Thread: History of term 'Redskins'
05-07-09, 06:05 PM #1
Answered: History of term 'Redskins'
Okay, so some people say the nickname "Redskins" is offensive. I've never actually met one of those people (the offended, not the Redskins), but I hear they're out there.
So what's the story, anyway? What's the real genesis of the term, and what was George Preston Marshall thinking when he changed the name from Boston Braves to Boston Redskins in 1933?
Last edited by Om; 07-15-09 at 08:35 AM.
07-15-09, 02:17 PM #2
i always thought marshall named the team after an american indian -- i don't remember if he was a friend or even a player, which leads you to believe that marshall's intention was to honor, not to offend, someone.
07-15-09, 03:16 PM #3
Honestly I could claim membership with the Cherokee tribe. My aunt is a citizen of the tribe and her and I both have discussed this in detail and neither of us can figure out why some think it is offensive. If my history is correct I though there was an indian tribe named the Redskins.
07-15-09, 07:20 PM #4
You can actually thank the Red Sox for the Redskins name in a way.......
here was a post from my blog that I did about the origins of the team name and logo, although I'm sure others probably could have done a better write up.
07-15-09, 07:26 PM #5
07-15-09, 07:49 PM #6
PM sent. Thanks.
07-15-09, 07:54 PM #7
When I meet a Native American I almost always ask if they are offended by the term. I have yet to get a negative response. The current logo was designed by a Native American.
07-15-09, 08:30 PM #8
My understanding is that when some Indians prepared for battle, they would apply red war paint. In other words, they would put on their "red skins" and go whup some ass, like we do against the Cowpukes. Has nothing to do with the melanin or pigmentation of their skin.
07-16-09, 08:49 AM #9
My grandmother (God rest her soul) was half Cherokee Indian and a huge Redskins fan.
Her and my grandfather both became fans when the Redskins moved to DC in 1937 listening to them on the radio.
Not once did she ever say that the term "Redskins" were offensive and she was very proud to have her team represent her heritage.
07-17-09, 07:22 AM #10
07-19-09, 07:42 AM #11
For those of you that don't know my history from "the other board", my Mom was Mr Cookes personal secretary from 1984 until The Short One rode into town in 99 and they were all fired.
Mr Cooke had a book, a large one, that was full of letters he had received over the years from American Indians (both fans and non-fans) sayng how proud they were that a professional football team had been named after them. Or in the later years when things started going PC, they simply wrote to say they took no offense to the name.
There are always going to be a loudmouthed few that hollar when it serves their purpose or is politically expediant. There may even be a few who are geuinely offended, but I think it's a very small minority
Last edited by Sarge; 07-19-09 at 07:44 AM.
07-19-09, 08:34 AM #12
your anecdote speaks volumes, sarge.
the only issue that gives me pause are the stories that i've heard that marshall was a bigot. wasn't he the last bastion of segregation in the nfl? i know, a different time and a different world. but this side of marshall may be what fuels the debate when redskin history is interpreted (or misinterpreted).
07-19-09, 08:39 AM #13
It could well.
All I know is that Mr Cooke wasn't bothered by the name and surely wasn't going to change it. I asked him directly one time in the late 80's if he was going to change the name and he said "certainly not".
Like I said, he had that book, and it was rather thick
07-21-09, 10:10 PM #14
After all these years, I never knew that about your mom--very interesting and thanks for sharing. I bet you've got a million anecdotes like the one you've shared in this thread about JKC's book. Pretty cool.a/k/a "iheartskins"
07-22-09, 11:20 PM #15
Living in Montana my only observation would be that there are many more positive ways to help out Native Americans other than making a ruckus over a harmless name. It seems like an affliction of my generation in that we need a cause even if there is no cause to be had.
07-23-09, 07:06 PM #16
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07-24-09, 08:47 AM #17
ran across this historical account of the Redskin term...
"...One interesting piece of evidence is the origin of the name Washington Redskins. In 1933, George Preston Marshall, the owner of the team, which was then located in Boston, renamed it the Boston Redskins in honor of the head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, an American Indian. When the team moved to Washington in 1937 it was renamed the Washington Redskins. George Marshall clearly did not consider the name disparaging."
"...the term redskin is a translation from native American languages of a term used by native Americans for themselves... The term entered popular usage via the novels of James Fenimore Cooper. In the early- to mid-nineteenth century the term was neutral, not pejorative, and indeed was often used in contexts in which whites spoke of Indians in positive terms."
see detail with citations:
07-27-09, 10:33 PM #18
- I am "part" native american, not enough to be a member of the Creek tribe though. It is a heritage I've always been proud of, and when I first became a fan at age 7, that is one of the reasons- the native American theme to the team. So for me, I find it an honor to be represented.
07-28-09, 02:27 PM #19
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08-01-09, 03:43 PM #20