On Monday, 15 Native American organizations, advocates and authors signed a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to force Washington’s NFL team to change its name. By Wednesday, more than 450 other groups had expressed their support.
In addition to changing the name, the letter asks the NFL to require the team to cease the use of Native American imagery, cease the use of polls to justify continued use of the name and ban the use of Native imagery from the league.
The Washington team name has been controversial for decades, and in 2006, Navajo social worker Amanda Blackhorse was the named plaintiff in a federal lawsuit seeking to strip the federal trademark rights from Daniel Snyder's team. But as national conversations about systemic racism have intensified after the death of George Floyd and others, many Native leaders believe change may be coming soon.
Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director of a nonprofit Native advocacy group called IllumiNative, recently launched a campaign called “The Time Is Now” advocating for a name change and has already seen results – like the letter to Goodell.