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Carla Fredericks: Racial slur tied to Sand Creek Massacre






A marker at the site of the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado, where a militia attacked a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village, killing upwards of 200 people, mostly women, children and the elderly. Photo by Carptrash via Wikipedia

Law professors Kristen Carpenter and Carla Fredericks explore the dangerous history of the Washington NFL team's racist mascot:
Historically, the word described the "skins" of Indians for which states paid bounties. The killers had to present the Indians' bloody bodies to collect their fees. As a Minnesota newspaper reported in 1863, "The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth."

Colorado's history includes the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. After Gov. John Evans asked the U.S. military "to whip these red-skin rebels into submission," Col. John Chivington's 700-member cavalry killed 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians encamped under a white peace flag on treaty-protected lands.

This is how "r--skins" were subdued in Colorado. To use the word today evokes a history of racial violence and dehumanization to intimidate, humiliate and harm contemporary American Indians.

Get the Story:
Kristen Carpenter and Carla Fredericks: Why use "r--skin" word at all? (The Denver Post 11/14)

Another Opinion:
Editorial: In this case, the Redskins are right (The Denver Post 11/4)

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