MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For years Native American’s have taken to Twin Cities’ streets demanding for change. It came on Monday as the NFL’s Washington franchise announced its 87-year-old team name is no more.
“Indian country is proud today, we’re happy today that the Washington team finally came to the realization that it needs to change its name,” David Glass said.
Outside the American Indian Center in Minneapolis, leaders of the national effort to rid offensive sports names and logos proclaimed a long-fought victory.
American Indian Movement co-founder, Clyde Bellecourt, made it a lifelong mission restoring dignity and respect to Native American cultures.
“It’s been a long struggle,” said Bellecourt. “But you know we never give up in the American Indian Movement.”
Protesters gathered outside the Metrodome in 1992 when Washington and Buffalo squared off in the Super Bowl.
In 2014, a crowd of 5,000 marched on the University of Minnesota campus, pressuring the Minnesota Vikings to wipe all references to the logo and name when the two teams met at TCF Bank Stadium.
Six years later they’d prevail, in large part due to mounting public and corporate pressure. In recent days, corporate giants Nike, Pepsi and FedEx all threatened to drop lucrative sponsorships if the logo didn’t go.
“This is just the first step of many,” said Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “As uncle Clyde mentioned, there are many, many more teams we have left to go.”
Simply meaning, they’ll celebrate today but continue the struggle tomorrow. Pressure is also mounting on the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Chiefs to take similar actions.