Sunday, July 28, 2013

Should The Washington Redskins Change Their Name?

Consider this:  should the Washington Redskins change their name?

Or, better stated, should the Washington Redskins be forced by the language police to change their name?

We have all heard of the movement, proposed by a very small percentage of people, that when considered under the dark shroud of racism the word "Redskin" is offensive and degrading.

Racist?  Degrading?

History says that Boston, Massachusetts was first awarded a professional football team in 1932, under the ownership of one George Preston Marshall.  Originally the team simply took the name of the landlords of the stadium in which they played, the baseball team called the Boston Braves.  The team became the football Boston Braves.

But sliding across town to play in Fenway Park the following year Marshall decided to change the name to the Boston Redskins at the urging of the team's coach, Lone Star Dietz.  Coach Dietz claimed to be part Souix Indian, although that heritage has been challenged.

Nonetheless, it was Dietz who proposed the name and it was changed in his honor.

Moving to Washington DC in 1937 the name stuck.

The team became The Washington Redskins.

In light of current protests decrying "racism" as regards the Redskins name, why has nobody similarly protested the name of the state of Oklahoma?

The word Oklahoma is a compound word in the Choctaw Indian language.

It is composed of two Choctaw words:

okla - meaning "people"
humma - meaning "red."

Oklahoma means "red people."

How did it get that name?

In 1866, during negotiations with the federal government regarding the use of the Indian Territory, the Choctaw Chief Allen Wright suggested the name Oklahoma.  As chief his vision was an all-Indian state.  It would be controlled by the federal government, but it would be preserved and protected as an Indian entitlement.

The equivalent to the English word Indian is the Choctaw phrase okla humma, which Chief Allen Wright said described the whole Native American race "as a whole."  His wish was granted in 1890.  Later, he wanted the Choctaw capital seat to be called "Tuskahoma," meaning "red warrior."  That wish was granted too.

Oklahoma later became the name of the Oklahoma Territory when it was opened up to the "Sooners" in 1892 for white settlement.  Later, when the Territory became the 46th state in 1907, the name Oklahoma remained.

Chief Allen Wright wanted the name of the area to glorify the Red People as a whole.  He was not being racist!  He was feeling pride!

What is another word for Red People?  Might one suggestion be Redskin?

So, if an American Indian chief wants "red people" to glorify the Native American race of people, and has, at his request, a territory and then state named Oklahoma in that honor, the use of the word Redskin, essentially the same word, simply cannot be racist.

It is the opposite!  Chief Allen Wright would say it glorifies!  It is proud!

Come on over to my house, we'll sit on my deck and bite off a chaw of Red Man chewin' tobacky (shouldn't it be called Oklahoma Chewing Tobacco?), and chew on this NEW controversy of

why a state is named after a football team!

Says he, with a twinkle in his eye...

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