The chief of the one of the largest tribes in the United States sat down with KRMG Friday morning to discuss his belief that Native American mascots need to be removed from all non-Native American teams.
“I’ve gone out publicly saying that I am for changing the NFL football team’s name,” Chief Tiger said. “And I stand behind that. I feel very adamant about that. I think there’s no difference in what our African American communities consider racial when the “N” word is used.”
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office made headlines Wednesday when it ruled the Washington's Redskins should be stripped of trademark protection because the name is "disparaging of Native Americans."
Chief Tiger believes he is in agreement with tribal leaders across the country when he says it’s a very racist situation. Particularly troubling, Chief Tiger said, because it involves a national football team making money off of the term.
“You’re talking about a race of people who historically in this country have always been considered second class citizens,” Chief Tiger said. “This government has done everything they could to eliminate us as a race of people. When you have that kind of history and you’re talking about traditions and cultures, those things are very dear to us.”
To Chief Tiger, schools and professional teams depicting Native Americans as goofy or having people wearing headdresses is simply unacceptable.
“You just don’t do that,” Chief Tiger said. “The right to wear one (a headdress) is handed down traditionally and sacredly, with instruction on how and where to wear them. It’s just something that is very sacred. There is protocol, for lack of a better term.”
Despite contributing a lot to Oklahoma’s economy and impacting local communities, Chief Tiger said the stigma against Native Americans is still there and that the public needs to be better educated on their culture and how these issues should be addressed.