Investors and businesses which prioritize Indigenous Peoples’ rights and wellbeing factor representation and racial justice into best practices. Whether a sports team, a brand name or the names of schools and universities, ending the use of racist images, stereotypes, and cultural appropriation is conducive to just and equitable business.
One of IIPWG’s long-standing initiatives has been to advocate for the Washington Football Team NFL franchise to change its racist name and logo. From initial engagements in 2009, action has ranged from appearances at multiple shareholder meetings, petition support on legal cases, and investor letters to sponsors. Following the murder of George Floyd and national protests against racial injustice in 2020, letters to team sponsors FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo on June 26, 2020, led to the team officially retiring its name.
IIPWG’s No Native Mascots advocacy occurs in tandem with enduring Native-led advocacy, which has taken place on this issue since the 1960s. Work continues to ensure that the Washington team’s new name and logo is appropriate, that reparative measures are considered and operationalized where possible, and to address similar issues with other problematic sports team names. Follow-up letters to sponsors and retailers in 2021 addressed teams in Cleveland, Kansas City and Atlanta.