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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Claudia on NECN (click on link for 6 minute video)

It's been a long time since there was a firestorm over a decision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but it happened last week when it gave new life to a controversy involving the Washington Redskins.

The department canceled the Redskins' trademark registration last Wednesday, and although it doesn't force the NFL to change the team's name, it does add fuel to the ongoing controversy over what opponents to the name see as a racial slur toward Native Americans.

However, the controversy isn't limited to the national stage, since other local high school teams have similiar names.

Claudia Fox Tree of the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness says she doesn't see how anyone can argue in favor of names such as the Redskins in 2014.

"All of those images are stereotypes of Native Americans and they keep us in the past, which is the biggest problem that we face as Native people," she said.

Fox Tree argues that Native Americans aren't seen as anything contemporary or professional.

"Those images of Native Americans are missing and the biggest problem is the absence of having those positive images. If there was a range, maybe you wouldn't notice it, but given that there's an absence of anything else, this is the wrong image to project for Native people," she said.