By now, most people initiated to the National Football League know that there’s been an ongoing debate about the use of word “Redskins” as the team name for the Washington Redskins. Many Native Americans have spoke out against the term that they feel is derogatory. But Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has been quoted saying that the team will never change its name.
Snyder recently invited a man onto his Redskins Nation show who claimed to be a full-blooded Indian and a Inuit tribal chief. The man, whose real name is Stephen D. Dodson, was introduced on the show as Chief Dodson. Dodson went on to be very sympathetic to Snyder’s cause.
“Being a full-blooded Indian with my whole family behind me, we had a big problem with some of the things that were coming out [in the debate over the name],” he said. “I think they were basically saying that we were offended, our people were offended, and they were misrepresenting the Native American nation. We don’t have a problem with [the name] at all—in fact we’re honored. We’re quite honored.”
Dodson added that all the Indians he knows are fine with “redskins” even in a non-football context.
“It’s actually a term of endearment that we would refer to each other as,” Dodson said. “When we were on the reservation, we’d call each other, ‘Hey, what’s up, redskin?’ We’d nickname it and call each other ‘Skins.’ We respected each other with that term. … It’s not degrading in one bit.”
The funny part? Apparently Dodson is not really a tribal chief, and isn’t even close to being a full-blooded Native American:
When Indian Country Today ran a story about the Redskins Nation appearance, a commenter purporting to be Dodson’s relative said that Dodson’s native bona fides had been exaggerated. The commenter said Dodson is not a full-blooded member of any tribe and is in fact one-quarter Aleut, not Inuit. And “Chief”? “[T]hat was his nickname,” the commenter wrote.
Carla Brueshaber, who identified herself as Dodson’s sister, said she had nothing to do with the Indian Country Today comment, but she confirmed that Dodson wasn’t as advertised on the Redskins program. “No, he’s not a chief, not technically. It’s a nickname,” said Brueshaber, now living in Bellefontaine, Ohio, where Dodson went to high school, according to his 2000 wedding announcement in the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.
I honestly can’t say I am surprised at Daniel Snyder’s pathetic attempt to gain sympathy and support from the public. True Native Americans find the word Redskin highly offensive and most have spoke out against its use as a team name at all levels of competitive sports. I am part Native American, and my grandmother told me the term Redskin is definitely derogatory when I asked her about it.
As for Dodson, I am sure he just jumped at his chance for five minutes of fame, and he can go back into the wood work now that he’s been exposed as a fraud. If I had to bet, I’d put my money on the name being changed sooner rather than later. The look on Daniel Snyder’s face will be priceless when it happens.