Native American activists want Redskins name changed to Redhawks

Native-American activists rallying outside the FedEx field in Landover, Maryland, on Sunday have reignited the debate over changing the Washington Redskins football team name. They want the name to be changed to the Redhawks. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Native American activists rallying outside the FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, on Sunday have reignited the debate over changing the Washington Redskins football team name. They want the name to be changed to the Redhawks. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

The Rising Hearts Coalition, a Native-American activist group, held the rally. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
The Rising Hearts Coalition, a Native American activist group, held the rally. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

 They were also handing out shirts at the rally that had the Redskins's logo and the name the Redhawks on them. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
They were also handing out shirts at the rally that had the Redskins logo and the name “Redhawks” on them. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

Outside the game on Sunday, some fans agreed with activists, that the Redskins name should be changed. But other fans do not agree. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Outside the game on Sunday, some fans agreed with activists that the Redskins name should be changed. But other fans do not agree. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

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Native-American activists rallying outside the FedEx field in Landover, Maryland, on Sunday have reignited the debate over changing the Washington Redskins football team name. They want the name to be changed to the Redhawks. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
The Rising Hearts Coalition, a Native-American activist group, held the rally. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
 They were also handing out shirts at the rally that had the Redskins's logo and the name the Redhawks on them. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Outside the game on Sunday, some fans agreed with activists, that the Redskins name should be changed. But other fans do not agree. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

LANDOVER, Md. — Native American activists have reignited the debate over changing the Washington Redskins football team name. On Sunday, they rallied outside the FedEx field in Landover, Maryland.

Organizers of the rally want the name changed to the Redhawks.

The rally was organized by the Rising Hearts Coalition, a Native American activist group. The group launched an online campaign for a new name on Wednesday.

“First of all, we’re back in the headlines and that’s what matters,” said Sebastian Medina-Tayac, an organizer for the rising Hearts Coalition and a member of the Piscataway Indian Nation, a state-recognized tribe in Maryland.

Medina-Tayac said the online campaign is “a culture jam.” Instead of pushing for the name to be changed, he said they effectively changed the team’s name on Wednesday through the online campaign of spoof sites and satire news stories.

Through their “culture jam” tactic, the Rising Hearts Coalition created a Washington Redhawks website that mirrors the Redskins’ website.

Medina-Tayac said the group also created bogus news stories announcing team owner Dan Snyder changed the name to the “Redhawks” out of respect for Native people on spoof sites that mirrored actual news outlets.

Medina-Tayac said the online campaign went viral.

The group also handed out shirts at the rally with the new name and a new Redhawks logo.

Fans are still divided on the Redskins’ name.

While some agreed with the activists outside the game, others didn’t.

“I’m Native American,” said Bryan Proctor. “To me, [the name] is not a put down.”

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