The Native Americans Whose Activism Made DC’s Football Team Change Its Name

From More Than a Word (2017), dir. Kenn Little & John Little (courtesy Smithsonian)

This summer, after decades of work by activists, the Washington, DC football team announced that it would finally be changing its name, long criticized as a slur for Native Americans. The 2017 documentary More Than a Word, directed by Kenn and John Little, captured some of the Native protests against the team. The film also addresses the broader cultural issues in the US with sports teams and other institutions invoking stereotypes of Native peoples in their names and imagery. As a first look at its annual Native Cinema Showcase (happening online this year, of course), this weekend, the National Museum of the American Indian is presenting several virtual screenings of the film.

The two screenings of More Than a Name will be available to stream via the museum’s website. Both showings will be followed by a stream of a conversation between Kevin Gover (Pawnee), the director of the museum, and activist Amanda Blackhorse (Diné). Blackhorse was the plaintiff in Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc., the 2014 court case which resulted in the United States Patent and Trademark Office deciding to cancel the various trademarks the DC team held on the term “redskins.” Together, Gover and Pawnee will expand on the topics the film tackles, as well as developments that have taken place since its original release.

This screening adds to the considerable educational resources the museum has on the use of Native American imagery for mascots, helping to elucidate the matter for anyone who fails to understand just why it’s an issue. As Native activists continue to fight for basic respect from mainstream US culture, More Than a Name now stands as a testament to a battle which they were ultimately able to win.

When: August 28 at 7pm (EDT) and August 29 at 3pm (EDT)
Where: online via the National Museum of the American Indian

More info at the National Museum of the American Indian.

The National Museum of the American Indian will be hosting two screenings of the documentary More Than a Name alongside a conversation with activist Amanda Blackhorse, who took pro football to court.Read MoreEvents, Documentary, National Museum of the American Indian, Native Americans, SmithsonianHyperallergicRead More

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