Dec 17, 2013 - Historical Evidence Shows “Redsk*ns” True Genocidal Meaning, By Danielle Miller

Not much has changed since my last article about the NFL using the Redsk*ns moniker as a means to monopolize off genocide. Many Native Americans have spoken out in opposition to the Redsk*ns name through social media such as Last Real Indians on facebook and twitter, but our voices are often silenced or ignored. Twitter has started many hashtags such as #changethename, #FCCComplaintRSKIN, and #changethemascot to address the issue. Many joined the movement by reporting the use of the R word to the FCC.

It is no longer a question of whether Redsk*ns is racist, but rather, should it be tolerated? It has been established that native mascots in general are not an honor.

It seemed many were neutral on the situation until the sign at a Sonic restaurant went viral. It was clearly a blatant display of racism and a prime example of what these mascots perpetuate.

The same sentiment as a message on a SECOND Sonic Sign.

Compare displays of “school spirit” and “sportsmanship” to the modern day displays above and you can see that we are almost in the year 2014 and nothing has changed at all, in relation to the perception of Native Americans by the general public.

This recently circulated ad from a 19th century newspaper shows the connection between the Redsk*ns slur and genocidal violence against American Indians. It illustrates the haunting past of Redsk*n scalps being sold for bounty. People are still making excuses and justifications for it.

Many are still even denying that the Redsk*ns slur was used in the past to discriminate against Natives. I decided to go on a quest, as a result of which I found a preponderance of evidence showing the true meaning of “Redsk*n.” Dime novels made reference to Redsk*ns, with phrases joking about Native deaths.

Here’s a Dime novel, “Hunting down the Redskins.” 

There were many comics which made a mockery of natives with caricatures. Even one subtitled “The Redskin Riot.” How fitting, considering that is how mainstream America views Native Americans- depicting them as caricatures.  It’s considered to be one big riot; all the cultural appropriation, allusions to genocide, and multitude of microaggressions. The issue is not that we are sensitive, but that perpetuators are insensitive for believing that these actions could be a joke in the first place.

Redsk*n comic with another reference to scalping (Scalping knifes along the frontier).

A book titled Red Plume by Edward S. Ellis and Ellis, Edward Sylvester (1840-1916), showed the harmful connotations of the R word with other dated concepts of racial discrimination. The book didn’t just use the R word but also used the N word.  The Redsk*n word was associated with the Sioux (Oceti Sakowin, People of the Seven Council Fires). Here were some problematic examples I pulled from the book: “But my principle is, whenever you see a redskin, shoot him.” (P.239) “He deliberately scalped the savage, and then allowed him to disappear in the river.” (p.248) “I never scalped an Indian thats certain.” “…the minute you’re sure it’s a redskin, blaze away.” (p.229)

After my previous findings I wondered, why was there such an association of the redsk*n word with the Sioux? Never had I heard those associations before. This could be especially problematic considering the “Fighting Sioux” mascot was changed, and even that is considered by some to be less offensive than “Redsk*ns.”

This brings about the “Good Indian/Bad Indian” conversation. Indians who rebel against assimilation are considered to be savages and “bad Indians.” Anyone well versed in Native history knows the infamous phrase “the only good Indian is a dead one.” This was not only used in the literal sense, but also as a metaphor to civilize Indians and propagate the loss of their culture. The Redsk*ns term could have been used as a slur for the Sioux because they were so resistant to assimilation. Then it would later have been covered up as a term of endearment, much in the same way as the dynamics of the “Indian Princess” and “Noble Savage” stereotypes.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Sitting Bulls death (Dec. 15, 1890). Last Real Indians made postings about the significance of his role and why we need remembrance. Keeping in mind of what a vital role he had in preserving our culture, the last thing I want to see is his name to be degraded. Another Redsk*ns comic I found was titled:  “Sitting Bull-Red Devil of the Black Hills” I would never be able to support a team name that was once associated to a comic which referred to him as such.

There is no doubt that is dishonorable to one of our most significant cultural figures! But would some say the insult is still too vague? Another source was found titled: “Troops at Pine Ridge Ready to Check Any Hostile Movement. Orders to Arrest Sitting Bull Countermanded.” Sitting Bull and all the tribes who participated in the ghost dance were referred to as “Redsk*ns.” How much lower can you get to call Wounded Knee victims, Redsk*ns? The ghost dance is yet another historical movement in Native American history which should be respected. The manner in which they addressed the events that took place just showed their intention of the Redsk*ns name- it was used as a slur. This just reinforces my assertion that the slur was originally implemented as a way to oppress those who resisted assimiliation.

There were other articles which used the Redsk*n slur in negative ways but in my mind, I need no more evidence. I knew from the beginning, that this was not morally right. Now I have evidence to back up my intuition. People can defend the slur all they want but this does not change history and the original intentions that took place. Personally I will never be in support of anything which was used to degrade my ancestors. This is my dedication to Sitting Bull, the ghost dancers, and every single individual who resisted to keep our cultures alive. In the spirit of Sitting Bull I will never be a fool to trade our cultures, histories and legacies for a tradition of pigskin and brutality. No PR stunt will undo all the injustices and make this right.  Will you be on the side of history which chose to trivialize a culture and its history in the name of empty consumerism and sport?

Last Real Indians