Changing the conversation on Indian mascots

A spokesman for the professional football team in Washington, D.C. was quoted in USA TODAY last week, questioning why the United Nations would discuss the issue of American Indian mascots.

“Given all the wars around the world, starvation, famine and the nuclear proliferation problems the U.N. is dealing with, surely they have more important things to worry about than a football’s team name that is supported by the vast majority of the American people,” said Washington team spokesman Tony Wyllie.

I find that comment smug coming from a spokesman whose employer makes money by playing a game while there are wars, starvation, famine and nuclear proliferation problems around the world.

The Indian mascots issue has gotten more news coverage since the Oneida Indian Nation in New York launched a campaign at the beginning of the 2013 football season to pressure the Washington team to change its nickname “redskins.” The issue got further traction when the National Congress of Americans published its mascot report in October. Click here to read the report.

On Monday, NCAI released a video called “Proud To Be,” which includes positive images of Native Americans. It ends with a Web address to, an effort by the Oneida Indian Nation.

It’s a good attempt at changing the national conversation on this controversial topic.

After viewing it, please leave your comments below.

Follow me on Twitter @karenmichel.


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