On Thursday, a Washington Post poll emerged stating that nine out of 10 Native Americans are not offended by the Washington Redskins name. Having surveyed 504 people, the results also found that seven in 10 Native Americans do not believe "redskin" to be a disrespectful term. The Washington Post also published an article on the same day that examines the history of the word "redskin," and its first known documented use gives the impression that it was once a friendly expression.
1769: The first unchallenged use of the word “redskin” occurs when a British lieutenant colonel translates a letter from an Indian chief promising safe passage if the officer visited his tribe in the Upper Mississippi Valley. “I shall be pleased to have you come to speak to me yourself if you pity our women and our children; and, if any redskins do you harm, I shall be able to look out for you even at the peril of my life,” Chief Mosquito said in his letter, according to a 2005 study by Ives Goddard, the Smithsonian Institution’s senior linguist emeritus.
However, just about a year later, the term started to take on its modern controversial tone.
Sept. 25, 1863: The Winona Daily Republican in Minnesota features an announcement that uses the term “redskin” as a pejorative: “The State reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth.”
Head over to the Washington Post to read more.
Feature image via Flickr user Keith Allison