(House of Representatives - June 27, 2013)

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[Page H4087]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
American Samoa (Mr. Faleomavaega) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, just yesterday on the cover page of 
The Washington Post newspaper, there was an article written by 
journalists Jon Cohen and Rick Maese that, according to a recent poll 
taken among the sports fans of the Washington, D.C. area:

       A large majority of area sports fans say the Washington 
     Redskins should not change the team name, even though most 
     supporters of the nickname feel the word ``redskin'' is an 
     inappropriate term for Native Americans.

  Mr. Speaker, not only is the term ``redskin'' inappropriate, but it 
is just plain offensive and derogatory towards Native Americans. And I 
want to share with my colleagues in Congress, and especially the 
American people, how the word ``redskin'' came about and its history.
  In 1749, it was a standard procedure among settlers who lived in what 
is now known as Maine and Nova Scotia to kill and scalp as many of the 
Indians as members of the Micmac Tribe. The same policy was also 
implemented in 1755 by settlers who lived in what is now known as the 
State of Massachusetts--that their object was to kill and scalp members 
of the Penobscot Indian Nation.
  Mr. Speaker, the policy was you get paid for killing and/or scalping 
Native American Indians. And if you kill an Indian boy, you get paid 50 
pounds. If you get a scalp of an Indian, you also get paid 40 pounds. 
For any female, Mr. Speaker, under 12 years old that you killed or 
scalped, you also get paid 25 pounds. Mr. Speaker, I submit that these 
scalps were also called ``redskins.'' Mr. Speaker, this is why this 
word is so offensive to Native Americans.
  Mr. Speaker, there's a saying in Indian country: ``Walk in a man's 
moccasins for 2 weeks before you pass judgment on that person.''

                              {time}  1040

  Mr. Speaker, my point is what if that scalp belonged to your mother 
or to your wife or daughter or your brother or sister or to your son or 
father? Mr. Speaker, it is my sincere hope that our Washington fans and 
the American public will come to realize why the usage of the word 
``redskin'' has brought nothing but a stark reminder of the horrors of 
how Native Americans have been treated for centuries.
  Mr. Speaker, I honestly believe in the fairness and decency of the 
American people. I believe that many of our fellow Americans did not 
know of the history of the word ``redskin,'' and I sincerely hope many 
others will come to a better understanding as to why Native Americans 
feel obviously offended by the use of the word.
  I hope Mr. Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football 
League, and all the NFL club owners will seriously raise this matter 
with Mr. Dan Snyder to try to change the name of his Washington 
football franchise. The NFL has a moral responsibility to take 
corrective action on this matter. It is the right thing to do.
  Under the mandate of the U.S. Constitution, Mr. Speaker, the U.S. 
Congress has both a legal and moral responsibility to look after the 
needs of our Native American nations. It is for this reason that the 
bill, H.R. 1278, was introduced to not allow or to cancel the 
registration of the word Redskins as a trademark name simply because it 
is a derogatory term and a racial slur against Native Americans.
  Mr. Speaker, don't get me wrong. I'm a great supporter and fan of the 
sport of football. In fact, I played 4 years of football in high 
school. Many of my relatives played both at the college level and in 
the NFL: the late Junior Seau of the San Diego Chargers; Troy Polamalu 
of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Jesse Sapolu of the 49ers, just to name a 
few. There are many others. My point, Mr. Speaker, is we need to 
correct this inequity. We need to show a little more respect for 
members of the Native American community.

               [From the Washington Post, June 26, 2013]

  Washington Redskins Name: Washington Post Poll Finds Most D.C. Area 
                            Fans Support It

                     (By Jon Cohen and Rick Maese)

       A large majority of area sports fans say the Washington 
     Redskins should not change the team name, even though most 
     supporters of the nickname feel the word ``redskin'' is an 
     inappropriate term for Native Americans, according to a new 
     Washington Post poll.
       The debate over the team's name has intensified in recent 
     months as members of Congress, activists and media 
     commentators criticized it as offensive to Native Americans 
     and lobbied for change. But most Washingtonians--61 percent--
     say they like the team's name, and two-thirds say the team 
     should not change it, according to the poll.
       Among Redskins fans, about eight in 10 say the team should 
     keep its name. Also, there's some evidence that changing it 
     might undermine support from some of the team's most ardent 
       ``It's been associated with the team for so long, I just 
     don't see any reason to change it now,'' said retiree Joseph 
     Braceland, 70. ``It was not meant to be derogatory.''
       A quarter of all area adults and slightly more than half of 
     self-described Redskins fans say they ``love'' the team name, 
     yet both groups overwhelmingly say that in general a new name 
     wouldn't make much difference to them.
       Among those who want to keep the Redskins' name, most--56 
     percent--say they feel the word ``redskin'' is inappropriate. 
     Only half as many--28 percent--consider the term as an 
     acceptable one to use.
       ``I think any word that you deal with, it depends on the 
     context,'' said Stephan Bachenheimer, a District resident who 
     works for the World Bank and supports the Redskins' name. ``A 
     lot of people have a hard time separating these issues.''
       The name has been subject to much criticism and public 
     debate this offseason, with both local and national leaders 
     urging the team to consider a name change, a request the team 
     has fervently resisted.
       In the new poll, 28 percent of all Washingtonians say the 
     team should change its name, far above the 11 percent 
     nationally who said so in a recent Associated Press poll.
       ``I don't believe in being super politically correct--I 
     have a sense of humor--but I think this name came about at a 
     time when there was very different awareness about the plight 
     of the American Indians,'' said Mary Falvey, 60, who works in 
     communications for the Food and Drug Administration. ``I just 
     don't think it's appropriate. There's increased sensitivity 
     about race in this country today--for the good.''
       While feelings about the team's nickname were similar 
     across most demographics, the percentage advocating a shift 
     in the D.C. area peaks at 39 percent among African Americans 
     with college degrees. (There weren't enough Native Americans 
     among the poll's 1,106 respondents for meaningful comparison; 
     Native Americans make up less than 1 percent of the 
     population in the region, according to Census data.)
       According to poll results, education plays a role more 
     broadly: 34 percent of all area college graduates say change 
     the name, compared with 21 percent of those with less formal 
       ``Leave the name alone,'' said Eileen Schilling, 52, who 
     works in construction sales. ``It's ridiculous. It's getting 
     completely out of hand. Pretty soon we won't be able to dye 
     our hair because it might offend someone. I'm Irish. Should 
     the Notre Dame Fighting Irish change their name because I 
     don't like it? Hell no. What about the Kansas City Chiefs? 
     The Cleveland Indians? Should the Eagles change their names 
     because it's a national symbol? It's ridiculous.''