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At Summit, Native American Leaders Say Redskins Should Drop The Name

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Native American leaders don't feel honored by the Redskins' name, and they'd like to see Washington's football team drop it.
Keith Allison
Native American leaders don't feel honored by the Redskins' name, and they'd like to see Washington's football team drop it.

As hundreds of Native American leaders gathered in D.C. for an annual summit this week, they talked Washington football — but not because they're fans of the Redskins.

Here in Washington we've been hearing a lot from athletes, commentators and politicians about whether it's time for the Redskins to change their name. Those discussions are also taking place among Native American leaders from across the U.S. and, unlike at your local pub, there isn't really any debate.

"There shouldn t even be a question about that. If it hurts someone's feelings then they should change the name," says Tommy Christian from Montana's Fort Peck Reservation.

Even as Native American leaders try to tackle the soaring crime and poverty rates on their lands, Christian says they're still taking some time to focus on the Redskins because they see the name as grossly offensive.

"That's a sad thing that anybody, any people would continue to accept, just for the sake of money, degrading a whole nation of people," he says.

David Bean of the Puyallup Tribe of Takoma, Washington says his tribe is playing a very D.C. game in trying to affect change: lobbying. "We've reached out to our local organizations, the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Marines, Seattle Senators, and asking them to join us in sending the message back here to D.C. that this is offensive," he says.

Earlier in the week some tribal leaders reportedly praised the president at a White House meeting for saying he'd consider a name change if it were up to him.


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