Minnesota Lt. Governor Joins Native Americans to Protest Redskins ‘Racist’ Name

Redskins
AP Photo/Patric Schneider

A protest in Minnesota against what some are calling the Washington Redskins “racist” name, is going to get some support from a high-ranking state official.

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan (D-MN) is planning on joining a group of Native American demonstrators on Thursday night, as they protest the Washington Redskins nickname. The Redskins are in town, to take on the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football.

Flanagan, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, is the highest-ranking Native American woman to ever be elected to executive office in American history, the Hill reports.

Flanagan wrote an op-ed discussing the controversy surrounding the Redskins name, for the Huffington Post.

“In this role and in my role as a mom I will march with fellow Minnesotans who are making clear that our state does not tolerate a racist mascot.

“At best, the term was a reference to the reddish tone of Native peoples’ skin and was commonly used to dehumanize them. At worst, it refers to the bloody scalp of a Native American,” she wrote. “Colonies, trade companies and states would advertise paying settlers for scalps as proof that an Indigenous person had been killed. The scalps were sold for cash.”

Flanagan concluded, that in celebrating the Redskins name, “we celebrate the attempted erasure of Indian people.”

According to the Hill:

State Reps. Mary Kunesh-Podein (D) and Jamie Becker-Finn (D) — who are also Native Americans — U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), and tribal government leaders will join Flanagan.

McCollum called on the NFL to change the mascot during a speech on the U.S. House floor Wednesday.

‘No doubt about it, this is a negative word. This is a slur,” McCollum said. ‘So it’s remarkable that the NFL commissioners and owners continue to sanction the racist and shameful use of the term ‘redskin’ to describe Native Americans and then profit from it.’

Despite a strong push by activists and media, the Redskins remain resolute in their determination to preserve the team nickname. In 2013, Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder put to rest any notion that the name would be changed.

“We will never change the name of the team,” Snyder told USA Today.  “As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.”

“We’ll never change the name,” he added. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

In May of 2016, the Washington Post conducted a poll among Native Americans to determine how many felt the term Redskin was offensive. Ninety-percent of those polled said they did not find the name offensive.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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