Reclaim “Redskin”: An Indian expression, not a slur!


NC Wyeth – Last of the Mohicans, cover illustration (1919) oil on canvas, Brandywine River Museum. Source

3 responses to “Reclaim “Redskin”: An Indian expression, not a slur!

  1. Most Indian Tribes collectively called their own tribe “The People”, which I’ve always thought was interesting. It’s a way of looking at ourselves that we would regard as intolerant today, really, as it suggest that “we’re the real people. . . not those other people.”

    That may seem rather unrelated to this, but it really isn’t. If we star going back and adjusting all past slights, the task will rapidly become endless. Do the Irish want to be known as “the Fighting Irish”? Do the Scots still want to be called “the Scots”, when that name originally meant that they were foreign raiders? Do the Slavic people want to be collectively recalled by a name that may have suggested manual servitude?

    For that matter, as a mostly (but not entirely) white person of mostly (but not entirely) Celtic extraction, I don’t want Hispanic people calling me an “Anglo”. Should I get huffy about it? I truly really do not like it, but should I demand redress?

    Or rather, should I concern myself with the more important genuine problems of the day?

  2. Mark One Wolf

    This article came across my desktop a few days ago. As I have a lot of things to do I took my time to read it. I see this was written a while back, but I decided to take the time to reply.

    Perhaps I can give you a more appropriate point of view concerning the Name Redskins. Obviously there is no consensus across the board. I can only speak for myself with the assurance that many others feel as I do.
    I am Chinene N’de or the Red Paint People. I am proud of my heritage and culture. You may never have heard of Chihene N’de you may know us better as Apache or maybe Chiricahua Apache same as you may not know Goyathlay, but know Geronimo. Apache,Geronimo, and Indian were names GIVEN by our enemies. Apache is derived from a Zuni word apachu, a derogatory term that means enemy strangers. It is even said that in France the slang for street thug is Apache. Most Apache have come to accept these given word identifiers primarily because we know who we truly are.

    The issue with Redskins. Let’s be clear on this, Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins is not suggesting that we call Native Americans Redskins again. It is and has been for 80+ years the Name of the Football team. No one has ever suggested that we ditch American Indian or Native American and go with Redskin.
    Okay, The Term Redskin has a storied history for sure, as does this country and policies on “dealing with the Indian problem” To the Whites we were Indians but natives had no concept of India so more than likely my Ancestors probably thought it meant Human or Person… So in turn we translated Indian as Person and you end up with some Literal translation of a word that is some variant of Red People, Red Man, Red Paint People, Red skin. Not sure why it was necessary to translate our words, but I suppose its the same for other people like Japanese Obviously in their native Language you can’t even spell JAPAN they say Nihon and they are Nihon jin but we say Japanese. So, Redskins Well there is plenty of documentation that this word was not Given to us by those who sought to “deal” with us this was a word born from our people’s language and used by our people when dealing with the Gov. The Color Red doesn’t and never has referred to our natural Skin Color. Even the Settlers didn’t initially describe us as RED we were described as tawny or bronze and copper or brown. Red is a Spiritual reference and varies from tribe to tribe. It has a lot to do with our Origin being made from the Red Earth of these lands.
    It’s not a matter of Reclaiming this word as a term to call the collective Population of Native this is about having Pride in it and not allowing the ignorance of a few to steal that proud word and turn it into a slur. People can prefer to call themselves whatever they want. People can choose to be proud or choose to be offended I am not suggesting to take that right. My Right to see this word as a symbol of Unity and Pride is also a right that shouldn’t be treaded on.

    Thank you Mark One Wolf

  3. Pingback: Native American Redskins fan and what they don’t want you to know about the r-word | Redskins Hog Heaven

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