In response to Dan Ford’s article: "The Washington Redskins shouldn't change their name."

Dear Dan Ford,

Your comments are incredibly ignorant coming from someone who isn’t Native American nor has walked in our shoes. I’m a Choctaw Native and I find the fact that you feel the need to comment on an issue that doesn't affect you personally to be offensive. I refuse to acknowledge the NFL team’s actual name because it’s a slur. It isn’t something to be proud to say out loud. We’re not a mascot. We’re people. We’re strong people. We didn’t go through the hell of being murdered, raped and abused for hundreds of years so that we can represent you for your sports team. We’re more than that. We didn’t suffer through your people pushing us off our land so that you can make fun of us. Because that’s what you’re doing.

I see how the sports fans dress up at the games in the tribal face paint and feathers without knowing the true meaning behind it. (You have to earn those by the way. You don’t buy them). You don’t see it as a problem and that’s the problem. Nobody sees it as a problem because nobody sees us as people. I realized it hasn’t been 100 years since we’ve been seen as people in America, but that gives you no right to make us feel like we don’t belong.

The term Redskin is just as equal to the word “N***” and the fact that you can’t see that blows my mind. When you look up the term “Redskin,” it even blatantly says that it’s offensive and outdated. You don’t have the New Jersey Negros or the California Crackers or the Colorado Chinks as sports teams. Why? Because everyone knows they’re offensive and racial slurs. I understand that you have “evidence” backing your article up, but all of it is white men stating that it was an “innocent” phrase and it is anything but. That survey is one out of many opinions from Natives in the U.S. and I frankly find that survey hard to believe. The survey received 504 opinions of Native Americans when there are about 5.2 million in the whole U.S. I’d like to argue that the survey is far from accurate. I don’t appreciate you speaking for us and I don’t appreciate your unwanted opinion.

Magala Stern is a first year political science major at Augsburg University. Contact Magala at sternjom@augsburg.edu.