A Native American group is not happy that their voice hasn’t been heard within a national debate about the former “Washington Redskins” NFL team, now named the Washington Commanders. This group wants its voice heard by all parties involved.
The Native American Guardian’s Association (NAGA) has tried to get the team’s ownership and the NFL to change back to the original name but with no results. Not only has the team ignored NAGA’s requests, but now the organization is claiming that the team has harmed them.
NAGA filed a lawsuit on Monday in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota that claims the Commanders have a “monopoly on the narrative” regarding Native Americans’ thoughts on the team’s name change in 2020 from the iconic “Redskins” brand. NAGA is seeking $1.6 million in damages.
The lawsuit names as parties team owner Josh Harris, sales representative Matthew Laux and the National Congress of Americans (NCAI). NAGA claims they are colluding to both defame and suppress their association that represents Native Americans across the entire country.
NAGA’s attorney, Chad LaVeglia, has said the franchise has ignored them on numerous occasions. He wants people to know that the former logo on the team helmet represented an actual person. What has been said about the logo, LaVeglia believes, is defamation against Native Americans.
From the Daily Caller:
“The logo on the Redskins helmet is an actual person, it’s (Blackfoot) Chief (John Two Guns) White Calf,” LaVeglia said. “Every time they go out on that field, they were honoring Chief White Calf and they were battling on the football field with the same honor and integrity and courage.”
NAGA supported a petition this summer demanding that the organization reclaim its traditional Redskins identity. The petition went viral and generated 150,000 signatures.
NAGA wants the team and NFL to continue to honor Chief White Calf and all Native Americans. Many fans of the team have been vocal about keeping the former name and have been critical of how the team managed the name change.
The lawsuit even states that, “Commanders is a fitting name for oppressors,” and “The name ‘Redskins’ carries deep cultural, historical, and emotional significance, honoring the bravery, resilience, and warrior spirit associated with Native American culture.”
There are many historical connections to the team and Native Americans that people don’t often know about. According to Fox News, among other contributions to Native American history, White Calf forced the federal government to recognize and honor Blackfoot tribal claims.
The team’s original name and logo were inspired by 17th-century Lenni Lenape Chief Tammany, celebrated by colonial troops who fought the American Revolution as “the Patron Saint of America.”
Sounds like these are great Americans worth celebrating on and off the gridiron.
- Native American group continues to fight to return “Redskins” to the NFL.
- The Native American Guardian’s Association (NAGA) files federal lawsuit.
- NAGA wants their voice heard in narrative about Native Americans.