Following the historic meeting between the NFL and the Oneida Indian Nation on Wednesday, SiriusXM’s Joe Madison, also known as “The Black Eagle,” held a roundtable discussion about the Washington Redskins name-change controversy.
Madison’s show, “What's in a Name—the Washington Redskins Controversy: A SiriusXM Urban View Roundtable” has an impressive lineup of guests, including The Washington Post’s Mike Wise and USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, as well as Native activist Suzan Shown Harjo. The show premieres on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel 110 on Friday, November 1, at 7:00 a.m. and 7p.m., EST.
Suzan Shown Harjo, Native activist and Vincent Schilling at the routable discussion
I was also a guest on the show, in which we covered a wide range of issues, including the history of the Redskins name, journalists’ refusal to use the name in broadcast or in print, and the regard for the term Redskins by Indian Country.
Here’s a small preview of what was discussed on the show:
At the beginning of the two-hour broadcast, Madison explained, “We did invite Dan Snyder; we did invite the commissioner; we did invite several former and current players–and they all declined.”
Kevin Gover, from the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indians, addressed the history of the word Redskin. “[Native Americans] would be talking to people whose language they don’t speak. ‘What is it you call us?’ If they called them Redskins, they would say, ‘Ok, I’m a Redskin,’ not realizing what that word actually meant.”
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and ESPN’s Kevin Blackistone spoke about when their eyes were opened to the offensive word.
“I did not become aware of the viciousness of the word Redskins until 1992. I was walking into the Super Bowl and the Redskins were playing the Buffalo Bills. A block or two away from the stadium was a protest over the name. I stopped and watched for a while. I went into the game as a fan not as a reporter… I had on burgundy and gold… I cheered for the team…[but] some time during the late 90s, I consciously decided to stop using the term,” Blackistone said.
Joe Madison hosts the discussion about the word Redskin in Washington, D.C. studios
“I am a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement…I used the term as a matter of course, but my consciousness was raised by Native people. If Native people were a larger percentage of the population, we would've known this a long time ago.”
Madison also talked about the 2004 Associated Press poll, which suggests that a majority of people in the United States think the team should keep its name. Wise responded to the so-called polling debate, by saying, “Someone once said, ‘You can’t poll morality.’”
As the discussion came to a close, Suzan Shown Harjo said, “The National Congress of American Indians, which is our oldest and largest national organization, the National Indian Education Association and every single major national organization that represents Native people has said ‘get rid of this name.’ They mean it, and they have been saying it for a long time.”
Kevin Blackistone of ESPN, left, Butch McAdams, center, and Mike Wise.
At the end of the broadcast, Madison asked all panelists if they believed the Redskins name would be changed. All of the panelists did believe the name would change, except Randy Davis, a Croatan Indian from North Carolina, who supported the Redskins. Davis said that it would be unfortunate if the Redskins were to lose their name.
Additional broadcasts of “What's in a Name—the Washington Redskins Controversy: A SiriusXM Urban View Roundtable” will be on November 2 at 3:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.; November 3 at 4:00 p.m.; and November 4 at Midnight (all times EST).