Oklahomans split on Redskins trademark decision
OKLAHOMA CITY — People across the country are joining a decades-old debate in Oklahoma: are Native American mascots okay?Wednesday, the U.S. Patent Office canceled six Washington Redskins trademarks because they "were disparaging to Native Americans when they were register."Groups have been working in Oklahoma to get rid of Native mascots for years. Still, many Oklahomans do not agree they need to go."I don't think they mean it now as being derogatory. I think that's just the name," Sam told FOX 25.Brent Sanner posted on the FOX 25 Facebook page, "I, as a person of Indian heritage do NOT take offense of namesakes and I've watched for several years and have never seen the Washington Redskins belittle in any way the American Indian culture."Still, others say names like "Redskins" have to go."I believe with changing times, we have to adjust with social conventions, so if a change needs to be made we need to make these changes," Oklahoman Jose Escapa said.Oklahoma group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry is celebrating the Patent Office's decision."We also found the arguments put forward by the Washington, DC NFL franchise in the trademark case disingenuous. The term Redsk*ns may seem to refer to people in the DC area only to football but this speaks to the elimination of Native voices in the community through the historical fact of genocide. It has only been through the advent of social media and the work of the 900+ Native members and their allies of EONM that many of the team's fans have ever even spoken to a Native person about how they feel about the name. Citing our elimination from the American consciousness because of genocide is not an acceptable argument to continued use of a slur.," the group said in a statement."I think a lot of people don't understand the historical basis for the name in the first place," Summer Wesley said.Wesley is a tribal attorney who also works with EONM. She has spent about 15-years fighting for the cause.Wesley says Native mascots, even those that aren't derogatory are damaging because they perpetuate stereotypes and racism and portray on a caricature of Indian peoples."I've found that very few people understand the physiological and sociological impact that stereotypical representations in sports and media have on society on a whole, especially developing children," Wesley said.