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July 2, 2014
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Letter: Know the history of a name before offering support for changing it

Do homework, then comment

This letter is in response to Jeff Ackerman’s June 22 Publisher’s notebook article titled, “Clueless owner fumbles, but feds shouldn’t pile on.” The title should have read, “U.S. Government authorizes theft of personal property based on not knowing its own history.”

What Ackerman’s article failed to mention was how the Washington Redskins got their name. This will probably explain why Daniel Snyder, team owner, is not interested in changing the name of his team.

The Washington, D.C., professional football team’s first coach was William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz. He claimed he was part Sioux Indian and part German. To honor their first coach, the team was named “Redskins” in honor of him and of the Red People he represented.

From the Oklahoma State University website, http://digital.library.okstate.edu/chronicles/v014/v014p156.html, The Red People are the Choctaw Nation. In their native language, “okla” means “people” and “homma or humma” means “red.” “Oklahomma,” in Choctaw translates to the English word “Indian.”

The website says, “In their treaties with the United States, the Choctaws were spoken of as either ‘The Choctaw Nation of Indians’ or ‘The Choctaw Nation of Red People,’ the last phrase in each instance being rendered ‘Okla Homma’ in the native language.”

Does this mean that the U.S. Patent Office will now have to revoke all trademarks for the State of Oklahoma because it means Red People? If we follow the same logic that was applied to the Washington Redskins trademarks, the State of Oklahoma should start looking for a new name, pronto.

Had the U.S. Patent Office remembered its high school history, it would not have made such a ludicrous ruling revoking the Redskins trademarks in the name of pitting one group of Americans against another for political gain at the financial expense of the trademark owner.

Lisa Bird

Oakland


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The News-Review Updated Jul 15, 2014 12:34PM Published Jul 2, 2014 01:18PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.