Could the Redskins make a comeback? Not only does it seem possible, but actual Native Americans have started actively pushing for the organization to reinstate the former team name.
In light of the recent sale of the Washington Commanders, many fans of the franchise have suggested that the new owners consider changing the name back to the Redskins. However, these fans don’t just want the name back so they can begin wearing their Sean Taylor jerseys once again. Instead, the ones pushing for the reversion are true Native Americans themselves.
The Native Americans Guardian Association (NAGA) is a collection of real Native Americans fighting to preserve the traditions and origins of their people. Though a combination of various tribes throughout the country, most of the members consider themselves Redskins fans, even those who don’t live in the DC area.
In an effort to keep the Native American culture alive, NAGA has started a petition calling for the Commanders to change their name back to the Redskins. Members of the group believe the name isn’t disrespectful, but instead actually embraces the spirit of tribes throughout the country.
NAGA’s Twitter bio reads “as Native American culture is under attack, we vow to protect it, to defend it and to save it.” This petition attempts to do just that.
Posted to Change.org back in late June, the petition originally set a goal of 75,000 signatures. After just over a month, the petition has garnered almost 80,000 signatures and set a new target of 150,000 signatures. Fans have truly rallied behind the cause.
In the petition, NAGA lays out exactly why it calls for such a name change. “The name Redskins carries deep cultural, historical, and emotional significance, honoring the bravery, resilience, and warrior spirit associated with Native American culture. It was never intended as a derogatory or offensive term but as a symbol of respect and admiration.”
It continues to say the new term Commanders does not appropriately symbolize the heritage of Native Americans. “The name Commanders fails to capture the essence, tradition, and historical weight associated with the Redskins. It lacks the uniqueness, emotional connection, and pride that our team’s original name embodies. The change to Commanders dilutes our team’s identity and weakens the connection with its devoted fanbase.”
Though there does appear to be support for the name change, Washington’s ownership has yet to speak on the matter. 80,000 signatures is undoubtedly impressive. However, no amount of public support could ever force the owners to revert back to the team’s original name.
However, this still remains extremely interesting as the name change originally occurred due to popular belief the term Redskins was culturally insensitive. Now that we know Native Americans weren’t the ones requesting a name change, a new question arises. Who initially began pushing for the transition? It’s possible some Native Americans believe the term is offensive, but to be completely honest it feels like this was just another example of people getting offended over something that doesn’t even apply to them.
What do I mean exactly?
Well, remember Aunt Jemima syrup? What about Uncle Ben’s rice? Or even Land-O-Lakes butter? All of these staple products changed their packaging and/or name due to “racial biases.” Look, I’m all for progress and equality, but who was offended by a bag of rice? It honestly feels more racist to take someone’s face off of the box because they’re black than to leave it.
Okay, I may have gotten extremely sidetracked there.
My point is, if Native Americans themselves find the term Redskins not just respectful, but actually encourage its use, then why do we have a bunch of white people deciding whether or not it’s okay? Listen to the people truly affected. Stop trying to be a social justice warrior without including the opinions of those truly affected. If you do, it will be you who negatively impacts those marginalized people. This petition is real life proof of just that.
If you agree with NAGA’s stance and believe Washington should bring back the name Redskins, sign the petition here.