A Republican state senator in Michigan is seeking to ban the use of the word redskins at public schools, according to reports. The bill filed by Senator Wayne Schmidt was in part crafted by the five tribal governments he represents in his district. Schmidt says the word is “particularly offensive” to Natives.
Schmidt told local station WOOD-TV “the term ‘redskin’ is highly offensive. Especially to Native Americans, to American Indians,” the Associated Press reported. Currently, the bill has no-cosponsors.
Paw Paw, a village in southwest Michigan, voted to keep its 'redskins' nickname while in the village Saranac the high school there changed its name from the 'Redskins' to the 'Black Knights,' local radio station WSJM reported.
Meanwhile, on June 20, Super Bowl champion and sports pundit Shannon Sharpe agreed the term is “demeaning” and a “slur.”
“Redskins ... that is not a badge of honor for (Natives),” he said on the sports show Undisputed. “It's disrespectful. They’ve told you. This is not about political correctness. This is not about being soft. This is about a group or race of people – the majority of them have told you that (the word) is hurtful, this is disrespectful, this is a slur. You don’t need a unanimous vote.”
Sharpe said the team can keep the logo, just change the name. Natives, though, disagreed with Sharpe on social media saying the logo should go as well because it dehumanizes Indigenous Peoples.
On June 19, the Supreme Court struck down a provision that prevented trademarks of words found to be derogatory or disparaging. The attorney for the Washington NFL team said the team was "thrilled" with the decision.
Even though the Washington NFL team has kept its name, other schools throughout the U.S. have either voluntarily retired its Indian mascot or are in the process. In Massachusetts, a state senator is taking it a step further. On behalf of her constituents, State Senator Barbara L’Italien filed a bill that would ban not only the use of the word ‘redskins,’ but all Indian mascots in public schools.