The National Council of La Raza — the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States — has called on the NFL and Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s name.
The council’s board of directors unanimously voted in support of the move this weekend.
“Our brothers and sisters in the Native American community have been clear and consistent in their call to change both terms and images that they consider demeaning. As an organization committed to fairness and equality for all, NCLR fully supports these efforts,” La Raza President and chief executive Janet Murguía said in a statement. “The Latino community well understands that words matter and that they can denigrate, disparage and dehumanize. We should treat all people with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
Snyder has vowed to keep the name, which he contends honors Native Americans. The team has cited polls showing that a majority of Americans — and even a majority of Native Americans in one 10-year-old survey — do not find the team name offensive.
La Raza had previously joined with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights — a coalition of organizations including the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union — in its effort to change the moniker.
Last year, the conference approved a resolution that called on the team to change its name and “refrain from the use of any other images, mascots, or behaviors that are or could be deemed harmful or demeaning to Native American cultures or peoples.”
“When groups like La Raza, NAACP, ADL and NCAI are saying in a singular voice that it is time to change this offensive name, it should serve as a wake-up call to the NFL and Dan Snyder that they are on the wrong side of history,” said Joel Barkin, spokesman for the Oneida Indian Nation, which has long campaigned against the name.