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#NotYourRedskin: Wings Speaks Out Against Bribery and Blood Money

Washington Racists Press Release - Bribery

 

 

Sometimes events force us to take a public stand for what is right. Today is one of those times.

Word has leaked out that the Washington Red****s so-called “First American Foundation” is seeking to buy “legitimacy” and the appearance of Indian “cover” for its continued insistence on using and profiting from a racist anti-Indian slur through a bald-faced bribery attempt.

I have written at length for many years about the inherent racism in this particular slur, and the incalculable harm that it does — most recently, here. But today, Wings has decided to take the extraordinary step of issuing this public statement in opposition to the team ownership’s continued racist use of the name; its continued attempts to co-opt Indians to use them as “cover” to further their racist and exploitative agenda; and its continued attempts to bribe and browbeat Indians into silence on this issue. This statement, and this particular blog post, are explicitly signed jointly by both of us.

From Wings:

I make this statement today today as a matter of cultural and spiritual duty, of my obligation to our Native peoples, and of my obligation to my occupation as a Native artist.

I am unequivocally opposed to any and all use of Native-themed imagery, symbols, and cultural signifiers by non-Natives as mascots or for similar purposes. Appropriating such images and names steals our identity, our cultures, and that which we hold sacred — in many cases, some of the rare things left to us that have not already been stolen, warped beyond recognition, and used by unauthorized persons for improper purposes. I am especially opposed to the inherently racist use, under any circumstances, of the “Red****s” name, which is a vicious slur weighted with the scalps and skins, blood and bones of our peoples. It is a term of theft, rape, torture, murder, and genocide, and it has no place in a civilized society, particularly in so trivial a venue as a sporting event.

Zuni Pueblo is, of course, a sovereign nation, and it can do as its tribal leaders see fit. I express my hope, however, that this is merely an honest mistake on the part of someone there trying to help his or her people without knowing the backstory. Regardless of others’ motivations or intent, however, I cannot in good conscience participate as an artist, and I cannot remain silent.

I know that this statement means that I will lose some clients, and those who join me will likely do so, as well. It is a small price to pay for doing the right thing. We are still here because our ancestors were willing to sacrifice everything to ensure future generations’ survival for our peoples. We can do no less than honor their memories and their sacrifice by standing up and speaking out for what is right.

I hereby call upon my fellow Native artists, those of our Pueblo Nations and those of our brother and sister Nations across Indian Country, to join me in boycotting this attempt to buy cover with blood money. I also call upon you to join me in support of the fight to rid our peoples of the racism of redface mascotry in general. 

Ta’a (“thank you”).

~ Wings

From Aji:

I am not an artist, but a writer. I have lent my voice and my words to this cause for many years now, and will continue to do so until we have eradicated this sort of exploitative anti-Indian racism from sports and other public institutions and accommodations. I co-sign Wings’s statement, and support it and its sentiments wholeheartedly.

For our clients and friends who support us in this effort, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We encourage you to share this with your networks, on- and offline.

~ Wings and Aji

 

All content, including photos and text, are copyright Wings and Aji, 2015; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owners.

One thought on “#NotYourRedskin: Wings Speaks Out Against Bribery and Blood Money

  1. […] American artists, both Zuni and from other Tribes, have reacted strongly to this announcement, with some suggesting that artists organize to bring […]

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