Navajo WWII veteran: Redskins name a symbol of loyalty and courage

Wednesday November 27th, 2013

The Navajo war vet said the Redskins name is actually a Native-American icon that has many positive meanings. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) The Navajo war vet said the Redskins name is a Native-American icon that has many positive meanings. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A Navajo World War II veteran whose group, the Navajo Code Talkers, met recently with Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, said the name is not a racial slur.

According to an Associated Press report on Wednesday, Navajo war vet Roy Hawthorne said the Redskins name is a badge of loyalty and courage, a sentiment shared by Snyder, who earlier this year said he will never change the name despite mounting pressure from organizations including the Oneida Indian Nation.

Hawthorne was one of four Code Talkers honored for their service during the Redskins' loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday. He said the name is actually a Native-American icon that has many positive meanings. According to their website, The Navajo Code Talkers "were young Navajo men who transmitted secret communications on the battlefields of World War II."

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Earlier this week, the Oneida Indian Nation said it will be launching a series of ads aimed at drumming up more support for changing the Redskins name. The radio campaign will be aired on Washington D.C. stations over the Thanksgiving holiday. The nation's spokesman, Ray Halbritter, has worked under the initiative, Change the Mascot, to push forward the organization's call for change, calling the team name a "hurtful racial slur" in the ad:

"Change the Mascot supporters have sent a powerful message to the NFL that no group deserves to be treated as the target of a hurtful racial slur, and that Native Americans should be treated as what we are: Americans.”

The full radio ad can be heard here via

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