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Should sports teams use Indian names? (Debate).

What's in a name? Just ask American Indians offended by teams that call themselves Braves, Chieftains, and Redskins. The use of Indian names for mascots and logos, they say, contributes to racial stereotypes (prejudicial images).

Last month, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments urged the Washington Redskins, a professional football team, to change their name.

The Council described the team's logo, a profile of an American Indian, as a "racist insult." They say the term redskins comes from bounty hunters who killed Indians and turned in their bloody scalps and red skins for profit.

Despite the Council's request, Karl Swanson, the Redskins' senior vice president, said that the team has "no plans to change the name."

What do you think? Should teams like the Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves, and Cleveland Indians change their names?


Change Indian Names

Names that draw on stereotypes of American Indians as uncivilized and savage are hurtful and cruel. People should be able to feel proud of their heritage. Instead, many American Indians feel humiliated when they see Atlanta Braves fans, for example, doing a tomahawk chop.

Indians take justifiable pride in the nobility, resourcefulness, and bravery of their ancestors. Those ancestors suffered at the hands of U.S. soldiers and settlers who robbed them of much of their land.

Teams that use derogatory (insulting) Indian names call further attention to that injustice and to the distorted images of the first Americans.


Don't Change Indian Names

Few people know that the Washington Redskins actually chose their name out of respect for Indian culture and traditions. When the team named, its coach was Lone Star Dietz, who was part Sioux.

The term redskin isn't necessarily offensive. It also comes from the Indian custom of covering one's body with red clay before battle.

While certain names may be offensive to some, individuals and teams have a right to use whatever names they like. After all, America is a free country, and the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of speech.

We should focus on the positive aspect of these names, and use them to lean more about an American heritage that we all share.
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Title Annotation:discrimination in a name?
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 11, 2002
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