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Mascot protest marches, rallies lead up to Vikings-Redskins game

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Thursday's NFL match-up at the Metrodome has some people thinking about more than plays and points.

The St. Cloud Times reports that the American Indian Movement plans multiple events throughout the week to draw attention to arguments against the Washington Redskins nickname and mascot. The "Change the Mascot" protests will lead up to the game against the Vikings.

The national online news source IndianCountryToday carried a statement from AIM of Twin Cities and AIM Patrol of Minneapolis condemning the use of the name.

Franchise owner Dan Snyder has said that the team's name will not change. The name has been attacked as out of date, offensive and racist.

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, AIM plans its “Symposium on Racism in Sports and Media” at Coffman Union at the University of Minnesota. Panelists include former Vikings Joey Browner, AIM leader Clyde Bellecourt and Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum, who is is co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, presentations at Coffman Union are scheduled in connection with “Bittersweet Winds,” an exhibit that displays “the good, the bad and the ugly” of Native American imagery, according to Richie Plass, exhibit founder and member of Wisconsin's Menominee/Stockbridge-Munsee tribe.

Thursday afternoon, a rally will begin at the Ancient Traders Market on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. Olympic gold medal winner Billy Mills is expected. The group plans to march to the Metrodome where the rally will continue. An event Facebook page for AIM (American Indian Movement) invites concerned citizens of all races to join the public protest.

The Star Tribune reported earlier that American Indian activists asked the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which operates the Metrodome, to bar the broadcast or display of the nickname in public places on game night. The stadium authority declined the request after its attorney advised it that blocking the use and display of the name and logo could infringe on freedom of speech.

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