Oklahoma – Red “skin” People

Choctaw Chief Allen Wright suggested the name Oklahoma in 1866 during treaty negotiations with the federal government.  The name literally translated means okla (red) homma (people) or the modern day pejorative of redskins.  I added the skin term in the above title because the color was referring to the skin of the Indians in general.  The “red” was not referring to their eye or hair color, but the color of their skin.  I suppose this might be a case similar to the freedom of black people to refer to themselves using the “N” word and an actual Indian being able to suggest a name for our state using the now (today) blacklisted “Redskin” term.  Or is this just another case of some very small special interest group trying to exert a disproportionate amount of influence over one of America’s more favorite football teams.

Of the answer to those questions I’m not sure, but I am for dang sure that the US Patent office was not ever intended to be some linguistic annalist of etymology thereby giving them the right to withdraw the decades old registered trademark of Redskins from the football team of our nation’s capitol.

By that same logic, we here in Oklahoma will need to be looking for a new state name since the two terms are basically identical albeit in two different languages.  So I will begin the new state name search by suggesting a term that hopefully could never be construed as being offensive – It.

And here is a great idea, they could change the name of the redskins to the Washington Oklahomans.

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3 thoughts on “Oklahoma – Red “skin” People

  1. Meg Staires says:

    There is more to the history of the term than this. There was a time when white settlers were given money by the government for each Indian head they collected; soon there was an issue of storage, so they changed the rule to pay for each scalp. However, some people started scalping any old person, so the government again revised the rule: now each scalp had to include a piece of red skin to prove it was from an Indian. I am sure that the Washington team was not thinking of this when they named their team…but there’s a lot of trouble that comes when people don’t think. Those of us who have not been targets of racial slurs and segregation and extermination would do well to consider the burden of racism, and who is carrying it. I would hate to increase the suffering and trauma of peoples who are already struggling, especially over some football team’s branding. How do we promote healing and make reparations for genocide? Not by pretending words don’t matter. And not by telling people who are affected by historically racist language that they are being too sensitive.

    • jmobeox6 says:

      I’m all for reparations being made for a few generations which we have done and still do to a significant degree. Some of the worst ongoing offenses are being committed by the Native Americans to their own people with the advantage taken by building casinos on Indian land but only a few reaping the benefits. And as for the name, recent polls indicate the vast majority of Indians like the name and don’t want them to change it. And lastly, the largest contingent of people associated with the move to get the name changed are not even Indian.

    • jmobeox6 says:

      My post was in no way intended to promote either way the name of the DC team (as I clearly stated by indicating I don’t have answers to the questions I asked) but rather that the US Patent office has no business determining what is appropriate or not in a trademark.

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