Deadspin: Fake Indian rides to defense of racist school mascot

Supporters of a racist mascot in Lancaster, New York, brought in two allies: Mark One Wolf Yancey, whose Indian heritage is in question, and Joe Milk, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who lives in South Dakota and was flown in by an anonymous donor. Photo by WBEN NewsRadio 930AM / Twitter

A defender of the Washington NFL team's racist mascot showed up in New York this week. Deadspin takes a closer look at the questionable heritage claims of a man called Mark One Wolf Yancey:
The "Redskins" name controversy has played out all over America for years now, in precincts high and low. It's now turned up, though, in the last place you'd expect—Lancaster, N.Y. Some of the same spurious Indians defending the NFL team's name jumped in the small-town fray this week.

The sports teams at Lancaster High have been called the Redskins since the early 1950s. But enough locals have asked for a name change that the school district organized a meeting of interested parties on Tuesday night.

Mark Yancey was among those who packed the school cafeteria, and at least one Indian at the gathering let him know he was regarded as a carpetbagging phony. Yancey, who told the locals he'd traveled from Connecticut for the assembly, was there to claim he was a Native American and that he took pride in any team with that name, professional or otherwise. He's been delivering that spiel to anybody who'd listen since last summer. Yancey became a front man in the debate (and got VIP status at the Washington Redskins training camp in Richmond) when he showed up at the NFL team's workouts wearing an Indian-looking ensemble with a red bandana, a Westernish necklace, and a cap with turkey feathers. He told reporters his name was Mark One Wolf, and that he had founded a support group called Native American Redskins Fans that would lead the fight to keep the name. Soon enough Yancey was given a starring role in a short film titled Redskins Is a Powerful Name. That pro-name PSA was produced by another clique called Redskins Facts, and was initially billed as a grass roots fan effort. Alas, Redskins Facts was eventually exposed as a team-funded propaganda project concocted by hired guns at public relations behemoth Burson-Marsteller.

Yancey's celebrity waned quickly, after Indians on the other side of the name battle started questioning his claims and accusing him of playing Indian as part of a cynical game of dress-up. Through the years, it turns out, Yancey (his birth name) has also called himself Mark Suzuki, Mark Yan, Kram Yecnay, Mark Yazzie, Dalaa Ba'Cho, and Jimmy War Eagle, along with his training-camp handle, Mark One Wolf. And he has at various times identified his tribal roots as Cherokee, Shinnecock, Chiricahua Apache, Mexica, Navajo, and "Native American/Alaskan."

Get the Story:
New Fake Indian Joins Old Fake Indian In NY High School's R-Word Fight (Deadspin 3/6)

Also Today:
Akron, Lake Shore lacrosse team cancel games over Redskins mascot (WKBS 3/5)

Related Stories
Editorial: Mascot reflects history of violence and discrimination (3/4)

Join the Conversation