redskins" team name was inappropriate and derogatory. The Tribal Council previously passed a resolution calling for its use to be discontinued.
We are not new to the issue of problematic team names in North Dakota and understand the personal and emotional investment that some have in maintaining the status quo. This, however, is a new time in American history, and these movements to reconcile and heal wounds and divisions are welcome.
In our tradition, we always consider future generations in these matters. They will have their own challenges, but thanks to a concerted effort by Native people and their allies, changing the Washington Team name will not be one of them.
We commend those who have worked diligently to remove this distraction for decades in order for our true history and contemporary reality to be seen more clearly.
This is a small but significant step to address an ongoing history of racism and disparate treatment of Natives in America.”
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