Most Native Americans aren't offended by 'Redskins' name, poll finds


Nine in 10 Native Americans are not offended by the professional football team name the Redskins, according to a Washington Post poll published Thursday.

The results run counter to a national push in recent years demanding the team be renamed, with people arguing "Redskins" is considered a racial derogatory term.

The Washington Post pointed out how their findings could impact the ongoing legal battle over over the team’s federal trademark registrations, as well as the future of the Redskins' stadium.

Why the disparity?

Jack Swanson, the Secretary of the Board at the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media based in Minneapolis, told BringMeTheNews he believes a lot of Native Americans are unaware of the history behind the name and how derogatory it is.

Secondly, he thinks Native Americans are resilient against racism, and don’t believe that the term "Redskins" represents them.

Could age be a factor?

Swanson pointed out that these types of polls often do not question young people, a group he says is "way more offended" by the term than older people who are more "desensitized to it."

The Washington Post surveyed 504 Native Americans by phone across every state. If you click on a detailed view of the results, you can break down the responses by demographics including age. However, the youngest age group is 18-39, and their answers do not appear significantly different than those of older generations'.

This poll by the Huffington Post however seemed to agree with Swanson's take:

Pushback in Minnesota

Despite the survey results, there are many Native Americans in the Midwest who strongly believe the term is offensive and should not be the name of a sports team.

Swanson recalled the protest at TCF Bank Stadium in November 2014 when the Vikings played the Washington Redskins. More than 5,000 people protested, and tribes from Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin were represented. Minneapolis and University of Minnesota officials even discussed trying to ban the use of the name prior to the game.

Minnesota officials have also come out against the Redskins moniker. Fifty U.S. Senators signed a letter to the NFL Commissioner in 2014 asking the NFL to endorse a name change.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken (of Minnesota) as well as presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are listed. Gov. Mark Dayton has also come out against the name.

Minnesota Representative Betty McCollum wrote this op-ed calling for a name change, with the title of the post, "We must stop the NFL from exporting racism."

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