Calling for the Washington Redskins to retire their "inherently racist" name once and for all, nearly 1,000 protesters came out against the controversial NFL team on Thursday night, flooding the streets outside the Minneapolis Metrodome Stadium where they were set to face off against the hometown Minnesota Vikings.
"[The name] conveys the murdered scalps of indigenous people — men, women and children," Alan Yelsey, who identified himself as an organizer for the American Indian Movement, told the Washington Post. "And that name is just a horrendous name for all of these people and for anybody of color... we’re raising up and saying anybody who denigrates any class of people like that needs to be stopped."
The demonstration, described by Yelsey as a 'consciousness-raising walk,' is part of an upsurge of protest demanding the Redskins change their name.
On Tuesday, the Washington, DC city council passed a resolution demanding their hometown team change their name and six Minneapolis city council members condemned "the racism inherent" in the term "Redskins" in an open letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and team owner Dan Snyder.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak joined in the chorus, declaring Thursday, "It has never been right to disrespect the indigenous people of our country, and it is especially wrong to do it in 2013 with the name of a team that represents our nation’s capital."
Despite the massive and growing outcry, owner Snyder has so far refused to change the name.
But speaking on Democracy Now! on Friday, Clyde Bellecourt, who co-founder the American Indian Movement and also participated in Thursday night's demonstration in Minneapolis, said that he knows that name will ultimately be changed.
"We’re putting pressure on the whole world about these racist slurs and this continued cultural genocidal policies of this government," Bellecourt said. "Let’s not forget, there’s over 2,000 high schools, colleges and universities throughout America have changed. They said they would never change, never change their name, just like Dan Snyder, but they have changed. Every single one of them have changed. And so will—so will happen to this Washington team."
The full segment from Democracy Now! has more: