DENVER — A national campaign to change the name of the Washington Redskins came to Denver this weekend with radio ads and a protest.
The ad, called “Legacy,” which two Washington D.C. radio stations pulled last week, aired this weekend in Denver.
On Sunday, two groups — American Indian Movement and Idle No More — rallied outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Their goal is to call attention to what they say is ongoing racism in popular culture against Native Americans.
“Hey, hey, ho, ho, racist mascots have got to go!” cheered the group of about 140 people.
“I’m out here to protest the Redskin mascot,” said Ruben Reddog of Pueblo.
He’s calling on the Redskins’ owner to change the team’s name.
“Dan Snyder, shame, shame, shame. Change the mascot, change the name!” the group shouted.
The group claims the name is racist and derogatory and refers to a bloody era in American history, when indigenous Americans were hunted, killed and forced from their lands.
“Even If I wasn’t native, I would still stand against this. I know this is wrong and inhumane. In 2013, the NFL should not be celebrating and honoring such racist mascot teams,” said Reddog.
The group’s chants grew louder as the D.C. team pulled into the stadium.
“We’re not your mascot!” they yell. “Change the mascot. Change the name!”
Then, they continued their march toward change.
“You don’t see there being team names like the New York Jews,” protestor Evan Herzoff said. “You don’t see that. That would be offensive. That would be outrageous. Why do we have a team name like the Redskins? That`s extremely racist. So it’s got to be changed,”
But not everyone agrees.
“I feel the Redskins should keep their name,” said Washington fan Carla Baca. “They’ve always had that name…I feel it’s tradition and it’s not meant in a bad way.”
“We are here to say (that) we are human beings,” Glenn Morris of Colorado AIM said. “This is our homeland and we’re not going to surrender to the privilege of other people who want to treat us as their pets and mascots.”
This national campaign will continue at each of the team’s remaining road games.
“It didn’t start in Denver and it’s not going to end in Denver,” Morris said. “This will follow the team all over the country, wherever they play.”
The campaign plans protests two weeks from now in Minneapolis, followed by Philadelphia and Atlanta.