MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 2, 2014) — U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (MN-4) spoke at the rally Sunday, where the nations of Minnesota’s Native American community protested the mascot and emblems of the National Football League’s Washington Redskins as an offensive logo that has no place in amateur or professional sports.
The Remarks by Congresswoman Betty McCollum:
Today, we are gathered in a spirit of peace and solidarity. It is in this spirit that I am so proud to be able to join so many tribal leaders and Native brothers and sisters from tribal nations across Minnesota and the country. I am honored to stand with you all!
I want to welcome Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation and express my admiration for Ray’s unyielding leadership of the Change the Mascot movement. Thank you, Ray!
Also, I want everyone to know this movement has the strong support of our Minnesota Senators – Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar – along with Congressmen Rick Nolan – have all joined the call to “change the mascot.”
Today we are raising our voices together in support of respect and dignity for all people. We are here to tell the NFL there is no honor in a racial slur. It is time to change the mascot!
Here in Minnesota we have 11 proud tribal nations, but only 150 years ago, their ancestors, men and women, elders and children, were hunted and murdered for profit. This was a government-funded policy of genocide. The pain of this brutal and shameful history is still with us.
But instead of joining us in seeking reconciliation and healing, Dan Snyder, Roger Goodell, and the NFL team owners are exploiting for profit this racial slur. The same racial slur used by those who murdered Dakota and Ojibwe people, and Native people all across this country.
If there is any decency in the NFL the time is now – change the mascot!
To our critics who say this is about being politically correct, I say respect and human dignity is morally correct. It is at the core of our shared values as Americans.
To those who say the NFL’s use of this racist mascot is a free speech issue, I say hate speech should never be free, it must be confronted, challenged, and condemned.
Brothers and sisters, together, as Minnesotans and Americans, we are sending a strong, unwavering message. Our campaign for respect will defeat the NFL’s racism!
Our campaign for dignity will defeat the NFL’s vile slur! Our movement for decency will triumph and the power of the people will win.
We will change the mascot!
We have brought this movement to a new level. But the journey continues. There is more work to do. We need your strength and your commitment to justice, equality, and respect for all people.
Together we will use our power, the power of the people, to reject racism and give hope to the next generation. And, once and for all, change the mascot!