The Washington Redskins football organization announced on Monday that they would be officially retiring their name and logo, a depiction of a Native American man, amid a societal push for racial sensitivity.
A replacement has not yet been announced.
However, Lance Wetzel, the son of the Native American who designed the logo, disagrees with the decision.
Wetzel argued the logo is not offensive but “evokes a sense of pride” when he sees it. He also argued the history of the logo and the people it represents should not be forgotten.
ABC News affiliate 13 News Now reports Washington’s logo has been an Indian chief since 1971, when it was first designed by Native American Walter “Blackie” Wetzel.
The report adds:
Wetzel grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana and was eventually elected president of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C.
He was instrumental in the Redskins franchise logo change from an “R” to the current depiction of a Native American.
The logo was created to depict someone of the Blackfeet tribe and honors their legacy.
Concerning the decision to change the logo, Lance Wetzel said: “Everyone was pretty upset.”
Changing the name of the team and the use of the logo are different issues, Wetzel argued.
“Everyone understood the name change we were all on board with that. Once they weren’t going to use the logo, it was hard. It takes away from the Native Americans,” he said. “When I see that logo, I take pride in it. You look at the depiction of the Redskins logo and it’s of a true Native American. I always felt it was representing my people. That’s not gone.”
“The Native Americans were forgotten people. That logo, lets people know these people exist,” Wetzel added. “If it were changed and it removed any derogatory feelings toward any person, then I think it’s a win. I don’t want that logo to be associated in a negative way, ever.”
13 News Now adds:
The Redskins logo is a picture of John “Two Guns” White Calf, a Blackfeet Chief who also appears on the Buffalo Nickel.
Washington’s NFL team launched a “thorough review” of the Redskins name on July 3, after a new rise in calls to change it due to its offensive nature to Native Americans.
The franchise had used the nickname since 1933.
Over the past few years, the Washington Redskins have brought in Blackfeet tribal hand drum, Blackfeet singers and shared that imagery with the fans.
— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) November 24, 2019