August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, January 30, 2015

Native Women to Protest Redskins Ethnic Slur in Phoenix: Superbowl and Domestic Violence

Native American Activists Tell NFL ‘No More’ Stereotypes--
Hold Vigil/Protest at Super Bowl

By Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst
Jacqueline Keeler
January 28, 2015
PHOENIX -- Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, a national group of Native parents dedicated to ending the mascotting of Native people and their allies from across the country are calling upon Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner to truly show his commitment to stopping Domestic Violence by Retiring the Use of the Ethnic Slur ‘Redskins’ and Supporting Native Women’s Domestic Violence Programs.

Joined by Native American women’s groups from across the country including the Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, the Montana Native Women’s Coalition and the Native American Women’s Health and Education Resource Center, we will be protesting during the Super Bowl in Phoenix and holding a vigil the night before on Saturday, January 31st to tell the National Football League to recognize that the Washington football team’s continued insistence on using the Redsk*ns as a team name continues to promote an idea that Native people’s bodies are inherently a matter of monetization and objectification.

Historical media stereotypes cannot be divorced from the attacks on Native bodies through the sale of our ancestors’ body parts for real-life bounty—as seen, for instance, in this 1863 newspaper clipping promising the modern equivalent of $3,800 for “every red-skin sent to Purgatory”—and the cutting of body parts of Native men, women and children for keepsakes by U.S. Soldiers (particularly genitalia). And, in turn, this view of Native people as nothing more than body parts used for amusement or profit translates to the perception of Native women as inherently “rapeable.”

"Native American women in the United States experience the highest rates of sexual assault the country. According to the Department of Justice, one in three Native women will experience rape; Native women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes than any other race. Nearly two-thirds of the time, white American men are the perpetrators of these assaults—Native women are the only group to be more likely to be victimized by someone not of their race.”

Some of these issues are related to jurisdictional gaps on reservations, which the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 was meant to address. But others are clearly the result of stereotypes white men in the United States are still taught about Native women, which sexualize them and devalue them.

“We really want to make the connection that this mascot issue and the name issue really is bigger than just simply changing the name, that there are deep connections with how American Indians are perceived and how stereotypes really do harmfully impact American Indians,” said Nicholet Deschine, a doctoral student and member of the Diné and Lakota tribes who has helped organize past protests against the name in Arizona.

“A lot of the stereotypes promoted by mascots are…the warrior image. The flip-side of that is the ‘Poca-hottie,’ the Savage Squaw, the person who is sexually available to the white man, and that is a big part of the story of America, this idea that there is some Indian princess out there,” [Jacqueline] Keeler said, pointing to images of Washington cheerleaders, who have in the past dressed in their own Native American costumes.

“How white men view us matters,” she added. “These stereotypes that people have are so powerful. They really mislead them about Native people, they cause them to harm Native people. This is why they have to stop.”

This is why we are asking Goodell to live up to his promises to tackle Domestic Violence in the NFL and recognize that they mirror what Native people are asking for too. And that this requires the elimination of the mascotting of Native people and the promotion of stereotypes by the NFL that not only marginalize but lead to the victimization of Native women in very real ways.

Our petition to Goodell began just days ago on Saturday, January 24th, 2015 and it already has over 9,000 signatures which has raised funds for Native American women’s organizations across the country. We ask all to sign and contribute and let Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington NFL team that help for Indian Country should not be predicated on the use of outdated stereotypes for profit and harm Native people.

Important hashtags: #StereotypesNoMore /  #MMIW  / #NoMore.

Saturday, January 31 at 6:00pm
*Vigil in solidarity for missing and murdered Indigenous women
Civic Space Park, Downtown Phoenix AZ

Sunday, February 1 at 10:00am
*March and Rally for #StereotypesNoMore
March route TBA
Civic Space Park, Downtown Phoenix AZ

Supported by:
Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
Montana Native Women's Coalition
Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center
AIM Orange County, AIM Southern California
Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry
Logo credit: Native Women's Society of the Great Plains
Media support, Netroots Nation

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