Insult to Injury? American Indian Sports Mascots

Saturday, 01 February 2014 09:50 By George Lavender, Making Contact | Report
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They may not have made it to the Superbowl- but the “Washington Football team” has gotten a lot of attention this season- not so much for their performance on the field, but rather their refusal to change the name of their team.

From FedEx Field to High School Football teams, pressure is increasing on teams to stop using American Indian names and mascots.

The battle is playing out in stadiums, court rooms, and in the media. And some of America’s best known sports brands may be forced to change.


  • Gregg Deal, member of Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, artist, activist
  • Suzan Shown Harjo,  Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee advocate for American Indian rights
  • Fili Sagapolutele, congressional aide
  • David Grosso, DC councilmember
  • Sadie Makarechi, Jerry Neuwirth, Michael Wright, Washington football fans
  • Robert Jordan, President and CEO Justin-Siena High School
  • Dawson Del Dotto, Paul Brown, Sam Hoff, Lupe Padilla-Aguayo, current and former Justin-Siena students
  • Scott Gabaldon, Tribal Chair Mishewal Wappo Tribe


  • George Lavender-Host/Producer
  • Nancy Lopez, Andrew Stelzer-Producers
  • Alice Ollstein-Contributing Producer
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

George Lavender

George Lavender is a producer for the National Radio Project. He joined the National Radio Project in 2012.  He has worked as a radio reporter for several outlets, including Pacifica and Radio France International.  In addition to Making Contact, George reports and edits for Free Speech Radio News.  He is also a member of FSRN’s steering committee.  His written work has appeared in The Guardian as well as local newspapers in the UK.  He has been involved in several media production groups in London and Vancouver.  He is keen to provide radio production trainings to community groups and grassroots organizations.  Follow him on Twitter @georgelavender, or email him at

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