Harold R. (Hal) Foster’s Prince Valiant© Respective copyright/trademark holders.
If the NFL Football team in our nation’s capital changes its name to “Redscams” or something else because of political or social pressures, what good does that do anyone in real terms? Are we quits with tribal people for genocide, broken treaties, stolen children, cultures, languages, and unacknowledged contributions to our nation in war and peace and in every aspect of its constitution?
No, Native tribes still struggle to survive in a twisted maze of treaty rights and reservation lands that to this day they must battle to hold on to in the face of interests circling like coyotes beyond the campfire light. Don’t believe that railing against the Redskins football team solves anything for tribal interests, it does not.
Tribal interests in the 21st century are more corporate in nature than traditional. This recurring business of offense at a sports team logo is good for the publicity that no money can buy them. After everything the tribes have lost, and all they have suffered, still they must survive; so they adapt nobly and cunningly to the times, and play the hand they are dealt.
If we truly care about tribal interests we must start by looking hard into the mirror. Only by seeing past the cartoon images and two-dimensional ideas of Native American Indians can we see them as fellow human beings who live and breathe and suffer and heal as we all do every day. As many tribal acquaintances have expressed to me, the chief insult is to be seen as a stereotype and in effect made not human. I don’t claim to speak for any individual of any Native tribe as to whether he or she feels demeaned by the Redskins’ name or logo, or the term ‘Indian’ or something else; because each of them has a voice with which to speak for them-selves. Tribal leaders speak for the tribe just as politicians speak for Americans: ho ho, what a laugh.
Harold R. (Hal) Foster’s Prince Valiant
© Respective copyright/trademark holders.