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How About Washington Oklahomans?

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 13
6/27/2014


By Taylor Ramsey

“Humma” means red. “Okla” means people. Those two words are attributed to the Choctaw Indians. Now go back 473 years ago to 1541 to Spanish explorer, Coronado, and his quest to find the “Lost City of Gold.” Combine that information and what do you get? You get Coronado designating an area of geography, which is now part of the United States, using two Choctaw Indian words meaning “red people” as Oklahoma!

What was Coronado thinking? It is disgraceful and disrespectful. I suggest we petition our elected representatives from our local cities to the United States Congress and our president to immediately change the name of our 46th state that was established on November 16, 1907.

Here is a better idea. We can use our resources from the fall-in-line members of the media, attorneys, politically correct busy-bodies and our government agencies to change the name of the team in the National Football League, currently known as the Washington Redskins, to the suitable name of Washington Oklahomans.

If Oklahoma is acceptable as the name of our 46th state, then naming the Washington Redskins the Washington Oklahomans, no matter how deceitful it may be, should surely get big media on board and if Senator Harry Reid supports it, this change will be completely agreeable to everyone.

I suggest we not allow the University of Notre Dame to continue to demean those citizens in our country who are of Irish decent by referring to them as fighters (see their logo). I believe there may be a few fighters among those of Irish decent, but overall, don’t you think there is a wide range of personalities that can be associated with the Irish? If so, how can we allow the University of Notre Dame to continue to humiliate our neighbors of Irish decent? We must demand that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rescind the University of Notre Dame’s trademark registration now.

The Redskins have played over 1,000 games since 1932 and I believe, based on my research, they have had the trademark since 1933. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Redskins trademark last week which means that after 4,212 weeks the government decided to cancel the Redskin trademark. No need for the government to rush to correct their giant blunder of 1933.

By the way, the Oxford Dictionary suggests the term “Redskin” was first recorded in the 17th century and it applied to the Algonquian people, specifically to the Delaware region. It did not refer to skin color but to their use of vermilion (scarlet red) face and body paint.

Should we believe that when the team’s name was originally decided on that the owners of the team wished to degrade Native Americans? Do we suppose that the team owners wish to disrespect Native Americans today? Of course not and it is foolish to believe so. Again in researching, I discovered that when the team moved to Fenway Park in 1932 the team wanted to honor and pay tribute to their coach, Lone Star Dietz, an American Sioux, by naming the team Redskins.

U.S. Senator Harry Reid said on the Senate floor, “The Redskins no longer have trademarks. They are gone. Daniel Snyder (Redskins team owner) may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it’s just a matter of time until he is forced to do the right thing and change the name.” However, polls show that most people do not find the name of the team offensive. A Public Policy Poll found that 90 percent of republicans, 59 percent of democrats and 65 percent of independents believe the name should not be changed.

When I think of the Washington Redskins I see their logo of the strong looking Native American in my mind, much as I view the log of the Chicago Blackhawks. I do not think less of Native Americans because of the name or logo. I look at it as a way to acknowledge so much of our history, both good and bad, and as a positive image of a group of Americans.

Football and hockey are tough and fierce sports that require teamwork, discipline, dedication and integrity to compete at a high level. Players who wear the name and logo are wearing it with pride and are doing all they can to work hard and honor their team no matter the name. Being associated with that is good, even for Native and Irish Americans.

If Americans believe the name Redskins is inappropriate, the team will fail. Americans and the marketplace should and do determine what is appropriate in a team name. The government, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and elected representatives such as Harry Reid, should have absolutely no influence in those decisions.
Washington Oklahomans….na, does not sound right.

taylor@longbeachcomber.com
Twitter: @TaylorPRamsey