Va. Native Americans react to Redskins patent decision - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Va. Native Americans react to Redskins patent decision


The leaders of local Native American tribes are reacting to the Trademark Board's ruling.

While a couple called this a "crazy controversy," most said there is no doubt the term "Redskins" is an ethnic slur, which is on par with some of the worst in our language.

"It's just something that should be done away with," Upper Mattaponi Tribe Chief Kenneth Adams said.

Most we spoke with expressed overwhelming support for Wednesday's Trademark Board ruling, which some local Native Americans are hoping is the beginning of the end for the "Redskins" name.

"There are a lot of Virginia Indians that like that particular team, but the way that the name is used is totally inappropriate," Chief Adams explained.

He believes outside of football, he has never heard the word "Redskins" used in anything but a negative manner.

"If you were to go and talk to any individual Native American and refer to that particular person as a "Redskin" he or she would take that reference as disparaging," Adams said. "No one wants to be called directly face-to-face: ‘Redskin.'"

There are some leaders who didn't feel comfortable talking with us on camera. They say often there are varying opinions in the tribe, some who support the "Redskins" name, some who want it changed and some who fall right in the middle. Whatever the feeling, it is clear this is a frequent topic of conversation.

Those conversations have been occurring all over the Commonwealth, where you'll not only find a lot different Indian tribes, but a large contingency of people who have been die hard "'Skins" fans immersed in a history of controversy.

"We get into a situation where things are considered to be OK because they've been used in language for so, so long," Adams added.

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