by Jack Lakeman, DP Editor-In-Chief,
Tuesday, October 15th, 2013,
(WASHINGTON) —Determined once and for all to make sure that not a single soul knows that Native Americans ever existed and thrived in North America, Native American activist groups are renewing their newest of renewed efforts to get the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change their name and mascot.
The push to make sports teams not bear any name or mascot that in any way references, let alone dares laud the existence of a nearly extinct people who inhabited the Western Hemisphere centuries before the first Europeans stepped foot upon it is nothing new.
Peter Redtree, spokesman for the Native American advocacy group Original Inhabitants for Identity Eradication, said his five-member outfit has teamed up with Ray Halbritter, a representative of the Oneida Indian Nation in their efforts to get the Washington Redskins to change their team name, obviously never bothering to help pay for the enormous legal and production costs it would take to change the team’s name and logo on all their memorabilia.
“A long time ago our people roamed free through this land. We owned it all.” said Redtree to reporters outside the Redskin’s FedEx Stadium, Monday. “…Now we have to be content with doing the whole Jesse-Jackson-shakedown thing over totally inane causes and problems to justify our (organization’s) existence.”
Added Redtree, “It’s not good enough that sports teams try to honor (American Indians) and make sure non-natives even know there were people living here before the country was founded by having a name and logo that could in any way be deemed offensive. What we’re after is for all references to Native Americans be eradicated, so that years from now not a single person will know we ever existed! Is that clear?”
Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder has repeatedly said that he will not change the name of Washington’s football team.
Redtree and groups like the “Original Inhabitant Union for Self-Annihilation” (OIUSA) may seem overly sensitive, excessively combative, or desperate and pathetic as far as pursuing and rectifying social injustices go, but are not to be taken lightly.
The OIUSA and similar groups have been successful in the past in bullyi…persuading various sports teams around the country, particularly college and high school teams with Native American-themed/based names and whom of course had no way of financially defending themselves against the onslaught of Native American activists groups to change their names and logos.
In 1994 Native activists scored a major victory in for forcing Running Brook Elementary School in Saguache County, Colorado, to change their soccer team’s name from “Most Noble Reddish–Skinned People Who Once Graced The Earth” to simply “Team.” In 1996 they also scored another victory by convincing South Dakota’s Huron High School in Hand County to change their softball team’s name from “The Original Inhabitants of the United States Before It Was Founded” to –again– “Team”. And last year the American Indian Council on Symbolism Over Substance successfully threatened The Great Elnu Abenaki Tribe Middle School outside Bennington, Vermont with a multi-million-dollar lawsuit unless they changed their 58-year-old horridly offensive name to “The Middle School Outside Bennington.” The school board complied.
Added Redtree, Monday, “We’ve been successful in forcing seemingly harmless names of (teams) to be changed in the past, and we’re far from finished. After all, it’s far easier to concentrate on changing team names than it is addressing any real problems plaguing our communities, like joblessness, poverty, alcohol and drug abuse and depression.”
Phillip Heikenbecker, a professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies at the University of Rochester, and a proud member of New York’s Iroquois tribe (Heikenbecker is 1/256th Iroquois) said Redtree and the fraction of the nation’s nearly three million Native Americans that are solely obsessed with sports teams logos are on the right and righteous path, and will ultimately triumph.
Said Heikenbecker to Duh Progressive, Monday, “Sports teams are just the beginning. Once we get every sports team to change their names, we’ll move on to state and county names.”
Heikenbecker said that states, counties, towns, and any other areas in North America named after or referencing Native American tribes or words, presumably in honor of the people who once inhabited them, is an insult in itself. “…That’s why we’re going to stop these rude, insensitive uses of our names be used, for anything, anytime, anywhere. Never,” said Heikenbecker. “And if we end up further eroding the fact that Natives ever existed by taking away all references to us, so be it —we’d rather finish what Europeans started in our own way. No American Indian references anywhere, ever! We’re rendering them extinct.”
When asked by Duh Progressive if he and activist groups would target the thousands of little league teams and social clubs in the U.S. that bear Native American references in their names, Heikenbecker said, “No. They don’t have any money.”