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  • Writer's pictureAntonio Gonzales

Native Americans plan protest of Washington Redskins name at FedEx Field

Activists hope to draw at least 500 people to a protest of the Washington Redskins name and logo at FedEx Field on Dec. 28, where the team will play its final game of the season against the Dallas Cowboys.

“Hopefully the message is getting across that we’re not going away,” said Tara Houska, the event’s lead organizer. She is an Ojibwe from Couchiching First Nation who lives in the District and works with the nonprofit Not Your Mascots.

Houska is arranging the upcoming demonstration along with the Minneapolis-based National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, which helped organize the largest-ever protest of the team’s name — estimated at 5,000 people — in Minnesota on Nov. 2.

American Indian Movement co-founder Clyde Bellecourt and local artist Gregg Deal are among those expected to speak outside a game that, given the team’s dismal season, may be sparsely attended.

Though activists consider the Redskins moniker deeply offensive, team owner Daniel Snyder argues that it honors Native Americans and has vowed never to change it.

The controversy has continued to grab national attention in recent months. In September, “South Park” devoted an entire episode to slamming the team and the NFL. “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” soon followed with an episode pitting fans against Native Americans. Then, last month The New Yorker magazine barbed the team with a cover depicting stone-faced Native Americans in a room with fans who are dressed as pilgrims. They are watching a football game amid a Thanksgiving feast.

Houska said she hopes this month’s protest will make people aware that, while few in number, the District is also home to Native Americans sensitive to the issue.

“There’s Native Americans everywhere,” she said.

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