WASHINGTON - A poll of American Indians found that an overwhelming majority of them are not bothered by the name of the Washington Redskins.
Only 9 percent of those polled said the name of the NFL team is “offensive,” while 90 percent said it’s acceptable, according to the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey, released Friday.
Annenberg polled 768 Indians in every state except Hawaii and Alaska from Oct. 7, 2003, to Sept. 20, 2004.
The survey found little disparity between men and women or young and old. However, 13 percent of Indians with college degrees said the name is offensive, compared with 9 percent of those with some college and 6 percent of those with a high school education or less. Among self-identified liberals, 14 percent found the term disparaging, compared with 6 percent of conservatives.
The franchise began in Boston as the Braves but was purchased in 1932 by George Preston Marshall, who changed the name to honor head coach William “Lone Star” Dietz, an American Indian. The team kept its monicker after moving to the nation’s capital in 1937.
The name and feather-wearing mascot have since been challenged.
A panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademarks in 1999 on the grounds that the name disparages American Indians in violation of federal trademark law. But last year, a federal judge ruled the team can keep its name, finding insufficient evidence to conclude it is an insult to American Indians.
Some Indian leaders are still pressing their case, noting that many schools with similar mascots referencing Indians have made name changes in recent years.
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