Natives Must Rally Together to Ban Offensive Mascots

The recent efforts of Council Delegate Joshua Lavar Butler to pass legislation against the use of derogatory mascot names in professional sports is finally an issue that speaks volumes for all other important issues facing the Navajo Nation.

We can finally rally behind and acknowledge the power we have. Council Delegate Jonathan Hale's suggestion to deal with this issue across the board by doing away with all reservation school "derogatory" mascot names altogether is, finally, something we can all agree on. I want to help end the use of derogatory mascots. I have seen how our Navajo Nation leadership wrought havoc on traditional Navajos, almost completely wiping out the identity of the resistors of Diné people who live on Hopi Partitioned Lands.

Instead the grassroots community has been labeled "resistor(s)," "unlawful," "rebels," and "anti-government," where lawyers and Navajo leadership intimidated family members into political slogan corners (usually in the press) when they should be protected by "free, prior, and informed consent."

During football games or public sports events, there are banners and chants: "Skin the Warriors!," "Scalp the Chiefs!," "Utes! Go Back to Your Rez!" For Thanksgiving I saw a flyer advertising bar specials in Tempe, Ariz.: "Party Like A Pilgrim, Get Drunk Like an Indian. $2 beers—You Call It!"

Former Chairman Peter MacDonald recently stated in the Gallup Independent that he is really OK with being called a Reds**n! A paragraph later, Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie said, "Maybe we should recognize that Native people have grown accustomed to this and learned to live with it as we have many other things."

Really? I do not understand these sentiments. I cannot live with it. It's kind of crazy to read Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Tsosie sharing these sentiments. I'm sure Dan Snyder is laughing.

Unsurprisingly, after almost a complete media silence in the local press, the Washington Post features Amanda Lee Blackhorse, a Navajo woman on the front lines in the righteous fight to do away with the Washington mascot. I urge everyone to educate their peers about Amanda Lee Blackhorse vs. NFL Football, a class action lawsuit tailored to do away with the use of Indian mascots forever.

Doing away with the Washington mascot name and use of Indian mascots is not difficult. It just needs Navajo people to educate one another and continue to document a legacy that actually belongs to us, like informing the world and the global community that communities like Big Mountain and HPL communities exist. These are golden opportunities worth treasuring instead of casinos and corporate energy. It is worth it to make it known, we are informed by our culture.

The words of our elders are resounding above the sounds of a sold out NFL stadium. This is what I want to say, personally. Thank you for reading my words.