Today, several thousand Native Americans converged on Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, protesting the continued existence of the Washington Redskins team name. “Who are we? Not your mascot!” chanted the protesters, hoisting signs and banners out side the stadium where the Minnesota Vikings were hosting the Redskins.
Minnesota police estimates put the crowd’s size somewhere in between 3,500 and 4,000, while the organizers claim 5,000 people came out.
The Washington Post reports that this is the largest ever protest against the name, surpassing the crowd of 3,000 who turned out when the Buffalo Bills played Washington at the Super Bowl in Minnesota.
“We are here to tell the NFL there is no honor in a racial slur,” proclaimed Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) in a speech the demonstrators. “Here in Minnesota we have 11 proud tribal nations, but only 150 years ago, their ancestors, men and women, elders and children, were hunted and murdered for profit. This was a government-funded policy of genocide. The pain of this brutal and shameful history is still with us.”
Fans attending the game gave Post reporters a different story. “To me the name is respectful,” said Tony Cansler, a 53-year-old maintenance worker. “They should take pride in the name.”
This protest comes on the heels of an incident in June, when high school students in Pennsylvania were unable to ban the term Redskins from their school newspaper.
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