Native American students express frustration at Redskins name

Controversy surrounding the Redskins team name has sparked heated discussion on campus.

In her visit to the Fall for the Book festival, Native American author and activist Dr. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz discussed the controversial Redskins name and mascot.

According to Dunbar-Ortiz, the term “Redskins” is not just a racially derogatory term, but a term of genocide that resulted from violent practices against Native Americans during colonization and western expansion.

“It’s certainly offensive,” said Kerry Desjardins, co-president of Mason’s Native American and Indigenous Alliance. “I think that debate needs to stop because it’s not debatable – it’s offensive. And I think it’s dehumanizing.”

Dunbar-Ortiz spoke to students about Native American and indigenous struggles around the world, but specifically addressed the local issue of the Redskins name controversy by defining the historical context of the term.

“[Colonists] also flayed the bodies, they skinned the body, and this became a practice under Jackson’s forces and all the way to California throughout these wars of conquest and genocide, of flaying the body,” Dunbar-Ortiz said. “And when you take the skin off, right under the skin are blood vessels so the whole body is bleeding, so they called those, literally an Indian corpse, a ‘redskin.’”

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 12.18.49 PM

Redskins’ team owner Dan Snyder released an open letter in Oct. 2013 in response to growing national concern about the name.

“The name was never a label,” Snyder wrote. “It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.”

Though many fans share this perspective, some Native American students disagree.

“I say that Dan Snyder or Redskins fans can’t dictate to Native people what they should feel honors them,” Desjardins said.

Many students, such as NAIA member Sarah Thompson, are fans of the team and have been for a long time.

“In being Native, that kind of hits home for me because I’m like ‘well, wait a minute, I’m supporting this team, this is my team but it’s like undermining my ancestors and where I came from,’ so I struggle with that a lot,” Thompson said.

Although opinions about the team name vary among Native Americans, the prominence of Redskins paraphernalia can desensitize fans to the racially charged term.  Though Thompson has been a lifelong fan of the Redskins, she said that the racial connotations of the word went unknown to her until recently.

“There are Native people that are not offended by it, I know that for a fact,” Desjardins said. “I would argue that they’re not offended by it because they probably don’t know the history of it or have listened to it their entire lives and become desensitized to it.”

Members and alumni of the Native American Indigenous Alliance attend the 9th annual veterans' pow wow in 2011. Photo Courtesy of the Native American Indigenous Alliance.

Members and alumni of the Native American Indigenous Alliance attend the 9th annual veterans’ pow wow in 2011.
Photo Courtesy of the Native American Indigenous Alliance.

To some Native Americans, the protest against the Redskins name and mascot means more than just a fight against an offensive term. According to NAIA member Melanie Bartosh, long-term oppression against Natives has created a cycle of shame within the Native American community.

“I think the recent movement is more of a way for Native people to get back their identity which has been defined by other people for so long,” Bartosh said.

According to statistics released by Mason’s Institutional Research and Reporting center, of the 1,172 new students enrolled in 2014, only 5 identified as Native American. Although Mason’s Native American student population is small, NAIA has received support from other organizations and students on campus.

“Last fall, a lot of people reached out to us from campus, students from different classes, but also from other media outlets and things in the area asking us for our opinion on the issue,” Desjardins said. “I do feel like people are interested in what we have to say about that.”

Many fans of the name claim the name not only shows respect, but also means more than just a team name. According to the letter from Snyder, the Redskins name is symbolic of values that guided Native Americans themselves.

“Washington Redskins is more than a name we have called our football team for over eight decades,” Snyder wrote. “It’s a symbol for everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride and respect. The same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans.”.

The Redskins name controversy attracts national attention and emotions run high on both sides of the debate. In Feb. 2014, Washington state Sen. Maria Cantwell and Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole co-wrote a letter urging National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell to publicly express support for a name change.

“The National Football League can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur. It is clear that you haven’t heard the leading voices of this country – and not just Indian Country. Virtually every major civil rights organizations in America has spoken out in opposition to this name, including the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, the Rainbow Coalition and the League of United Latin American Citizens,” Cantwell and Cole said in their letter.

Though he has no ties to Native American culture, sophomore and lifelong Redskins fan Fletcher Phillips said he will always root for his team.

“Even if the name is changed, it’s still the same players, the same coaches, the same team, the same spirit of the game,” Phillips said. “I would still root for them if they change the name, it wouldn’t be any different. I’d just be yelling a different cheer, I guess.”

While both sides of the debate continue to gain national attention and criticism, discussing the controversy with peers can be difficult f

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 12.18.05 PM

or Native students.

“I’m very passionate about it but I hate talking about it, because it seems like whenever I do engage in a conversation about it, my feelings are not acknowledged so no matter how many times I say ‘it’s offensive,’ no matter how many times I say ‘it’s hurtful,’ there are people who are going to tell me it’s not,” Desjardins said.

Because of Mason’s proximity to D.C. there are many Redskins fans in the area, and advocating for a name change or simply discussing the issue can be an unpleasant experience for Native students.

“It kind of demeans me as a human being, like what I say or what I feel doesn’t matter,” Desjardins said.” So it’s very frustrating. I don’t know how some people, who have been advocating for this issue for decades, I don’t know how they do it. Because it’s a demeaning experience, just over and over again.”

According to Desjardins, though Native American students and their opinions on the Redskins controversy have been respected by others, Native American students can sometimes feel unnoticed.

“Because we don’t walk around in buckskin, people aren’t aware of our presence,” Desjardins said.

While it can be easy to neglect a small percentage of the student population, students could be more aware of their Native peers, she says.

“I think that people should have a general awareness that Native people still exist and that they very well could be sitting next to someone who’s Native American,” Desjardins said.

According to Thompson, education in Native culture could go a long way in raising awareness of a Native American presence on campus.

“I think it just goes back to education about Native culture, and the presence and knowing the history of [the name] and why it’s offensive. I think that’s a hard concept for some people to grasp,” Thompson said.

Despite the controversy, and whatever its outcome may be, Phillips says it’s important for fans to understand how the name can be seen as offensive.

“I’ll always root for the Skins, even if they don’t change the name but I feel like it’s important for fans to understand where the name is coming from,” Phillips said.

This story was originally published in the Sep. 29 issue of Fourth Estate.

Online featured image courtesy of Keith Allison. No changes were made. Creative Commons License. 

  • Mark E. Reynolds

    Why is the misinformation related to to origin of the term allowed to be spread so easily by activists. The origin has been researched back to its first recorded uses, and it was not created by the white settlers, nor was it ever used in reference to scalping trophies. It was a self descriptor. The one bit of historical proof that the activists have tried to pass off in defense of their origin story is a handbill that clearly uses Redskin as a synonym for Native American, and not as a reference to bounty trophies.

    • Change the Mascot

      “For instance, when on September 13, 1775, Tim Murphy, of Captain Parr’s Company, killed and scalped his twenty third redskin, it was a signal for a general celebration.” — South Mountain Sketches, By Henry W. Shoemaker

      “This scalp bounty made a nice addition to the otherwise slim pay of the Rangers; they pursued the chase of redskins for financial reasons more than to satisfy the blood lust.” — Extinct Pennsylvania Animals, By Henry W. Shoemaker

      “When the Americans withdrew, the redskins returned to their old devilry with pent-up vengeance.” — The American Indian: Past and Present, Edited by Roger L. Nichols, George R. Adams

      “Leslie Fiedler mentions ‘a bounty of ten pounds on Redskin scalps’ as the prime motive for taking the scalps.” — American Studies International, Volume 36

      “A white man’s gifts are christianized, while a red skin’s are more for the wilderness.” — Canadians are not Americans: Myths and Literary Traditions, By Katherine L. Morrison

      “What I wish to say is, that a red-skin’s scalping don’t justify a pale-face’s scalping.” — The Knickerbocker: Or, New York Monthly Magazine, Volume 18

      “Two years later, in 1853 the Yreka Herald, of Yreka, California, printed: ‘We hope that the Government will render such aid as will enable the citizens of the north to carry on a war of extermination until the last redskin of these tribes has been killed.” — Pilgrims in the Desert, By Le Hayes

      “These Indians engaged in the favorite pastime of the redskins, that of plundering the settlers along the way. The frontiersmen fell upon the Cherokees and slew them to a man. Scalping them, they carried the bloody trophies to the Virginia authorities and sold them. While we do not know the amount of bounty received for these redskin scalps, it must have been considerable for the Colonial government paid from 20 to 30 pounds for marauding Indian scalps.” — Kentucky’s Last Frontier, By Henry P. Scaif

      “You and I differ as essentially in our views of the proper use to be made of a redskin devil…I believe in making coyote feed of the whole brood.” — They Came to Valley, By Bill Gulick

      “Let’s go lynch that dirty redskin, men!” — Thoreau at Devil’s Perch, By B.B. Oak

      “I did my very best to try to give my children the freedom to go to school but this damn redskin devil man they call Rufus Austin damage the education of most of all these young boys growing up around this Village.” — Duncy, By Dave Hamilton

      “Our God commands us, Kill the heathen lice! We are the only race to civilize, and He demands we take this land for Him — forever free from slovenly Chinese, and every Redskin Devil in our way!” — The Decay of the Angel, By James E. Tochihara

      “Whiz came a bullet into his dirty red skin.” — Ticonderoga: or The Black Eagle. A romance of days not. By George Payne Rainsford James

      “Quick as thought he cocked his gun, ready to take the life of the first redskin.” — The Boys’ Journal, Volume 8

      “Ash called out to them not to fear, for our rifles were to use against bears and wolves and Redskins, and not against Christian men.” — Brother Jonathan, Volume 6

      “Each grain of gunpowder of the gunpowder that propelled the fateful bullet will have to be paid for with the life of a Redskin and I believe I’m not far off the fulfilment of that oath.” – Old Shatterhand – A Genesis (A Winnetou Story Collection) By Marlies Bugmann and Karl May

      “The sober virtuosi of Protestantism, the Puritans of New England, in 1703, by decrees of their assembly set a premium of £40 on every Indian scalp and every captured redskin.” – The Communist Manifesto, By Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

      “Doctor Mooers…shot one of them through the head. As the brave fell dead from his horse he remarked, “That rascally redskin will not trouble us again.” – Scalp Dance: Indian Warfare on the High Plains, 1865-1879, By Thomas Goodrich

      “The beaver skins have fallen, according to their phraseology, to a ‘plew a plug,’ and they will find ‘redskin’ pays better.” – The Scalp Hunters, By Mayne Reid

      “Since when did you take the word of a lying redskin over a white man’s?” – The Last Scalp, By Paul Cox

      “I takes the liberty to offer ye as stout a arm as ever choked a redskin!” – Sam Sutton, the Scalp-taker: A Stirring Romance of the Far West, By Herrick Johnstone

      “He’s a crafty redskin, an’ not to be trusted.” – The Spirit of the Border, By Zane Grey

      “Only good redskin is a dead redskin.” – Firebrand’s Woman, By Vanessa Royall

      “You travelin’ with this redskin, mister? Hell, ain’t you got no pride? Ain’t you got nothin’ better to do than hang around with a savage?” – The Loner Book 1, By J.A. Johnstone

      “His spear drove deep into the neck of a redskin.” – The World of Tiers: Volume Two, By Philip Jose Farmer

      “The fate of the redskin had been decided in Europe.” – The League of Six Nations, By Juan Carden
      “Only good redskin was a dead one.” – Little Big Man: A Novel, By Thomas Berger

      “A second shot from Bill’s rifle laid the redskin low.” — Buffalo Bill’s Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History, By Joy S. Kasson

      “Looks like we got us another good target to practice on. Let’s see if any of you can hit that damned redskin!” – A Cold Day in Hell: The Plainsmen, By Terry C. Johnston

      “Help him take the red skin’s scalp, as is but reasonable, seeing the varmant took his father’s.”
      “I never wish to see a red skin except when he is under the sight of my rifle.” – Legends of a Log Cabin, By Chandler Robbins Gilman

      “Dead red-skin! Hurrah for Barney!” – The Scalp Hunters, By Mayne Reid

      “…He pursued his victims, until the crack of the rifle and the death yell proclaimed that another red-skin had been sent to his final account.” — Scalp Dance: Indian Warfare on the High Plains, 1865-1879, By Thomas Goodrich

      “It is the scalp of a dead redskin we killed below there. — 1812: the War and Its Moral, By William Foster Coffin

      • Butts Larue

        Josh, you keep posting these quotes yet couldn’t the same be done with “Indian”?

  • Butts Larue

    “[Colonists] also flayed the bodies, they skinned the body, and this became a practice under Jackson’s forces and all the way to California throughout these wars of conquest and genocide, of flaying the body,” Dunbar-Ortiz said. “And when you take the skin off, right under the skin are blood vessels so the whole body is bleeding, so they called those, literally an Indian corpse, a ‘redskin.’”

    FALSE
    This has been proven false by many well respected linguists such as Dr. Ives Goddard and Dr. Geoffrey Nunberg, not to mention some journalists from the American Indian community such as Adriane Jawort.

    • Change the Mascot

      The R word was used during westward expansion by frontiersmen as they slaughtered and scalped Native Americans. I did research on Google Books from literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a war of extermination against Native Americans and this is how the term was used:

      “In 1675, authorities in the colony of Massachusetts were offering colonists a bounty for what they called Indian ‘head skins,’ later also called ‘redskins.'” — From Warriors to Soldiers: A History of American Indian Service in the United States Military, By Gary Robinson, Phil Lucas

      “For instance, when on September 13, 1775, Tim Murphy, of Captain Parr’s Company, killed and scalped his twenty third redskin, it was a signal for a general celebration.” — South Mountain Sketches, By Henry W. Shoemaker

      “This scalp bounty made a nice addition to the otherwise slim pay of the Rangers; they pursued the chase of redskins for financial reasons more than to satisfy the blood lust.” — Extinct Pennsylvania Animals, By Henry W. Shoemaker

      “When the Americans withdrew, the redskins returned to their old devilry with pent-up vengeance.” — The American Indian: Past and Present, Edited by Roger L. Nichols, George R. Adams

      “Leslie Fiedler mentions ‘a bounty of ten pounds on Redskin scalps’ as the prime motive for taking the scalps.” — American Studies International, Volume 36

      “A white man’s gifts are christianized, while a red skin’s are more for the wilderness.” — Canadians are not Americans: Myths and Literary Traditions, By Katherine L. Morrison

      “What I wish to say is, that a red-skin’s scalping don’t justify a pale-face’s scalping.” — The Knickerbocker: Or, New York Monthly Magazine, Volume 18

      “Two years later, in 1853 the Yreka Herald, of Yreka, California, printed: ‘We hope that the Government will render such aid as will enable the citizens of the north to carry on a war of extermination until the last redskin of these tribes has been killed.” — Pilgrims in the Desert, By Le Hayes

      “These Indians engaged in the favorite pastime of the redskins, that of plundering the settlers along the way. The frontiersmen fell upon the Cherokees and slew them to a man. Scalping them, they carried the bloody trophies to the Virginia authorities and sold them. While we do not know the amount of bounty received for these redskin scalps, it must have been considerable for the Colonial government paid from 20 to 30 pounds for marauding Indian scalps.” — Kentucky’s Last Frontier, By Henry P. Scaif

      “You and I differ as essentially in our views of the proper use to be made of a redskin devil…I believe in making coyote feed of the whole brood.” — They Came to Valley, By Bill Gulick

      “Let’s go lynch that dirty redskin, men!” — Thoreau at Devil’s Perch, By B.B. Oak

      “I did my very best to try to give my children the freedom to go to school but this damn redskin devil man they call Rufus Austin damage the education of most of all these young boys growing up around this Village.” — Duncy, By Dave Hamilton

      “Our God commands us, Kill the heathen lice! We are the only race to civilize, and He demands we take this land for Him — forever free from slovenly Chinese, and every Redskin Devil in our way!” — The Decay of the Angel, By James E. Tochihara

      “Whiz came a bullet into his dirty red skin.” — Ticonderoga: or The Black Eagle. A romance of days not. By George Payne Rainsford James

      “Quick as thought he cocked his gun, ready to take the life of the first redskin.” — The Boys’ Journal, Volume 8

      “Ash called out to them not to fear, for our rifles were to use against bears and wolves and Redskins, and not against Christian men.” — Brother Jonathan, Volume 6

      “Each grain of gunpowder of the gunpowder that propelled the fateful bullet will have to be paid for with the life of a Redskin and I believe I’m not far off the fulfilment of that oath.” – Old Shatterhand – A Genesis (A Winnetou Story Collection) By Marlies Bugmann and Karl May

      “The sober virtuosi of Protestantism, the Puritans of New England, in 1703, by decrees of their assembly set a premium of £40 on every Indian scalp and every captured redskin.” – The Communist Manifesto, By Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

      “Doctor Mooers…shot one of them through the head. As the brave fell dead from his horse he remarked, “That rascally redskin will not trouble us again.” – Scalp Dance: Indian Warfare on the High Plains, 1865-1879, By Thomas Goodrich

      “The beaver skins have fallen, according to their phraseology, to a ‘plew a plug,’ and they will find ‘redskin’ pays better.” – The Scalp Hunters, By Mayne Reid

      “Since when did you take the word of a lying redskin over a white man’s?” – The Last Scalp, By Paul Cox

      “I takes the liberty to offer ye as stout a arm as ever choked a redskin!” – Sam Sutton, the Scalp-taker: A Stirring Romance of the Far West, By Herrick Johnstone

      “He’s a crafty redskin, an’ not to be trusted.” – The Spirit of the Border, By Zane Grey

      “Only good redskin is a dead redskin.” – Firebrand’s Woman, By Vanessa Royall

      “You travelin’ with this redskin, mister? Hell, ain’t you got no pride? Ain’t you got nothin’ better to do than hang around with a savage?” – The Loner Book 1, By J.A. Johnstone

      “His spear drove deep into the neck of a redskin.” – The World of Tiers: Volume Two, By Philip Jose Farmer

      “The fate of the redskin had been decided in Europe.” – The League of Six Nations, By Juan Carden
      “Only good redskin was a dead one.” – Little Big Man: A Novel, By Thomas Berger

      “A second shot from Bill’s rifle laid the redskin low.” — Buffalo Bill’s Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History, By Joy S. Kasson

      “Looks like we got us another good target to practice on. Let’s see if any of you can hit that damned redskin!” – A Cold Day in Hell: The Plainsmen, By Terry C. Johnston

      “Help him take the red skin’s scalp, as is but reasonable, seeing the varmant took his father’s.”
      “I never wish to see a red skin except when he is under the sight of my rifle.” – Legends of a Log Cabin, By Chandler Robbins Gilman

      “Dead red-skin! Hurrah for Barney!” – The Scalp Hunters, By Mayne Reid

      “…He pursued his victims, until the crack of the rifle and the death yell proclaimed that another red-skin had been sent to his final account.” — Scalp Dance: Indian Warfare on the High Plains, 1865-1879, By Thomas Goodrich

      “It is the scalp of a dead redskin we killed below there. — 1812: the War and Its Moral, By William Foster Coffin

      • Butts Larue

        In every quote you stated, Redskins does not equal scalps. It is used synonymously. One could substitute Indian or Native American in every instance and the quotes would be no less abhorrent. Keep trying though, Tobes, if you post it enough people might believe it. Look what 30 years of harjo lies have done.

  • Change the Mascot

    “In 1675, authorities in the colony of Massachusetts were offering colonists a bounty for what they called Indian ‘head skins,’ later also called ‘redskins.'” — From Warriors to Soldiers: A History of American Indian Service in the United States Military, By Gary Robinson, Phil Lucas

    “For instance, when on September 13, 1775, Tim Murphy, of Captain Parr’s Company, killed and scalped his twenty third redskin, it was a signal for a general celebration.” — South Mountain Sketches, By Henry W. Shoemaker

    “This scalp bounty made a nice addition to the otherwise slim pay of the Rangers; they pursued the chase of redskins for financial reasons more than to satisfy the blood lust.” — Extinct Pennsylvania Animals, By Henry W. Shoemaker

    “When the Americans withdrew, the redskins returned to their old devilry with pent-up vengeance.” — The American Indian: Past and Present, Edited by Roger L. Nichols, George R. Adams

    “Leslie Fiedler mentions ‘a bounty of ten pounds on Redskin scalps’ as the prime motive for taking the scalps.” — American Studies International, Volume 36

    “A white man’s gifts are christianized, while a red skin’s are more for the wilderness.” — Canadians are not Americans: Myths and Literary Traditions, By Katherine L. Morrison

    “What I wish to say is, that a red-skin’s scalping don’t justify a pale-face’s scalping.” — The Knickerbocker: Or, New York Monthly Magazine, Volume 18

    “Two years later, in 1853 the Yreka Herald, of Yreka, California, printed: ‘We hope that the Government will render such aid as will enable the citizens of the north to carry on a war of extermination until the last redskin of these tribes has been killed.” — Pilgrims in the Desert, By Le Hayes

    “These Indians engaged in the favorite pastime of the redskins, that of plundering the settlers along the way. The frontiersmen fell upon the Cherokees and slew them to a man. Scalping them, they carried the bloody trophies to the Virginia authorities and sold them. While we do not know the amount of bounty received for these redskin scalps, it must have been considerable for the Colonial government paid from 20 to 30 pounds for marauding Indian scalps.” — Kentucky’s Last Frontier, By Henry P. Scaif

    “You and I differ as essentially in our views of the proper use to be made of a redskin devil…I believe in making coyote feed of the whole brood.” — They Came to Valley, By Bill Gulick

    “Let’s go lynch that dirty redskin, men!” — Thoreau at Devil’s Perch, By B.B. Oak

    “I did my very best to try to give my children the freedom to go to school but this damn redskin devil man they call Rufus Austin damage the education of most of all these young boys growing up around this Village.” — Duncy, By Dave Hamilton

    “Our God commands us, Kill the heathen lice! We are the only race to civilize, and He demands we take this land for Him — forever free from slovenly Chinese, and every Redskin Devil in our way!” — The Decay of the Angel, By James E. Tochihara

    “Whiz came a bullet into his dirty red skin.” — Ticonderoga: or The Black Eagle. A romance of days not. By George Payne Rainsford James

    “Quick as thought he cocked his gun, ready to take the life of the first redskin.” — The Boys’ Journal, Volume 8

    “Ash called out to them not to fear, for our rifles were to use against bears and wolves and Redskins, and not against Christian men.” — Brother Jonathan, Volume 6

    “Each grain of gunpowder of the gunpowder that propelled the fateful bullet will have to be paid for with the life of a Redskin and I believe I’m not far off the fulfilment of that oath.” – Old Shatterhand – A Genesis (A Winnetou Story Collection) By Marlies Bugmann and Karl May

    “The sober virtuosi of Protestantism, the Puritans of New England, in 1703, by decrees of their assembly set a premium of £40 on every Indian scalp and every captured redskin.” – The Communist Manifesto, By Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

    “Doctor Mooers…shot one of them through the head. As the brave fell dead from his horse he remarked, “That rascally redskin will not trouble us again.” – Scalp Dance: Indian Warfare on the High Plains, 1865-1879, By Thomas Goodrich

    “The beaver skins have fallen, according to their phraseology, to a ‘plew a plug,’ and they will find ‘redskin’ pays better.” – The Scalp Hunters, By Mayne Reid

    “Since when did you take the word of a lying redskin over a white man’s?” – The Last Scalp, By Paul Cox

    “I takes the liberty to offer ye as stout a arm as ever choked a redskin!” – Sam Sutton, the Scalp-taker: A Stirring Romance of the Far West, By Herrick Johnstone

    “He’s a crafty redskin, an’ not to be trusted.” – The Spirit of the Border, By Zane Grey

    “Only good redskin is a dead redskin.” – Firebrand’s Woman, By Vanessa Royall

    “You travelin’ with this redskin, mister? Hell, ain’t you got no pride? Ain’t you got nothin’ better to do than hang around with a savage?” – The Loner Book 1, By J.A. Johnstone

    “His spear drove deep into the neck of a redskin.” – The World of Tiers: Volume Two, By Philip Jose Farmer

    “The fate of the redskin had been decided in Europe.” – The League of Six Nations, By Juan Carden
    “Only good redskin was a dead one.” – Little Big Man: A Novel, By Thomas Berger

    “A second shot from Bill’s rifle laid the redskin low.” — Buffalo Bill’s Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History, By Joy S. Kasson

    “Looks like we got us another good target to practice on. Let’s see if any of you can hit that damned redskin!” – A Cold Day in Hell: The Plainsmen, By Terry C. Johnston

    “Help him take the red skin’s scalp, as is but reasonable, seeing the varmant took his father’s.”
    “I never wish to see a red skin except when he is under the sight of my rifle.” – Legends of a Log Cabin, By Chandler Robbins Gilman

    “Dead red-skin! Hurrah for Barney!” – The Scalp Hunters, By Mayne Reid

    “…He pursued his victims, until the crack of the rifle and the death yell proclaimed that another red-skin had been sent to his final account.” — Scalp Dance: Indian Warfare on the High Plains, 1865-1879, By Thomas Goodrich

    “It is the scalp of a dead redskin we killed below there. — 1812: the War and Its Moral, By William Foster Coffin

    • Mark E. Reynolds

      There is no debate over the practice of bounties, or the horrible genocide brought upon the Native Americans. The debate is over the statement that the word Redskin is synonymous with bounty scalps. It is not, and your statements support that. Your quotes support the fact that the term is a synonym of Native American, as you could swap those two words and not change the meaning of the quotes one iota. One could find just as many references where the word Indian is used instead, or find modern examples of where the word Native American is used in a sentence with disparaging connotation. I’m all for having the debate of how the term is perceived by all Native Americans, but that debate should be based in fact. The Redskin as Scalp meme has been debunked.

    • Butts Larue
  • A veteran

    If they changed the name to represent THIS group of native americans, it would have to be the Washington Whiners!

    Yes, the natives and the U.S. fought each other, brutally and frequently. And now, many, many years later, the nation’s game is played in the nation’s capital by a team called “Redskins.” It is a game for warriors, not wimps. The native warriors for whom they are named WOULD HAVE LOVED IT!

    These same native warriors gave us the “buffalo soldier.” Do you hear African Americans whining about it? No. It was a name given by warriors to warriors. It is a proud part of our shared American history.

    Each time this team runs onto the field and all the fans are wearing that symbol, they are invoking the spirit of a fierce, independent and cunning people.

  • asdfasdf

    first of all thats not even remotely true as to the origin of the term. second of all historically natives were the ones who were into flaying. do research into your own culture before spouting bullshit lol
    (any colonists who did it back picked up the scare tactic from them)