Opinion | Sports

Gyasi Ross: What happens after Washington team drops name?

The logo for the Change the Mascot campaign

Gyasi Ross says eliminating the Washington NFL team's mascot will be a short-lived victory unless Native communities address their problems at home:
I used to be suspicious about the Redskins matter because I felt it took up valuable time and resources from basic needs/life discussions for our homelands. Moreover, I also resented that nobody talked to my communities before asserting that these symbols are offensive to all Native people—I know plenty of Natives who aren’t offended by the name. But we’re past that now. We have to be. Our people have spoken; now, it’s 100% about the movement of our people—it’s bigger than individuals. This is about us speaking for us—there are too many non-Natives trying to tell us what we should or should not be offended by. We MUST define ourselves. Symbols count and the ability define oneself transcends mere Native mascots and whether or not individual Natives subjectively are offended by the names. It’s much bigger than that. You like the name? Cool. But understand that a non-Native shouldn’t be able to say for you what offends you or doesn’t. People rally behind symbols. This inevitable name change victory has the ability to rally and unite Native people—urban and reservation—like very few other things in recent memory.

It is becoming a movement of the people. That’s beautiful. We need to make a concerted effort to bring that movement to the grassroots and not leave anybody out of this conversation.

Thus I become hopeful that the memory of this inevitable Redskins victory will help create some momentum to address those internal matters—suicide, disenrollments, alcoholism, etc. Maybe it will encourage some of those who fought so strongly for this victory to bring their talents home and turn their attention toward our homelands and try to direct resources to us here.

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Redskins Name Will Change; Then It's Time to Get Our Communities Right (Indian Country Today 6/29)

Related Stories:
Native Sun News: Washington team's mascot hits another bump (06/27)
Sponsors keep their distance from embattled Washington team (06/26)
Opinion: Reagans - A perfect name for a perfectly bad NFL team (06/26)
FedEx facing more pressure to end relationship with NFL team (06/25)
Opinion: Washington NFL team loses business with racist name (06/25)
Suzan Shown Harjo: Fight against racist mascots just beginning (6/24)
Oneida Nation asked Bank of America to break with NFL team (6/24)
Kevin Gover: Stereotypes should not be celebrated in America (6/20)
Ray Cook: Decision sends warning for NFL team's racist mascot (6/20)
Oneida Nation puts pressure on FedEx in campaign over mascot (6/20)
Mike Wise: No winning in fight to save NFL team's racist mascot (6/20)
Opinion: Making money off Indian imagery is old business in US (6/20)
Washington NFL team remains defiant after losing trademarks (6/19)
Editorial: Racial slurs don't deserve trademark protection in US (6/19)
Patent office cancels trademarks for Washington football team (6/18)
Church group approves boycott against Washington NFL team (6/16)
Former Washington player calls for team to drop racist name (6/13)
Musician urges team name change as NCAI video makes waves (6/11)
Opinion: Lobbying firm hired to defend NFL team's racist mascot (6/11)
NCAI's 'Proud to Be' video to air during NBA finals game tonight (6/10)
Churches headed for vote on boycott of Washington NFL team (06/04)

Join the Conversation