A reporter for The Arizona Republic says President Obama’s decision to award the Medal of Freedom to Suzan Harjo is a nod to the anti-Redskins movement.
Megan Finnerty said that although the awards do not typically involve controversy, Harjo was controversial pick because of the ongoing name-change debate. “This woman is currently involved in a controversy, and she’s getting the Medal of Freedom,” Finnerty said.
Finnerty also said that she spoke to political experts who advised her, “This is the way the president messages subtly, but surely, that he is against that name and he is on the side of the Native Americans.”
Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, was the first Native American to successfully petition the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the federal trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins. She is among 19 of the recipients to receive the award this year, which includes Meryl Streep and Stevie Wonder.
President Obama told the Associated Press in an interview last year that if he were the team’s owner, and knew that the name was offending people he would “think seriously about changing it.”
Watch the entire segment on AZCentral.com.