Congresswoman Betty McCollum, co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, last week announced her endorsement of the “Change the Mascot” campaign, which aims to change the name of the Washington Redskins.
“The NFL and its Washington franchise are promoting and profiting from an offensive, racist caricature of Native Americans that simply can’t be tolerated,” said McCollum, who represents Oakdale in the U.S. House. “The Change the Mascot campaign has my full support. I hope football fans, the media, and all Americans send a strong message that Native Americans and their culture are to be respected and honored, not degraded.”
The congresswoman in May sent a letter to the NFL, and Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to USA Today, called Redskins nickname “a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”
The team’s name “from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context,” according to USA Today, and was never “meant to denigrate Native Americans or offend any group.”
McCollum said the Oneida Indian Nation of New York should be commended for “standing up for the dignity” of Native Americans.
“My hope is that NFL owners and players go on the record and join the campaign because right now their silence is condoning this racist brand,” McCollum said.