Recently, I was lucky enough to sit down with M. Andre Billeaudeaux who is the author of a new book entitled How the Redskins Got Their Name.
Obviously, the controversy over whether the NFL team’s name is racist is going to be a subject of debate for a long time to come.
I was on the fence as to whether the name was a racial slur. But after my interview with Andre, I came away completely convinced that those who view the name as being a derogatory slur against Native Americans truly lack an understanding of the history of the team as well as the history of the word “Redskin” itself.
The book is written as a children’s book, but it is a fascinating read for anyone who wants to really understand why the entire name controversy is bogus.
It would also be a particularly enlightening read for members of the Oneida Tribe who have been among the most vocal groups in their opposition to the use of the Redskin name for Washington’s football franchise.
As Billeaudeaux explains in the interview, the term “Redskin” was never intended to refer to then natural skin color of Native Americans at all, but rather refers to several tribes of Native Americans who adorned their skin with red paint for traditional purposes and before going into battle.
The Oneida are not one of these tribes so, in reality, they have absolutely no standing to protest the name.
As Billideaudeaux explained in a recent column:
“Clearly the Oneida are a separate “nation” from those who claim Redskin heritage and, per the opinion of Redskinned natives, have no say on the issue of the team’s name. It’s like the British (as a different nation) complaining or finding offense with the American NFL name “Patriot” – it’s not Britain’s business to complain about a team specific to our nation. Nor is it the Oneida “nation’s” business to complain about the Redskins “nation’s” name.”
Even if you are someone who doesn’t think the team should change his name, Billeaudeaux’s book is chock full of facts about the team and it’s name that readers have probably never heard. And for those who are adamant in their belief that the team name is racist and needs to be changed, the book will come as a revelation.
The book can be purchased now on Amazon.