Skip to main content




It has come to our attention that the new owners of the Washington Commanders have been referring to the team with their old team name. Let us be very clear–the R-word is the equivalent to the N-word for Native Americans. The term is a racial slur that is deeply offensive and derogatory towards our peoples. It is extremely disheartening and, quite frankly, exhausting that we continue to have these conversations about Native mascots, when time and time again Native peoples have made it clear that these mascots are racist and offensive. And it’s not just Native peoples speaking out against this, the #ChangeTheName movement in 2020 had millions of supporters and was backed by $620 billion worth of investors. Changing the name was not only the right thing to do, but it was also good for business.

This is certainly emblematic of a larger issue of ignorance in this country, and we hope to use this moment as an educational opportunity with the Washington Commanders team and the sports world more broadly. Native mascots do not honor our people–they dehumanize us, objectify our culture, and have been scientifically proven to lower self-esteem among Native youth. There is no world in which the use of the R word is not harmful, and the majority of Native youth under 34 do not believe that names like this honor Native people. We look forward to this next chapter of leadership for the Washington Commanders and hope that they don’t ignore the decades of work led by Native activists to get the name removed in the first place. This is an opportunity for Josh Harris, Magic Johnson, and the rest of the ownership group to take the team’s commitment to end systemic racism to heart and bring the team back to their “glory days” without perpetuating harm towards Native peoples.