the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Washington DC, Though the “Redskin” name has long been controversial, it’s important to note that it was a Blackfeet man from Montana who originally designed its logo. In 1971, the team’s logo was based upon a composite of Native American photographs, including one of the early 20th century Blackfeet Chief Two Guns White Calf.
Two Guns White Calf, also known as John Two Guns and John Whitecalf Two Guns, was a Blackfoot chief. His face provides one of the most readily recognizable images of a Native American in the world as the impression of his portrait appears to appear on a coin, the Indian head nickel.
The Ridgewood blog has always had the view that if Native American found it offensive then it should be changed . Contrary to popular belief Native American communities have always had mixed reactions. Some readers said it was like naming a team the “Caucasians” ,but others think is more like the USC Trojans . Teams are named after something heroic or impressive , not something derogatory .
Born near Cut Bank Creek on the Blackfeet Reservation, Walter “Blackie” Wetzel was a political leader at the time who a half-century ago was the president of the National Congress of American Indians.
Upon moving to Washington, D.C., he proposed designing a helmet logo for Washington’s NFL team. Blackie’s son, Don Wetzel Sr. told the Tribune in 2014 that his father’s logo was not derogatory, but instead was “… something that represents the Red Nation in a positive way.” https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2020/07/13/washington-redskins-name-change-logo-nfl-montana-tribal-member-reactions/5427491002/
“It needs to be said that an Indian from the state of Montana created that logo, and he did it the right way,” Don told the Tribune. Bill Wetzel, Blackie’s grandson, said Monday that Blackie was “a good, honest man,” who was proud to be Indigenous.https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2020/07/13/washington-redskins-name-change-logo-nfl-montana-tribal-member-reactions/5427491002/
“It always really bothered me that because of his association with a logo, his name has been so conflated with a racial slur,” Bill said in a statement to the Tribune. “He was much more than that. He was Blackfeet Tribal chairman, president of the National Congress of American Indians, and spent his life working to advance civil rights. Among his greatest accomplishments are his pioneering work in job training and housing programs, which impacted not only Indigenous people but the populace at large. My wish is in the future we can concentrate on those much more important, and less polarizing, accomplishments in his legacy.”https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2020/07/13/washington-redskins-name-change-logo-nfl-montana-tribal-member-reactions/5427491002/
Jacob Wetzel, Blackie’s great-grandson and Great Falls High School and University of Providence alumnus, said that while the name change is “long overdue,” he’s sad to see his family legacy go.
“Although the name is offensive to many and can be used as a derogatory and hateful term, I do believe the logo represented Native people in a positive way, especially when compared to some other logos across the sports world,” he said. “Times are changing, and, yeah, it’s difficult, but I understand why they are going in a different direction.” https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2020/07/13/washington-redskins-name-change-logo-nfl-montana-tribal-member-reactions/5427491002/