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Indians challenge use of ‘Redskins’ name August 15, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in American Indians, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Football, Indians Fight Redskins Name, Morning Star Institute, Native American Journalists Association, NFL, Petition, racially offensive, Redskins trademark, Suzan Shown Harjo, Washington, Washington Redskins.

American Indians have filed a new legal challenge to the Washington Redskins’ trademark, contending the NFL team’s name is racially offensive, speakers at the Native American Journalists Association national convention said Friday.

A petition to cancel the trademark was filed Friday with a board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington.

“There is no compromise with racism,” Suzan Shown Harjo, president of the Morning Star Institute, said at the conference. The institute is a Washington-based non-profit organization that advances Indian causes.

“Power concedes nothing,” she said. “You have to go in and make change happen.”

The patent office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board backed a similar petition filed in 1992. That decision was overturned on appeal, but the door was left open for another attempt to invalidate the trademark, Harjo said.

“The Washington football club name has been determined by three trademark judges and the majority of native Americans to be offensive,” she said.

Bob Raskopf, an attorney representing the NFL and the Washington Redskins, said Thursday he couldn’t comment on the petition because he has not seen it yet.

The petition was filed by six American Indians ranging in age from 18 to 24. It states that the Redskins trademark should be canceled on grounds that it is a “pejorative, derogatory, denigrating, offensive, scandalous, contemptuous, disreputable, disparaging and racist designation for a Native American person.”

“This public act of allegiance by Native American youth with the efforts of their elders to combat intolerance is truly heroic and reflects a courageous willingness on the part of these young people to protect Native peoples from slurs and vulgarities,” Harjo said.

Source: USA Today


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