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Museum of American Indian Debates Racial Stereotypes in Sports

Should the Redskins change their name?

By Chris Gordon
|  Friday, Feb 8, 2013  |  Updated 7:47 AM EDT
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A symposium at American Indian Museum discusses controversial team names and logos. News4's Chris Gordon reports.

Chris Gordon

A symposium at American Indian Museum discusses controversial team names and logos. News4's Chris Gordon reports.

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Redskins Name Change Discussed at Museum Event

A symposium at the Museum of the American Indian has people discussing the effects of stereotypes on what one Native American activist says is a group too small to defend themselves.
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Washington loves its football team, but some people don't like the name, calling it offensive. Some won’t even say it.

The situation is similar for the names and mascots of countless sports teams across the nation, and that’s the debate at the National Museum of the American Indian.

For 20 years, some American Indians have complained that the name “Redskins” is racist.

"The name is derogatory,” said Manley Begay, who sued the NFL. “The name is pejorative and does not serve a social justice purpose. In fact, it harms and demeans native people.”

On Thursday, the Museum of the American Indian held a symposium on racial stereotypes in American sports.

“There are posters, there are comparisons of other derogatory phrases and words used to describe minorities and non-natives in this country and particularly around sports, and no one would stand for that these days,” said Robert Holden of the National Congress of American Indians.

Washington Post columnist Mike Wise favors changing the name to Warriors, as in veterans, servicemen and servicewomen, and dropping the Indian connection.

“It would make the team more money,” he argued. “The memorabilia, all the old Redskins stuff would sell like hotcakes on eBay, and the new stuff, everybody wants new stuff.”

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