8 Photos of Americans Celebrating the 'Proud Legacy and Traditions' of Native Americans


Saturday marks the beginning of Native American Heritage Month, the month originally declared in 1990 by then-president George H. W. Bush to give Native Americans a platform to share cultural traditions like music, art and dress and to express their concerns about issues within the Native communities, many of which are overlooked in everyday life. 

To honor the month, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation on Friday, which read in part:

"As we celebrate the rich traditions of the original peoples of what is now the United States, we cannot forget the long and unfortunate chapters of violence, discrimination, and deprivation they had to endure. "For far too long, the heritage we honor today was disrespected and devalued, and Native Americans were told their land, religion and language were not theirs to keep. We cannot ignore these events or erase their consequence for native peoples — but as we work together to forge a brighter future, the lessons of our past can help reaffirm the principles that guide our nation today."

Or, instead of listening to the president, you could just turn to one of America's favorite teams from one of America's favorite sports: the NFL's Washington Redskins.

According to Washington Redskins' team President Bruce Allen, "Our use of 'Redskins' as the name of our football team for more than 80 years has always been respectful of and shown reverence toward the proud legacy and traditions of Native Americans." (bold added)

Exactly! You don't need some presidential proclamation about honoring Native Americans when you know that the Washington Redskins and their fans are constantly demonstrating "reverence toward the proud legacy and traditions of Native Americans."

Just take a look at all this respect for "proud legacy" and "tradition" for yourself:

Image Credit: AP

Hmm ...

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Wait a minute ...

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Something doesn't seem right ...

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OK, hold on a second ...

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Wait, what?

Image Credit: Getty Images

OK, now you're just trolling me ...

Image Credit: AP

Oh, come on!

Well, when you look at it like that, maybe the Washington Redskins and their fans aren't necessarily the best people to honor Native Americans during this year's Native American Heritage Month. In fact, when you look at it like that, claims like those of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder that the team name "was, and continues to be, a badge of honor" start to sound a lot more like B.S. 

While we can continue to talk about honoring Native Americans with proclamations and heritage months, the fact remains that a professional sports team in a major sports league is still named the Redskins.

It can be easy to forget about that fact every once in a while, but during Native American Heritage Month most of all, it seems like a lie to pretend we're actually honoring their legacy while allowing such a racist team name to continue to exist in mainstream America. There are certainly many ways to honor Native Americans, but this isn't one of them.