The invaluable contribution of Native Americans to US sports (especially football) has been lost amid the rampant use of racist names and mascots. It’s time Native Americans and their land receive recognition and respect from teams that have stereotyped and capitalized on their culture for decades. We’re asking the professional sports franchises to lead the way by officially recognizing the original inhabitants of the land on which their stadiums are built and their games are played.
- A moment of acknowledgement during routine opening ceremonies, widely practiced in Canada, is a powerful way to honor those whose land and homes have been lost during centuries of colonization.
- A plaque of respect and recognition is added to each stadium, signifying respect and recognition to the treaties promised to them by our government.
Sign our petition to help fight racism and undo the damage of Native American names and mascots in professional sports.
This petition began with letters to Daniel Snyder, owner of The Washington Football Franchise (formerly known as The Washington R*dSk*ns) and Clark Hunt owner of the Kansas City Chiefs (see letters below). We asked that the teams do more than simply change their name or prohibit fans from wearing headdresses and Native American style face paint, that they take a step towards the restoration of racial harm by honoring the land on which their team plays, through land recognition. Beyond the major franchises (Atlanta Braves, Edmonton Eskimos, Chicago Black Hawks, Cleveland Indians) there are still over 2000 High College and College teams that use Native American names and mascots. This petition is also intended for smaller teams and communities to make change by removing harmful stereotypes and derogatory names.
THE USE OF RACIST NAMES MUST STOP
Using Native American names, mascots, and imagery in sports enforce racist stereotypes and inflict psychological harm. They perpetuate caricatures and misuse cultural symbols and practices. It is past time to end this defamation and name changes are not enough to redress decades of racism, prejudice and harm.
- Atlanta Braves
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Cleveland Indians
- Kansas City Chiefs
Between 1893 and 1917 The Carlisle Indian Industrial School, an Indian Boarding School, produced one of the most brilliant college teams in history. Beating famous Ivy League schools year after year, this team gave the world the legendary athlete Jim Thorpe. Were the skills of this team too threatening? Why are there now so few Native Americans in Major League Sports? Why has this history been erased? Through education via Land Recognition we can teach new generations an anti- racist history and encourage respect for indigenous athletes.
WHAT IS LAND RECOGNITION? AND WHAT DOES IT ACHIEVE?
Land Recognition is a formal process that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. It helps to address centuries of invisibility and disrespect and is inherently healing. FedEx Stadium, home of the Washington Football Team is located in Prince George’s County Maryland. It is built on land that once belonged to the Nacotchtank Nation, a people who are now extinct. We believe that if all sports teams, (starting with those that have appropriated the names and mascots of native peoples), honor the land their teams are playing on, all Americans will start to learn the true history of this country as well as the legacy of racism in sports.
Whose land are you standing on? https://native-land.ca.
To learn more about our work on Native American justice, please visit our Native American Justice page.
ADD YOUR NAME to the petition and help make a change!