Native Americans are responding with skepticism to a Washington Post poll published Thursday which suggests a majority of the community are not bothered by the team name and mascot of football team the Washington Redskins.
The poll surveyed 504 Native Americans, 44 percent of whom said they were a member of a Native American tribe. The results suggest that 90 percent of Native Americans are not bothered by the term of "Redskins." A further 340 Native Americans were also surveyed on whether they thought the term was disrespectful: 73 percent said they did not.
The Washington Post article argued that the debate on the issue ignores the opinions of "actual stakeholders."
But "actual stakeholders" would also include the National Congress of American Indians, the Oneida Indian Nation, the United South and Eastern Tribes, and native people using #IAmNativeIWasNotAsked on Twitter, who all rapidly voiced their dissent at the poll’s results.
In particular, the NCAI, one of the largest organizations of Indigenous peoples in the U.S., has been highly vocal in their condemnation of the football team’s use of a racial slur as their name.
“The survey doesn’t recognize the psychological impacts these racist names and imagery have on American Indian and Alaska Natives,” Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director of the NCAI, said in an interview published by Fusion. “It is not respectful to who we are as Native people. This poll still doesn’t make it right.”
Some of these psychological impacts include young children being bullied in classrooms and being called “redskin.”
“When I’m playing football, basketball, or baseball, I usually beat them, and then they are mean to me. They call me a ‘Redskin,’ ‘Brown Head,’ ‘Black Head,’ and I really don’t like it,” said one sixth-grader, Dontay Cloud (Ho-Chunk), whose testimony appeared in a 2015 report from the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, as Fusion reported.
On Twitter, Native Americans voiced their criticisms using the hashtag #IAmNativeIWasNotAsked.
The Washington Redskins have vehemently rejected the idea of changing their name, with the team’s owner Dan Snyder saying they will never consider such a move.