Thank you, Daniel Snyder, for continuing to remain the Clueless Caucasian, for being true and loyal to ignorance and insensitivity. In the letter you wrote to season-ticket holders Wednesday, you just made it easier, less confusing and more acceptable for people to agree to remove permanently "Redskins" as the nickname for your Washington NFL team.
"After 81 years," wrote the Washington owner, "the team name 'Redskins' continues to hold memories and meaning of where we came from, who we are .<TH>.<TH>."
So, by Snyder's reasoning, it's more important to remember that Sammy Baugh once quarterbacked the Redskins rather than to go back a little further in American history than 81 years, to see a much different image of what the name "Redskin" implies and means.
The Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, the isolating of people on God-forsaken moonscape locations called reservations and the caricature of mascots in headdress running up and down sidelines whooping it up — well, those are important memories, all right. Yes, they all have their place.
But really, how can anyone forget Dec. 8, 1940, when the Redskins got more first downs in the NFL championship game than the Chicago Bears but still lost, 73-0! What a warm, fuzzy, gooey cuddle that is. What a good reason to keep "Redskins" name around.
"We have a rich, complicated history," said Greg Sarris of the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria. "To reduce us to stereotypes, to ignore the past, to ignore the genocide, is not only demeaning, it's dangerous as well. When I first started pushing for a casino, I saw bumper stickers that read, 'Not Here Tonto.' I would receive hate mail that would read, 'The only good Indian is a dead Indian.' "
Those words are from five years ago, not 200 years ago. The words haven't changed, only the years have. That they lasted this long reveals one thing. "Redskins" is not a compliment. Neither is "Braves" or "Chiefs" or "Indians." Neither is the Tomahawk Chop or war paint. All that strikes one image to Sarris.
"Wagon burners," Sarris said. "Dangerous people." People who scare. People who live for the spilling of blood. Is that how a white person would want to be seen? Of course not, but a separation exists between the cultures, one that Reg Elgin observed Sept. 27.
Elgin, 75, is a former tribal elder and cultural adviser to the Pomos. On that date, Elgin attended the 46th Annual Native American Days celebration at the state capitol in Sacramento.
"Governor (Jerry) Brown invited Indians from all over the state to attend," Elgin said. "It was the first time a California governor did that."
Elgin stopped talking for a moment to let the information register. This celebration has been going on for 46 years and yet this is the first time a California governor extended a simple invite.
In Brown's proclamation on that Friday to the 55 tribes, he said: "In his 1851 address to the state legislature, our first governor Peter Hardeman Burnett famously said, 'A war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct, must be expected.' "