MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota American Indian movement announced Wednesday it’s planning a march downtown Thursday before the Vikings play the Washington Redskins at the Metrodome.
The group also took legal action Wednesday, petitioning the state to look at stopping funding for the new Vikings stadium if the word “Redskins” is going to be used there. Officials with the American Indian Movement said hundreds of people will march through downtown and end up at the Metrodome before the game around 4:30 p.m.
The American Indian Movement said that team name is offensive and shouldn’t be mentioned anywhere in a new stadium taxpayers help pay for. That’s part of the reason the march has been planned, which will start down East Franklin Avenue.
“This is destructive to all indigenous peoples to be treated as mascots for fun and games,” Larry Leventhal said. “We’re calling on that to stop.”
The group also recently asked the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to stop saying the name for this game and beyond, with no luck. They said setbacks are nothing new and not stopping them.
If the group has its way, this petition could reach the Minnesota Supreme Court. In the past few weeks, everyone from the D.C. Council to President Barack Obama have encouraged the team to change its name.
The owner said he can’t ignore the team’s 81-year history.
But Clyde Bellecourt has a 45-year history of fighting this.
“And we’ll never, ever, ever give up on this issue,” he said.
The MSFA said the ruling on the use of the name is an NFL decision, and they will treat the team the same as all 32 NFL teams do until there is a name change.
At Wednesday’s news conference, Bellecourt was supported by former Viking Joey Browner.
Browner said most people don’t know this, but he’s Native American too, and he’d like to see the Redskins logo go.
Before Thursday’s march, another famous athlete will give a keynote speech — Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills, also a native American.