In July, after 87 years, Washington, D.C.’s, professional football team announced a search for a new name and logo.
The NFL franchise, formerly known as the Washington Redskins, will assume the name Washington Football Team until a permanent name is chosen.
A Colorado Law professor helped make the historic change happen.
For over 15 years, Carla Fredericks, director of CU Boulder’s American Indian Law Clinic, has campaigned for the name change, most recently as director of First Peoples Worldwide, a joint CU law and business program addressing the social and environmental impacts of development in Indigenous communities.
“I just remember seeing that mascot, and thinking ‘that doesn’t look like me,’” Fredericks told CU Boulder Today.
First Peoples Worldwide organized a group representing more than $640 billion in assets and, on June 26, sent letters to the heads of the Washington team’s sponsors, including Nike, FedEx and Pepsi calling on them to cease use of the name, deemed by the group to be racist, dehumanizing and inhibiting to Native people.
Days later, Nike pulled the team's apparel from its online store; July 2, FedEx publicly called for Washington to change the team's name. The franchise launched a review the next day.
“This is part of a much larger movement going on that Indigenous peoples are situated in, and it is a long time coming,” Fredricks told The Washington Post in July. “I think that for anyone who is associated with the movement for racial justice this is a significant gain, and this is a significant moment.”
Photo courtesy of the Washington Football Team