Statement on Washington Football Team’s Retirement of R-word Mascot

July 13, 2020 / Comments Off on Statement on Washington Football Team’s Retirement of R-word Mascot

News

The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians (FTBMI) supports the retirement of the NFL Washington DC’s team (race-based) name and mascot. 

FTBMI is grateful for and indebted to the dedicated Native elders, leaders and activists in our community for their decades of advocacy towards eliminating racist mascots in our homelands. Racist mascots promote harmful ideologies and stereotypes of our people, thereby diminishing the humanity and personhood of our people while also promoting violence against Native Americans.

FTBMI commends the Washington Football team for eliminating a name and a mascot that originated in the literal “red skin” bounty hunters would collect in order to receive reimbursement for the Native Americans they murdered. “Our people are not mascots or caricatures. As citizens of a tribe near a metropolitan area, Los Angeles, our people are virtually invisible. Our depictions as mascots perpetuate centuries-long hatred and violence towards our people. The exposure to race-based mascots erodes self-worth and self-image in our youth,” says Rudy Ortega Jr., Tribal President. “Today, we can finally celebrate the removal of the R-word mascot and respectfully ask other sports teams and educational institutions to do the same.” 

Citizens of the FTBMI are descendants of the California Indians who survived the California Indian Genocide waged in the early years of its statehood and for the decades following. “The literal killings, enslavement, and taking of tribal lands is not adequately taught within public education nor reflected in contemporary policies to address the resulting historical and intergenerational trauma,” Pamela Villasenor, FTBMI citizen and Director of the Tribe’s Health and Social Wellness Department. “The coupling of historically inaccurate narratives and bias iconography, such as race-based mascots, fuel the continued marginalization of Indigenous Peoples by removing control of even their own names while hearkening an era of deep trauma.” 

###