If you sat down to watch Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Miami or Game 3 in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington, you were probably wondering about that “Proud to Be” PSA you saw, right?
+ Watch the NCAI’s PSA Here
We’re here to break it down for you.
The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation paid for those primetime TV spots, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen it: the National Congress of American Indians originally produced the PSA in January. The video was originally released just in time for this year’s Super Bowl.
The video chronicles the lists of names associated with Native Americans; the most notable exception, of course, being the derogatory “R” word. The PSA was created to encourage the name change of the unfortunately titled Washington football team.
This isn’t the first time an Indian name, reference, or slur was used as the mascot for a sports team, however. The website “Change the Mascot” has listed a “History of Progress” which details the victories the nations have won in successfully have mascots changed.
You might not think this issue concerns you, but this a civil rights issue at its core. If we’re not going to allow other derogatory terms to be used – and make celebrities repent when they slip up – then we shouldn’t allow this one.
For those who need to brush up on their Native American history, the NCAI has a great overview that explains tribal rights and how they’re governed. Did you know, for example, that there are 566 “federally recognized Indian Nations (variously called tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities, and native villages)” in the US? Of those, approximately 229 nations can be found in Alaska.
Just like we publicly condemn appropriation, we need to step up and demand the prevalent Washington football team change its mascot.
For specific ways to take action, you can visit “Change the Mascot’s” site here.
Find out more about the NCAI.