The Washington Commanders of the NFL underwent a very public process of changing their name from the Redskins a few seasons ago, after much backlash from multiple sources that their old name was racist toward Native Americans.
Now, though, one Native American group has demanded that the NFL team bring back the Redskins name, after they got “overwhelming” support from members.
A petition from the Native American Guardians Association that seeks to “put an end to cancel culture and #ReclaimTheName ‘Redskins’” almost has 100,000 signatures. The upcoming NFL season is about one month away.
Billy Dieckman, an adviser to the NAGA who is also a member of the Kiowa Tribe, appeared on the Tuesday program of “Fox & Friends First” and said:
“The deep, rich history behind the name, the myth that it means bloody scalps or something derogatory is what we’re trying to dispel. It’s a status symbol for elite warriors.”
NAGA sent leadership of the Commanders a letter last week “formally requesting the team revitalize its relationship with the American Indian community and rightfully change their name back to ‘the Redskins.’”
While the United States was experiencing a lot of racial unrest during the summer of 2020, the team’s now former owner, Daniel Snyder, decided to change his team’s name from the Redskins to the Washington Football Team temporarily. Then, in 2022, the name was changed to what it is now – the Washington Commanders.
At the time, Snyder said the change was made “in the spirit of inclusivity” and because the Redskins name had “increasingly become a distraction from our primary focus of football.”
But, Dieckman said this week:
“Our fight is to reinstate this because it was taken away without consulting us, without any of our approval. The imagery that you see is that of Chief Two Guns White Calf. That’s a real person.
“There’s a lot of times they say you need to get rid of your mascot. We don’t have a mascot. That’s a real person that was gifted to the Redskins by the NFL by the Blackfoot tribe as a forever gift. That’s one of the greatest warriors of all time.”
Dieckman added that there is “overwhelming” support from NAGA members about the petition, and that most people in the tribes believe that the Redskins name is symbolic and representative of their community.
As he added:
“Ninety percent of natives are in approval and see it as a proud symbol. The ones who know who Chief Two Guns White Calf is, it’s even higher in those areas. …
“Our voice has not been heard, and that’s what NAGA is designed for. To fight that and to correct some of what’s been eradicated.”
The Commanders haven’t provided a response to Dieckman’s response or to NAGA’s letter at this point in time, and they probably won’t do so. In actuality, it’s likely a longshot that the team would ever change its name back to the Redskins, as it would certainly bring plenty of criticism from cancel culture.