The “R-word”: The one thing Native Americans don’t call themselves

The National Congress of American Indians has a message for the NFL. It’s time to change the mascot of the Washington NFL team. The team name is offensive.


Ahead of the Super Bowl, the organization released a video documenting the many things that Native Americans call themselves.

The list includes words like tribal affiliations (from Inuit to Seminole), familial relations, and a diverse list of careers (rancher, teacher, doctor, soldier). There’s also qualities like “resilient” and “proud.” The narrator lists well-known Native Americans, including Jim Thorpe and Crazy Horse. The video recognizes that Indians might even call themselves “underserved” and “struggling.”

Or even chief. (Was this a conscious choice, considering Kansas City?)

In the final moment, the message hits you in the gut:

“Native Americans call themselves many things. The one thing they don’t.”

And the video cuts to a Washington helmet.

The video is powerful in its simplicity.

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