A Native American group that advocates for sports teams with Indian names has organized a petition to ask the NFL’s Washington Commanders to change the team name back to the Redskins, the New York Post reported.
In their petition, which has already garnered over 120,000 signatures, the Native American Guardian’s Association (NAGA) argues that the term “Redskins” has “deep cultural, historical, and emotional significance” to Native Americans and honors their “bravery, resilience, and warrior spirit.”
The group said that the abrupt name change showed disregard for the “positive legacy” of the Redskins name.
In a letter posted on X and addressed to the owners of the Commanders, Josh Harris and Magic Johnson, as well as head coach Ron Rivera, NAGA calls on Americans to stand up to the “increasingly nonsensical culture wars” and asks the Commanders’ leadership to “recognize the history and value of the American Indian.”
The Native American Guardian’s Association describes itself as a non-profit group that advocates for “increased education about Native Americans,” particularly in public education.
Led by a board of Native Americans, the group seeks “greater recognition of Native American Heritage” in sports “and other public platforms.”
After years of pressure, former Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder agreed to drop the name in 2020, changing the name of the team to Washington Football Team during the 2020 and 2021 seasons before settling on the name the Washington Commanders before the 2022 season.
ESPN reporter Don Van Natta revealed in an interview last month that with the sale of the Commanders, it is possible that the new owners will change the name again as a way to distance the franchise from the tenure of disgraced former owner Dan Snyder.
The team was purchased in July for a record $6.05 billion.