Archive for the ‘Washington D.C.’ Category

In a decision released Wednesday, the office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that “these registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans.”

The Patent Office said it will continue to treat the patents as though they are valid while the team appeals the decision. The team has two months to do that, and the whole process could take years.

In the meantime, the Redskins can continue using the logos.

But the decision, if upheld, would make it harder for the team to claim ownership of its brand. If it wants to go to court against a counterfeiter making T-shirts with the team’s logo, for instance, it will be harder to show that the organization owns the brand. The team will have to illustrate that they have always used the logos, rather than relying official trademark registrations.

The decision came in response to a suit brought by five Native Americans.

“We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case,” said Alfred W. Putnam, Jr., Chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, which represented the five men and women.

The board also canceled the registrations in 1999, but a federal judge overturned that decision in 2003, saying there was no proof that the name was disparaging at the time of registration. Some of the patents date back to the 1960s.

Thanks to Pete Cuomo and Dr. Lutter for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/18/news/companies/patent-office-redskins/index.html

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By Ashley Halsey III

A massive machine — longer than a football field — is munching away beneath Washington like a giant earthworm. Before it’s done, it will devour about 2 million cubic yards of soil that has been sitting under the city since the days of the dinosaurs.

It is the most amazing and expensive construction project that no one ever will see.

It will come within a center fielder’s throw of Nationals Park, within a corner kick of RFK Stadium, nibble at the deepest roots from the National Arboretum, pass below the Love Nightclub and the United House of Prayer for All, go under railroad tracks that carry 1 million-pound trains into Union Station and a six-lane roadway used by 60,000 cars a day, gnaw its way under Home Depot’s doorstep and then chomp more than a mile and a half down Rhode Island Avenue toward Logan Circle.

Like the creature from a sci-fi thriller, the machine will tunnel along — six feet at a time — beneath a city largely oblivious to its existence.

“That’s the way we like it,” said James Wonneberg, DC Water’s resident engineer.

Cars race from Italy to France through a famous tunnel under the Alps. Bullet trains rocket through a tunnel under the English Channel. One day, raw sewage will roar through Washington’s tunnel.

Not so romantic, perhaps, but vital to a city that now pumps 2 billion gallons a year from its sewers and toilets directly into the Potomac, the Anacostia and Rock Creek.

With a little help from upstream neighbors, those three tributaries may one day run closer to pure. But for now, there is only that dream and a hungry machine.

The machine itself is a marvel of technology, an underground factory 443 feet long and almost six times the weight of the Statue of Liberty. It does about a dozen things at once, and it moves.

Consider just one aspect of that movement: More than 100 feet below ground, how does it know where it’s going?

With a circular face three times the width of a Metrobus, what keeps the machine always within a few millimeters of its intended path?

Separating the streams

Washington needs this new, gargantuan 13-mile long, $2.6 billion sewer tunnel because of what might be called, in hindsight, a dumb decision. Were they still alive to defend it, the city’s forefathers might respond much like the people who were wearing bell-bottoms in the 1970s or who dye their hair electric green today: It was the fashion of the day.

The “it,” in this case, was something called a combined sewage system. They were all the rage in 19th-century America. The District has one, as do more than 770 other places where a total of 40 million people live.

That is a lot of flushes, and on a rainy day, that matters.

Here’s why: In a combined sewer system, your bath water, your laundry water and whatever you flush goes into a network of sewers that also handles all the rainwater that flows down sewer grates from the street.

On a dry day, or one with a slow but steady rain, all of that combined wastewater heads obediently to the sewage-treatment plant. In the case of the District, that is the sprawling facility called Blue Plains that sits beside the Potomac River in the southeast quadrant of the city.

But in a gully-washing downpour, a serious thunderstorm or when 10 inches of rapidly melting snow gushes down the sewer grate, the system gets unruly. The path to the treatment plant becomes overwhelmed, and a filthy mix spews from 53 different outlets into the three tributaries.

Not by accident, but by design.

It’s not an occasional thing. It happens hundreds of times a year, contributing 2 billion gallons of untreated waste to Rock Creek, the Potomac and the Anacostia, which gets the worst of it. All that unhealthy mess, of course, flows down into Chesapeake Bay on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.

“By 2032, our stated goal is to have water in the Anacostia that’s swimmable and fishable,” said George Hawkins, DC Water’s general manager.

Having the Potomac turned into an open sewer appealed to no one, and perhaps least of all to Lady Bird Johnson, who is said to have berated Lyndon about it when they flew into National Airport in daylight. That factoid has relevance even today.

Though Lyndon B. Johnson had a war and civil rights on his plate in those days, the rumblings about pollution that began on his watch led his successor, Richard M. Nixon, to create the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.

Fast-forward 35 years. Everybody agreed that something had to be done about combined sewer systems, and the EPA and U.S. Justice Department ordered Washington and several other cities — including New York, Philadelphia and Seattle — to stop dumping combined sewer overflow into rivers.

That gave birth to the District’s tunnel plan, and last year, the massive machine began to dig.

They named it “Lady Bird.”

Underground action

Lady Bird keeps busy, at once softening the soil in its path, lurching forward to gnaw at it, sliding the stones that will be the tunnel’s wall into place, blasting fresh surface air to the work crew, laying railroad track for the cars that carry the stone, turning the dirt into muck and dumping it on a conveyor belt headed for the tunnel mouth.

The muck will fill 205,820 huge dump trucks before the project is completed in 2025.

Though all of that is going on pretty much at once — 24 hours a day, six days a week — here’s how each facet takes place.

The round face of the machine is 26 feet across and studded with tungsten carbide scraper bits and cutting wheels. Before the device shoulders forward, a barrage of chemical mix shoots from nozzles to loosen up the earth ahead.

Then the machine heaves forward by six feet, its circular face rotating as the bits and wheels slash into the soil. What they dislodge is sucked into the machine, mixed with a compound that turns it to the consistency of toothpaste and is plopped blob by blob onto a conveyor belt that runs along the ceiling to the tunnel end.

While this is underway, massive curved slabs of concrete — they call them “stones” — have arrived on a small rail car that trundles back and forth from the tunnel mouth. They are stacked in the order in which they will be put in place. When they arrive, an electric device that looks like something you might see in an automatic carwash swoops down from above, presses its big rubber gasket against the stone’s face and literally sucks it up.

Stone in hand, the machine then rumbles to the leading edge of the tunnel, where a crew of five in hard hats uses levels and laser guidance to ease each piece into place. The slabs are connected in front and back by big plastic dowels and on top and bottom by arms that are driven into place by a worker with a compressor-fired rivet gun.

Once the precise placement is achieved, the suction machine scoots back to get the next slab until the six-foot, 80,000-pound ring is complete.

But there’s more.

The machine’s boring face is 26 feet across. The interior tunnel walls are 23 feet in diameter. The stones are 14 inches thick. There is, by design, a gap between the new tunnel exterior and the hole that Lady Bird has created.

Into the gap oozes an epoxy-like substance that will harden into a six-inch-thick casing to become the tunnel’s outer defense.

As Lady Bird rides forward through the tunnel on wheels, it lays track in its wake for the rail car that feeds stones to the growing tunnel.

Now it is time for the next push. Eighteen four-ton jacks powered by the 13.8 kilovolts of electricity nudge up against the edges of the tunnel ring that has just been set in place.

Before they fire, the operator who sits in a narrow booth watching six computer monitors studies one that shows crosshairs. Using a target fixed just behind the face of the machine, and a second target behind the machine that provides global coordinates, the operator uses a laser to line up Lady Bird’s next chomp.

“Right now, he’s within an inch of being right on the mark,” said Brett R. Zernich, construction manager, pointing to the crosshairs earlier this month.

At the push of a button, the operator sends Lady Bird surging six feet farther into the soggy soil.

Chewing down the Potomac

Lady Bird said goodbye to daylight several months ago and was lowered into a deep hole on the grounds of the Blue Plains treatment plant. Right now, the machine has chewed its way more than a quarter of a mile and is about 70 feet beneath the floor of the Potomac, skirting around the Naval Research Laboratory because the Navy wasn’t keen on having a tunnel under its testing facility.

In a few months, it will curve to the right, penetrate some rocky soil and pass under Anacostia to connect with a sewage pumping station at Poplar Point. Then it will dip under the river by the same name and make its way to another pumping station near Nationals Park.

A new tunnel will begin at the Poplar Point pumping station, cross under the river just north of the 11th Street Bridge and head toward RFK Stadium. It will pass the arboretum and make a sharp left 120 feet under Rhode Island Avenue.

Just as a river has its tributaries, so does the tunnel, with the largest going up First Street from Rhode Island. And it will have diversion chambers where waste can be stored temporarily so the system isn’t overwhelmed.

All that, for $2.6 billion. Where does the money come from?

Customers. Finding a way to pay to restore other decrepit infrastructure — notably roads and bridges — has become a knotty issue, but water utilities send out monthly bills. Although DC Water services wholesale customers in Maryland and Virginia, most of the burden will fall on their customers in the District.

The average water and sewer bill has gone up by more than 50 percent in recent years, to more than $65 a month for a single-family home.

“Our ratepayers are paying for all this,” Hawkins said. “We estimate [there will be] rate increases for the next 10 years, and maybe for 20, and most of that’s for the tunnel.”

Parts of it will begin opening in 2016, with big sections to follow in 2018 and 2022. With steel filaments embedded in its concrete walls, the tunnel should last for 100 years, they say.

“I want our ratepayers to understand that we have to do this, but it’s more important that they recognize the benefits of it,” Hawkins said. “No one will ever see this tunnel, but they’ll see that the river’s cleaner, and down stream in the Chesapeake, it will be a significant difference.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/meet-lady-bird-a-massive-machine-digging-out-a-solution-to-dc-wastewater-woes/2014/02/15/e20b1c60-8dc3-11e3-98ab-fe5228217bd1_story.html

Thanks to Da Brayn for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

homeless

For $2,000, you can live like a homeless person. That’s what 62-year-old Mike Momany, who himself is homeless in Seattle, hopes people will do.

After working as a contract programmer for years, he got into financial trouble when business slowed, and he has been experimenting with new ways of making money ever since. One plan is to launch a marijuana tour that would show people around local pot-growing operations, which have recently become legal in Washington state.

But for now, he is offering a three-day tour that he calls a “private course in Applied Homelessness.”

Upset by the growing homeless population in Seattle, which has shot up by 15% since 2007, to more than 9,000 people this year who are living in shelters or on the streets, Momany claims he wants to get people thinking about new ways to solve homelessness. But he wants to make a business of it, too.

Each tour costs $2,000. Momany says his take is $1,500 (for an hourly rate of $19.76). The rest — about $500 — will be donated to shelters and pay for expenses, like the clothes his clients will wear to blend in.

No one has signed up for a tour yet, but he says he’s in talks with a few interested parties.

Momany said he’ll disguise his customers as homeless people, give them a new name and “a simple life script” to use. Tour-goers would stay at a $15-per-night hostel, in the same building as a homeless shelter and only one notch above shelter conditions. (Since it’s divided by gender, the tour isn’t available to women).

They will visit several popular homeless hangouts, like the Seattle Public Library, talk to other homeless people, panhandle, nap on benches and roam the streets at 3 a.m. on one of the nights.

Not surprisingly, Momany’s venture has sparked debate.

“Homeless people are not tourist attractions. They have enough issues without this company profiting off exploiting them as well,” one commenter on a Seattle Post-Intelligencer story about the tour recently wrote.

MJ Kiser, program director at Compass Housing Alliance in Seattle, said Momany’s tour would use up much-needed resources like housing and food, and that his $2,000 fee “could help a homeless family for two months or provide meals for all [220] of the folks in Compass shelters one night.”

Michael Stoops, director of community organizing at the National Coalition for the Homeless, said he thinks Momany’s intentions are in the right place, but he doesn’t think it’s right to charge $2,000 or for Momany to pay himself such a big fee.

If the experience is really about giving people an inside look at homelessness, then it shouldn’t be about turning a profit, Stoops said.

The nonprofit coalition offers a similar program, called the Homeless Challenge: People can spend 48 hours living on the streets of Washington, D.C., with a guide who is either currently or formerly homeless. The organization asks people for a $50 nightly donation to local shelters if they can afford it.

“It’s not a moneymaker,” Stoops said. “We do it to give [people] the experience and to let them interact with other homeless folks.”

That’s where Stoops and Momany agree. “Everyone could benefit from spending some time on the streets as long as it’s done in an ethical, safe manner and homeless people are involved,” said Stoops.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/0​2/pf/homel​ess-tour/i​ndex.html?​hpt=hp_t3

redskin

A leader of the Navajo Code Talkers who appeared at a Washington Redskins home football game said Wednesday the team name is a symbol of loyalty and courage — not a slur as asserted by critics who want it changed.

Roy Hawthorne, 87, of Lupton, Ariz., was one of four Code Talkers honored for their service in World War II during the Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Hawthorne, vice president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association, said the group’s trip was paid for by the Redskins. The four men met briefly with team owner Dan Snyder but did not discuss the name, Hawthorne said.

Still, he said he would endorse the name if asked, and the televised appearance in which three of the Indians wore Redskins jackets spoke for itself.

“We didn’t have that in mind but that is undoubtedly what we did do,” Hawthorne said when asked if he was intending to send a statement with the appearance. “My opinion is that’s a name that not only the team should keep, but that’s a name that’s American.”

Monday night’s brief, on-field ceremony came as some Indians and civil rights leaders wage a “Change the Mascot” campaign that targets the term redskins as a racial epithet.

The Navajos’ appearance drew heated comments from both sides on social media, including assertions that the Code Talkers were being used as props in a public relations stunt meant to deflect criticism over the name.

Jacqueline Pata, head of the National Congress of American Indians, called the appearance “a political play rather than a heartfelt recognition of the Code Talkers.”

Pata, a member of the Tlingit Tribe of Alaska, said she reveres the Code Talkers for the work they have done but added that people often fail to recognize that the origins of the term redskin date to a period when Indians faced efforts to annihilate their culture.

“We were outlawed during that same period the mascot was created from practicing our own religion and our own cultures,” she said. “That term is associated with getting rid of the Indians.”

Snyder has called the team name and mascot a “badge of honor.” The name dates to the team’s first years in Boston in the 1930s and has survived numerous outside efforts to change it. The team has been in the Washington, D.C., area since 1937.

Redskins Senior Vice President Tony Wyllie said there was no truth to suggestions that the Code Talkers were used to bolster the team’s resistance to a new name.

“They’re American heroes, and they deserved recognition,” he said.

Also attending Monday’s game were Code Talkers President Peter MacDonald Sr., George Willie Sr. and George James Sr.

The Navajo Code Talkers used codes derived from their native language to shield military communications from interception by Japanese troops. Hawthorne said there are now about 30 surviving Code Talkers.

The trip to Washington was the second this month for Hawthorne, who last week joined Code Talkers from other tribes who received Congressional Gold Medals for the role they played in World War I and World War II. Members of the Navajo were recognized in 2000.

The Navajo are perhaps the best known of the Code Talkers, but the Defense Department says the program began in 1918 and at its peak included more than 400 Indians who used 33 dialects to make their codes indecipherable.

http://news.yahoo.com/code-talker-says-redskins-name-not-derogatory-172147791–spt.html

Thanks to Pete Cuomo for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

redskins

President Barack Obama has weighed in. The pro football commissioner, has too. And now, a Native American tribe hopes recent attention to controversy surrounding the name of Washington’s National Football League team will provide the momentum needed to get it changed.

As NFL executives arrived in the nation’s capital for their annual fall meeting on Monday, the Oneida Indian Nation held a symposium in town to discuss their campaign to find a new name for the Washington Redskins after 80 years.

“We are asking the NFL to stop using a racial slur as the name of Washington’s football team,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter.

The “Change the Mascot” campaign launched last month with a string of radio ads airing in Washington and cities where the Redskins play this season.

The NFL executives were invited to the symposium, but Halbritter said none attended.

In an interview with the Associated Press last week, Obama said if he were the owner of the Redskins and he knew the name was “offending a sizable group of people,” then he would “think about changing it.”

Halbritter began his remarks by thanking the president for weighing in.

“As the first sitting president to speak out against the Washington team name, President Obama’s comments over the weekend were nothing less than historic,” Halbritter said. “Isn’t that the real issue? No matter what the history of something is, if it’s offending people, then it’s time to change it. And this is a great time to do it.”

A Washington Post poll from June indicated that two-thirds of people who live in the D.C. metropolitan area didn’t want the Redskins to change their name, but more than eight in 10 said it wouldn’t make much of a difference to them if the name were changed.

Last month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who had previously expressed support for the team mascot, changed his tone on the “The LaVar Arrington Show with Chad Dukes” on 106.7 The Fan in Washington.

“I want all of us to go out and make sure we’re listening to our fans, listening to people of a different view, and making sure that we continue to do what’s right to make sure that team represents the strong tradition and history that it has for so many years,” Goodell said.

The NFL confirmed on Monday that it would meet with Oneida leaders.

But Redskins owner Dan Snyder has steadfastly refused to consider it, telling USA Today last spring that he will “NEVER” change his team’s name, even if they lose an ongoing federal trademark lawsuit that would stop the NFL team from exclusively profiting from the Redskins name.

In addition to the federal trademark lawsuit, a group of U.S. lawmakers drafted a bill last spring to cancel trademark registrations that use the name “Redskins.” Two of them, Democrats Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia, and Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota attended Monday’s forum to voice their support.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/07/us/washington-redskins-name/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1

redskins

President Barack Obama has joined the ongoing debate surrounding the NFL’s Washington Redskins and their nickname, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.

In a recent interview, President Obama admitted that nicknames like the “Redskins” can offend large groups of people. He also conceded that he doesn’t believe fans of Washington’s football team are out to mock or offend Native Americans.

Essentially, Obama didn’t pick a side, instead stating the facts that must be taken into consideration:

I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things. I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so.

He also pointed out that American Indians “feel pretty strongly” about team names that play off negative stereotypes or cast the group in an unfavorable light.

Despite being president, Obama has no say in whether the Redskins change their nickname. The decision is ultimately up to team owner Daniel Snyder, who told USA Today back in May that the franchise “will never” change its name.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has weighed in as well, originally defending the nickname in a response to a letter from Congress back in June. In a radio interview on 106.7 The Fan in Washington last month, Goodell changed his tune, admitting that “if one person is offended, we have to listen.”

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1799370-barack-obama-weighs-in-on-redskins-name-debate?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editorial&hpt=hp_t2

Washington-Redskins

It is time that the National Football League and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell face the reality that the continued use of the word “redskin” is unacceptable. It is a racist, derogatory term and patently offensive to Native Americans. The Native American community has spent millions of dollars over the last two decades trying earnestly to fight the racism that is perpetuated by this slur. The fact that the NFL and Commissioner Goodell continue to deny this is a shameful testament of the mistreatment of Native Americans for so many years. It is quite obvious that once the American public understands why the word “redskins” is so offensive, they will know that the word should never be used again.

The origin of the term “Redskins” is commonly attributed to the historical practice of trading Native American Indian scalps and body parts as bounties and trophies. For example, in 1749, the British bounty on the Mi’kmaq Nation of what is now Maine and Nova Scotia, was a straightforward “ten Guineas for every Indian Micmac taken or killed, to be paid upon producing such Savage taken or his scalp.”

Just as devastating was the Phips Proclamation, issued in 1755 by Spencer Phips, Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of the Massachusetts Bay Province, who called for the wholesale extermination of the Penobscot Indian Nation.

By vote of the General Court of the Province, settlers were paid out of the public treasury for killing and scalping the Penobscot people. The bounty for a male Penobscot Indian above the age of 12 was 50 pounds, and his scalp was worth 40 pounds. The bounty for a female Penobscot Indian of any age and for males under the age of 12 was 25 pounds, while their scalps were worth 20 pounds. These scalps were called “redskins.”

The question is quite simple: suppose that a “redskin” scalp that was brought for payment was your mother, your wife, your daughter, your father, your husband, or your son? The fact is Native Americans are human beings, not animals.

The current Chairman and Chief of the Penobscot Nation, Chief Kirk Francis, recently declared in a joint statement that “redskins” is “not just a racial slur or a derogatory term,” but a painful “reminder of one of the most gruesome acts of . . . ethnic cleansing ever committed against the Penobscot people.” The hunting and killing of Penobscot Indians, as stated by Chief Francis, was “a most despicable and disgraceful act of genocide.”

Recently, I and nine Members of Congress explained the violent history and disparaging nature of the term “redskins” in a letter to Mr. Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington football franchise. Similar letters were sent to Mr. Frederick Smith, President and CEO of FedEx (a key sponsor for the franchise), and to Mr. Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League.

As of today, Mr. Snyder has yet to respond. Mr. Smith ignored our letter as well, opting instead to have a staff member cite contractual obligations as FedEx’s reason for its silence on the subject.

Mr. Goodell, however, in a dismissive manner, declared that the team’s name “is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.” In other words, the NFL is telling everyone—Native Americans included—that they cannot be offended because the NFL means no offense. Essentially, Mr. Goodell attempts to wash away the stain from a history of persecution against Native American peoples by spreading twisted and false information concerning the use of the word “redskins” by one of the NFL’s richest franchises.

Mr. Goodell’s response is indicative of the Washington football franchise’s own racist and bigoted beginnings. The team’s founder, George Preston Marshall, is identified by historians as the driving force behind the effort to prevent African Americans from playing in the NFL. And once African Americans were allowed to play in 1946, Marshall was the last club owner to field an African American player – a move he reluctantly made some 14 years later in 1962. It should be noted that Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy presented Marshall with an ultimatum – unless Marshall signed an African American player, the government would revoke his franchise’s 30-year lease on the use of the D.C. Stadium.

Congressman Tom Cole, the Representative from Oklahoma, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, and a member of the Chikasaw Nation, states: “This is the 21st century. This is the capital of political correctness on the planet. It is very, very, very offensive. This isn’t like warriors or chiefs. It’s not a term of respect, and it’s needlessly offensive to a large part of our population. They just don’t happen to live around Washington, D.C.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum, the Representative from Minnesota and Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, states that Mr. Goodell’s letter “is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of [Mr.] Dan Snyder,” owner of the Washington franchise, “and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning ever larger profits, even if it means exploiting a racist stereotype of Native Americans. For the head of a multi-billion dollar sports league to embrace the twisted logic that ‘[r]edskin’ actually ‘stands for strength, courage, pride, and respect’ is a statement of absurdity.”

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the Representative from the District of Columbia, states that Mr. Snyder “is a man who has shown sensibilities based on his own ethnic identity, [yet] who refuses to recognize the sensibilities of American Indians.”

Recently, in an interview with USA Today Sports, Mr. Snyder defiantly stated, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER – you can use caps.” Mr. Snyder’s statement is totally inconsistent with the NFL’s diversity policy, which states:

Diversity is critically important to the NFL. It is a cultural and organizational imperative about dignity, respect, inclusion and opportunity . . . The overall objective of the [NFL’s] diversity effort is to create a culturally progressive and socially reflective organization that represents, supports and celebrates diversity at all levels.

It is critically important that the NFL promote its Commitment to Diversity, and uphold its moral responsibility to disavow the usage of racial slurs. Just as important is the moral responsibility of the NFL’s 31 other football club owners to collectively have the necessary courage to stand up and speak out against the use of this derogatory term. Mr. Snyder, more than anyone else in the NFL, should display greater sensitivity and appreciation for a people who have been maligned and mistreated for hundreds of years.

Ms. Suzan Harjo, President of the Morning Star Institute – a national Native American rights organization – and a member of the Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee tribes, summed it up best when she stated: “[Redskins] is the worst thing in the English language you can be called if you are a native person.” This is not just a statement, but a direct invitation for Mr. Snyder and the NFL to do the right thing. I challenge Mr. Snyder to be reasonable, and to realize the harmful legacy that his franchise’s name perpetuates.

In an attempt to correct the long-standing usage of the term “redskins,” the bill H.R. 1278 entitled, “The Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013” was introduced. This bill would cancel the federal registrations of trademarks using the word “redskin” in reference to Native Americans. The Trademark Act of 1946 – more commonly known as the Lanham Act – requires that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) not register any trademark that “[c]onsists of or comprises . . . matter which may disparage . . . persons, living or dead…or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.” 15 U.S.C. §1502(a).

Native American tribes have a treaty, trust and special relationship with the United States. Because of the duty of care owed to the Native American people by the federal government, it is incumbent upon the federal government to ensure that the Lanham Act is strictly enforced in order to safeguard Indian tribes and citizens from racially disparaging federal trademarks.

Accordingly, the Patent and Trademark Office has rejected applications submitted by the Washington franchise for trademarks which proposed to use the term “redskins” – three times in 1996 and once in 2002. The PTO denied the applications on grounds that “redskins” is a racial slur that disparages Native Americans.

In 1992, seven prominent Native American leaders petitioned the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to cancel the federal registrations for six trademarks using “redskins.” The TTAB in 1999 ruled that the term “redskins” may, in fact, disparage American Indians, and cancelled the registrations. On appeal, a federal court reversed the TTAB’s decision, holding that the petitioners waited too long after coming of age to file their petition. A new group of young Native Americans petitioned the TTAB to cancel the registrations of the offending trademarks in 2006. The TTAB held a hearing on March 7, 2013. A final decision is pending.

H.R. 1278 is supported by a number of major Native American organizations, including the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) – the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving tribal governments and communities. Mr. Jefferson Keel, a member of the Chikasaw Nation and President of NCAI, stated that our efforts as Members of Congress will hopefully accomplish “what Native American people, nations, and organizations have tried to do in the courts for almost twenty years – end the racist epithet that has served as the [name] of the Washington’s pro football franchise for far too long.”

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) – the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide – also supports the call to change the Washington franchise’s racist name. NARF recently issued a statement describing our efforts as “a clear signal that some [M]embers of Congress do not take anti-Native stereotyping and discrimination lightly. These Representatives now join Native American nations, organizations and people who have lost patience with the intransigence of the Washington pro football franchise in holding on to the indefensible – a racial epithet masquerading as a team name.”

Despite the Native American community’s best efforts before administrative agencies and the courts, the term “redskins” remains a federally registered trademark. It has been well over twenty years and this matter is still before the courts. This injustice is the result of negligence and a cavalier attitude demonstrated by an administrative agency charged with the responsibility of not allowing racist or derogatory terms to be registered as trademarks. Since the federal government made the mistake in registering the disparaging trademark, it is now up to Congress to correct it.

Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega has represented the territory of American Samoa in the United States Congress since 1989. Faleomavaega is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and serves on the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. Faleomavaega is also a member of the Congressional Native American Caucus.

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/07/30/its-time-change-redskins-racist-name