The NFL team in Washington, D.C., previously known as the Redskins, will change its mascot to a more appropriate one, in step with the politically correct movement to banish apparent racism.
The team also is banishing Native Americans, and their achievements, from public consciousness.
So says Lance Wetzel, the son of the man who designed the team’s iconic Indian head logo. Lance recently said he is saddened to see the team retire his father’s accomplishment.
Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, a member of the Blackfeet tribe of Montana, designed the logo in 1971.
Lance told WUSA-TV that the logo has always given his family and his people a sense of pride.
“Everyone was pretty upset [about the change],” Lance told the outlet.
“Everyone understood the name change; we were all on board with that,” he said. “Once they weren’t going to use the logo, it was hard. It takes away from the Native Americans. When I see that logo, I take pride in it. You look at the depiction of the Redskins’ logo and it’s of a true Native American.”
“I always felt it was representing my people. That’s not gone.”
Lance, like most Native Americans, said he was never offended by the logo, which is a depiction of former Blackfeet Chief John “Two Guns” White Calf, the same man whose likeness appears on the Buffalo Nickel.
Now that White Calf has been canceled, Lance told WUSA it will make Native Americans less visible.
As an American Indian myself, it’s difficult to make a case against that.
“The Native Americans were forgotten people. That logo lets people know these people exist,” Lance said. “If it were changed and it removed any derogatory feelings toward any person, then I think it’s a win. I don’t want that logo to be associated in a negative way, ever.”
The Washington team and its owner, Dan Snyder, had resisted calls to change name for years, but capitulated to pressure from many of the same corporate entities that are funding the Marxist political group known as Black Lives Matter.
But once leftist corporate America and its money got involved, an 87-year legacy was toppled.
FedEx led a charge to force the name change, and other team sponsors soon got involved.
The Washington football team was forced to make a change.
“Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review,’’ the team said Monday in a statement.
“Dan Synder and Coach [Ron] Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years,” the statement added.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) July 3, 2020
But corporate America doesn’t speak for the American Indian.
The Redskins’ saga is reminiscent of the removal of Mia, the iconic Indian woman on the packaging of Land O’ Lakes dairy and other products earlier this year.
Mia, like Chief White Calf of the Redskins’ logo, is gone from public view.
Also, like the chief, Mia was redesigned by a proud Native American.
The Land O’ Lakes Indian, a colloquial by which she was known, was redesigned in the 1950s by artist Patrick DesJarlait of the Ojibwe tribe.
The original design was by illustrator Arthur C. Hanson; the company was founded in 1921.
DesJarlait’s son, Patrick, commented on the removal of his father’s work to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“I’m sad to see it go, but I can understand why it’s gone,” he said. “We live in a politically correct time, so maybe it was time to get rid of it.
“But in our family, my dad’s work is a source of pride for us. He broke barriers as an Ojibwe artist from Red Lake. Back then, you didn’t find native people in those kinds of jobs, and this gave him the opportunity to put his spin on a well-known native image,” Patrick said.
Apparently the answer to correct centuries of wrongs to Native Americans, at least for politically correct and mostly white liberals, is to ensure that all images of indigenous people are removed from American culture.
Native Americans overwhelmingly say they aren’t offended by imagery of Indians in popular culture, and many of us genuinely enjoy the blend of our heritage into mainstream culture.
We are, after all, Americans.
A 2016 poll from The Washington Post found that 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the name of the Washington Redskins.
The results of that poll apparently weren’t taken into account when woke activists aimed their ire at a sports franchise with a proud history.
The American Indian had no place at the table during that discussion.
But perceived stereotypes of Native Americans, such as the proud Chief in the Redskins’ logo, or Mia, aren’t likely to be updated to reflect more sensitive or crowd-pleasing versions of indigenous people.
They will be replaced with non-offensive symbols as the cultural impact of Native Americans and their achievements continue to be eroded.
The Washington football team shed its identity to please a loud few, and a tribe in Montana has lost a contribution to modern culture.
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