On Thursday (October 24), hundreds of protesters descended on Peavey Field Park in Minneapolis for a Not Your Mascot march and rally to pressure the Washington D.C. National Football League team “to retire its degrading team name and mascot,” according to an emailed statement.
“It’s time that we correct the narrative,” Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux community secretary/treasurer Rebecca Crooks-Stratton said in the statement. “Native Americans are here today with our own governments, cultures and modern stories. The Washington team’s name is a painful embodiment of the lack of respect for and understanding of Native Americans.”
The event, which was hosted by Minnesota tribal governments, the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media (NCARSM), the National Congress of American Indians and other organizations, gathered more than 30 national and local leaders, including Minnesota’s lieutenant governor Peggy Flanagan, U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey for the protest.
“For decades, the Washington NFL Team has profited off their name and mascot with no regard for its painful connection to the displacement, violence and trauma experienced by Indigenous peoples for generations,” said David Glass, president of NCARSM.
Clyde Bellecourt, founder and national director of the American Indian Movement and co-founder of NCARSM agreed: “The name is not positive or respectful; it is the very opposite, and instead encourages a dangerous caricature of what it means to be Native American. It is time to change the name. There is no honor in racism,” Bellecourt said.
As #NotYourMascot trended on Twitter, Flanagan also made her position clear. “Football brings people together. And that should include us: Native families and communities,” Flanagan tweeted. “Because we are people, *not* mascots.”
Check out some social media posts from protesters and their supporters:
Football brings people together. And that should include us: Native families and communities. Today I stood with Minnesotans who made their voice and values heard. It’s time we change the name of the Washington NFL team. Because we are people, *not* mascots. #NotYourMascot pic.twitter.com/lHIJM24lmJ— Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (@LtGovFlanagan) October 24, 2019
Protectors of culture, voices, dancers and prayers of a peoples with signs gathered once again saying a people of culture who oppose the Wash. team name greet fans outside U.S. Bank Stadium — repeat #NotYourMascot It’s time to #ChangeTheName https://t.co/0hsSiedASz via @mprnews— Honor the Earth (@HonorTheEarth) October 25, 2019
This is what leadership looks like!! Ahéhee’ @LtGovFlanagan for being present with the people and having our voices heard. ✊?✊? @Redskins@NFL@nflnetwork#NotYourMascot #ChangeTheName https://t.co/vqPYy1CUXr— Brian Yazzie (@Yazzie_TheChef) October 25, 2019
Proud to represent DC and stand w/Native activists, elected leaders, & citizens at the #NotYourMascot march and rally calling on the Washington Football Team to end its use of a racist & derogatory name and mascot ahead the team’s game against the @Vikings in Minneapolis tonight. pic.twitter.com/U0JVrZncc1— David Grosso (@cmdgrosso) October 24, 2019