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Column: Young Natives wrong to challenge 'Redskins'

"The latest legal move against the Washington Redskins is just an ultra, ultra-liberal initiative full of political correctness and out of step with what is going on in Indian country. In the battle over eliminating American Indian-based team nicknames, we are giving resources and attention to a cause that few support while taking away resources and energy from the real issues on our reservations.

What we have are lawyers and individuals trying to justify fighting against free speech and for censorship. While some may find certain aspects of Indian nicknames and/or mascots offensive, perceived bad taste and having your feelings hurt is not protected in the Constitution, whereas free speech and freedoms are. Any efforts to limit free speech should meet a very, very high standard. Even burning the American flag doesn't meet that level.

Certainly, somewhere, some people are offended by the use of American Indian nicknames or mascots as people are offended about a whole array of other things. But being offended is not sufficient to limit free speech in America.

It is also grossly ironic that those pushing this issue are holding that it is permissible for schools that are primarily American Indian to use Native nicknames and mascots while it is also permissible to censure free speech if you are non-Indian. By doing so, they are going to support discrimination based on race (only American Indian people can then use Indian nicknames). How can lawyers, especially American Civil Liberties Union-pedigree lawyers, support such a position?"

Get the Story:
Ron Toya: Free speech: Another side of the 'redskin' debate (Indian Country Today 8/31)

Redskins Petition:
Blackhorse v. ProFootball

Appeals Court Decision:
Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo (July 15, 2005)

Lower Court Decision:
Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo (September 30, 2003)

Patent and Trademark Office Ruling:
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (1999)

William "Lone Star" Dietz Research:
Linda Waggoner: Reclaiming James One Star (Indian Country Today 2004)

Relevant Links:
Redskins -

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