City Desk

Oneida Indian Nation to Pigskins: Change the Name Already

D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks at the symposium.

D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks at the symposium.

The Oneida Indian Nation wanted to have a showdown with the National Football League on Monday, scheduling a gathering to oppose the real name of the Washington Pigskins at the Ritz-Carlton in D.C.—the same place as this week's NFL fall league meeting. The only problem: There are two Ritz-Carltons in D.C., and the Oneida Indian Nation had booked their meeting at the wrong one.

But the show went on at the Georgetown Ritz anyway, and the New York-based tribe led a symposium with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton; Rep. Betty McCollum, the Minnesota Democrat who co-chairs the the Congressional Native American Caucus; Ray Halbritter, a representative of the Oneida Indian Nation, and others.

"This is divisive," Halbritter said. "It is hypocritical to say you're America's pastime, but not represent America's ideals."

Norton spoke from her experience as an African-American woman in a near-majority black city, comparing the discrimination blacks have faced to that of Native Americans.

"I don't see how anyone who went through our experience cannot identify with the Native Americans," she said, adding later that she doesn't "expect the team name to last much longer."

The symposium came just days after President Barack Obama told the Associated Press that if he owned the team and "I knew that the name of my team—even if they've had a storied history—was offending a sizable group of people, I'd think about changing it."

The Oneida Indian Nation launched its “Change the Mascot” campaign in September to urge the team to change its name, which Pigkins owner Dan Snyder has said he will "NEVER" change.

The NFL and the tribe were scheduled to have a meeting in November to discuss the name, but an NFL representative reached out to the Oneidas last week to see if they could meet earlier since the NFL could not attend today's symposium because of their own meetings, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. " We respect that people have differing views" on the name, McCarthy tells City Desk by email. "It is important that we listen to all perspectives."

Photo by Perry Stein

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Typical DC BS

    Glad to see that old biddy Norton bloviating with the Oneida's. One shyster to another. Wonder how much they paid her to attend? And the Oneida's crying about REDSKINS is laughable, what with their casino earnings and non-taxed alcohol and tobacco filling up their coffers.

    It's also rich that a New York tribe filled with hypocrites whines about a word that the MAJORITY of Indians don't have a problem with. But that never stops the Dumocratic nannies of this nation from wanting to impose their idiocies on the rest of us.

  • S.E.

    How about having them drop the "Washington" from their name? They do not play,practice nor train here.

  • wigglwagon

    All football teams should be designated by numbers. That would alleviate all possibility of offending others.

    Each one should use the number of their finishing place last year. That way, no one team could be accused of gaining an unfair advantage by choosing their own LUCKY NUMBER.

  • Over Eleanor

    Holmes Norton just is sooooooo far beyond her sold by date. Eleanor please leave!

  • Corky

    I agree with the Native Americans and Del. Norton 100%--the name is just racist and should be changed. This would not even be a debate if the team denigrated Dan Snyder's religion or ethnicity or referenced the Holocaust. I'm not even going to give an example of what those team names would be because no one would could argue that they wouldn't be offensive. Why is it any different when the ethnic group offended is Native American?

  • noodlez

    OTHER THAN THE DUMOCRAT REFERENCE I'M WITH TYP ON THIS!

    NATIVE AMERICANS SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT POVERTY, ALCOHOLISM AND THE EDUCATION OF IT'S PEOPLE THAN SOME NAME THAT ACTUALLY DOESN'T OFFEND.

    WHWRE IS THE OUTRAGE AGAINST THE CLEVELAND INDIANS AND ITS SAMBO-Y IMAGE? THE ATL BRAVES AND IT'S BLATANT USE OF A DEPICTION OF NATIVE AMERICAN SAVAGERY WITH THE TOMAHAWK CHOP? THE FLA STATE MASCOT RIDING AROUND ACTING LIKE A DAMN FOOL?

    EVERYONE NEED TO GET REAL AND STOP FAKING WITH THIS BULLSHIT ASS CRUSADE!

  • Typical DC BS

    @noodlez: Glad you agree, but this is another issue that is being driven SOLELY by hard-core PC folks, who I can guarantee you are Democrats.

  • Julius Streicher

    Dear Dan Snyder:

    Your letter to the Redskin's Nation is so much bullshit it is hard to know where to begin. You want to defend that epithet based upon tradition and heritage? Using your reaction to a certain newspaper story where you claimed anti-Semitism and filed a lawsuit, I wager you would not hesitate to take corrective action if the team’s name were “The Washington Kikes.” There is a tradition and heritage behind that highly offensive taboo term for a Jew. This term, Kike, reminds some of whom they are and where they want to be. If you cannot do the correct thing because you are so fucking arrogant and an ass whole to the core, let me to another part of your character. If you change the name you not only get instant collector items (all the old team merchandise), but there will be a frenzy for the new items. Guess what and here is the appeal to that other part of your character, you get to make more money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...