Native American Leaders Push Lawmakers To Cancel Redskins Trademark | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Native American Leaders Push Lawmakers To Cancel Redskins Trademark

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Native American leaders met at the Capitol to pressure lawmakers to end federal trademarks enjoyed by the Washington Redskins franchise.

When people in the D.C. region hear "Redskins," they think football. But when many Native Americans hear the name, it sends shivers through them.

"This is what it means to us: it harkens back to those days when we were literally skinned and our body parts used for proof of Indian kill," says Suzan Harjo, president of the Morning Star Institute.

Native leaders are pushing legislation that would cancel trademarks of the name Redskins. Congressman Tom Cole (R-Okla) is from the Chickasaw Nation. He says the team should look to the example of the Wizards and just change its name.

"When you're in a community that is sensitive enough to change the name of its basketball team name from the Bullet to the Wizards because it doesn't want to promote violence this to me is a pretty obvious thing to deal with," Cole says.

This week, 61 faith leaders sent the Redskins a letter denouncing their team name.

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