I wanted to give a quick primer on that discussion for those who are interested, separating some of the mythology of the Washington Redskins mascot controversy from the reality. It’s not quite as clear as it seems, in either direction. And like many social justice movements historically, the allegedly aggrieved—Native Americans—haven’t come to anything resembling a consensus on this topic. (Don’t believe the hype.) That doesn’t mean that it’s not a social justice issue, though. Confusing, right?
The vast majority of Native people do not sit around wishing the Redskins would change their name. Most don’t care about this topic. Some do. Some actually like the name. Either way, there’s no consensus at all. A quick story: My first foray into illicit gambling came when I was in third grade and living on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. The Blackfeet Reservation is large and beautiful, struggles economically and has health indicators pointing in the wrong direction. There is 70 percent unemployment there, and about 26 percent of the population earns less than the poverty guideline. Despite these numbers and despite growing up with a single mom, I conjured up five bucks to make a bet on Super Bowl XVIII with my good buddy Alan Spoon. I didn’t know anything about football, but I had a particular interest in the game—there were some Indians playing.