Redskins name defender not chief, probably not Native American

By CAROLINE LEE,  |  June 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM
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Redskins owner Dan Snyder has stood by keeping the Redskin name despite several letters from Congress asking him to change the team's mascot.

His latest effort to prove the term is not offensive came in a broadcast of Snyder's TV show, "Redskins Nation." On the show, they introduced a guest as Chief Dodson. A press release put out after the taping described Dodson as "a full-blooded American Inuit chief originally from the Aleutian Tribes of Alaska" that "represents more than 700 remaining tribe members."

Dodson defended the Redskins mascot and said that he and his people were "honored" by the name.

"Being a full-blooded Indian with my whole family behind me, we had a big problem with some of the things that were coming out [in the name debate]," he said. "I think they were basically saying that we were offended, our people were offended, and they were misrepresenting the Native American nation. We don't have a problem with it at all -- in fact we're honored. We're quite honored."

"It's actually a term of endearment that we would refer to each other as," Dodson said.

"When we were on the reservation, we'd call each other, 'Hey, what's up, redskin?' We'd nickname it and call each other 'Skins.' We respected each other with that term."

But recent reports show that Dodson, whose real name is Stephen D. Dodson, is not really a chief. In fact, only person that calls Dodson "Chief" is Dodson himself, and anybody that reads "Chief Dodson" embroidered on the chest of his Charley's Crane Service shirt.

In a recent Washington Post poll, a majority of Washington area residents have said the team should keep its name. Columnist Dan Graziano said he thinks public opinion should not matter, however, or whether the Redskins PR team finds someone like "Chief" Dodson or Robert Green, another supposed Native American that says he isn't offended.

"Respectfully, I just don't see how the opinion of Robert Green, or Native Americans polled in 2004, or D.C.-area residents polled in 2013 matters at all with regard to whether the name should be changed," Graziano said.

"For every Robert Green the proponents of the name can find to back their side, there's another prominent Native American who'll back the side of its opponents. It's like a TV courtroom drama in which the attorneys find 'expert witnesses' who'll say what they want them to say on the witness stand."

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