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Minn. Dem Rep. to Join Tribal Leaders at Thursday NFL Game to Protest Washington ‘Redskins’ Name

By Craig Millward | October 23, 2019 | 4:06pm EDT
Rep. Betty McCollum (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com)- Speaking on the House Floor on Wednesday, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) called for the National Football League (NFL) to change the Washington Redskins’ name – and said she will join Native American tribal leaders in protest at U.S. Bank Stadium on Thursday when the Minnesota Vikings host Washington in a night game.

McCollum called it “remarkable” that the NFL continues to “sanction the racist and shameful use of the term Redskin to describe Native Americans and then profit from it.”

“No doubt about it, this is a negative word. This is a slur,” McCollum said, calling the team’s name an insult to Native Americans:

“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. There are millions of Native Americans in this country whose ancestors endured forced removal from their lands, suppression of their culture and state-sponsored campaigns of ethnic cleansing. The NFL’s racist mascot mocks this painful history.”

McCollum began her floor speech by claiming that the team’s name “exploits a racist slur and a racist mascot that insults and demeans Native Americans to help generate profits for the NFL owners.”

Below is a transcript of Rep. McCollum’s full House floor speech:

“Mr. Speaker, the National Football League is celebrating its 100th anniversary and its popularity and economic success is indisputable. Millions of fans watched the NFL last year and the league’s 32 teams split more than $16 billion in revenue. One team, the Washington franchise, exploits a racist slur and a racist mascot that insults and demeans Native Americans to help generate profits for the NFL owners. In the 21st century, we should rightly condemn the use of racial slurs that disparage African Americans, Latinos, Asians, anyone. And there’s no doubt about it.

“The term ‘Redskin,’ in fact, was used in conjunction with scalp-hunting in the 19th century. In 1863, in Winona, Minnesota, my home state, a newspaper, The Daily Republican, printed an announcement and I quote from the newspaper: ‘The state reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every Redskin sent to purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.’ A news story published in the Atchison Daily Champion in Atchison, Kansas on October 9, 1885 tells the stories of settlers hunting for Redskins with the view of obtaining their scalps.

No doubt about it, this is a negative word,” McCollum continued. “This is a slur. 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. There are millions of Native Americans in this country whose ancestors endured forced removal from their lands, suppression of their culture and state-sponsored campaigns of ethnic cleansing. The NFL’s racist mascot mocks this painful history.

“Tomorrow night, the Washington team and its racist mascot will be in Minnesota, the home of 11 proud sovereign tribal nations. And I will be joining tribal leaders, elected officials, and other Minnesotans gathering outside the stadium. We will be speaking out against racism and exploitation. We will stand proudly with our Native American brothers and sisters. And with one voice, we will be calling on the NFL to end its racist exploitation of Native Americans and do one thing: change the mascot.”

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