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August 20, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Show respect, change team name

I am a sponsor to an elder on the Navajo reservation. I visit often and have come to know my friends very well. They work very hard, treat their families with respect and would never think to insult another nationality.

Many live on undisputed areas. They have lived there for generations, only to find that the federal government gave their land to another sovereign nation.

The U.S. cavalry took their land and made them walk hundreds of miles to land away from their beliefs and culture. Many died. The cavalry named them “Redskins” because of the sunny, windy weather in the Southwest. It also meant that there was never equality.

Just like the song “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught,” from “South Pacific,” your family determines your prejudice. A line from that song is “You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, before you are 6 or 7 or 8, to hate all the people your relatives hate, you’ve got to be carefully taught.”

Yes, it will be expensive to change the logo and merchandise of the Washington Redskins football team, but we are Americans — a blend of every nationality in the world. To be prejudicial to anyone affects all of us. Many other teams have changed “offensive” names.

It is a courtesy to respect others, and I’m sure your mother or father taught politeness and respect to you. The phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me” is wrong. Verbal abuse is far worse than physical abuse because you never stop hearing the hurt. This is a form of bullying.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder should reflect on what values his family “taught” him.

Our indigenous neighbors were here first. It is essential the name be changed.

This is not “their” problem; it is ours.

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