Help the Redskins keep there name by adding an alternative definition to the Dictionary

Help the Redskins keep there name by adding an alternative definition to the Dictionary

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Timothy Meek started this petition to NFL and

What is a Redskin?

99 Percent of the population of the United States define Redskins as the Professional Football team in Washington.

What does Redskins mean to the millions of Washington Redskins fans?  It's a symbol of pride that represents our football team in the highest regard.

What does Redskins mean to me?  Words just can't explain.  The Redskins are a huge part of my life.  They're my greatest hobby.  They consume the largest part of my time.  They filled my childhood with hero's and memories.  They brought me close to some of my greatest friends.  We all share one thing in common, we've only know the Redskins as one singular thing and that's as our beloved football team. 

The Redskins have an 80 plus year history in Washington.  A deep tradition of Super Bowl Champions and Hall of Fame players.  

The Redskins have a large and diverse fan base.   Many fans, including myself, we live outside of D.C.  With fans all around the world, the Redskins are a Brand.  Sure, the team from Washington can change it's name and it doesn't change the locale.  But for most fans and especially those who don't live in D.C. we are rooted and bonded by the name Redskins.  Our ties to the team are not represented by the area code or address we live, our bond is that we are REDSKINS fans.  

When we talk about the team, we say REDSKINS, we don't say Washington.  When someone asks us who our favorite team is, we say the Redskins.  When asked what game we're attending, we say the Redskins.  

Explanation for the petition

This is entirely about context.  

We understand there are some opposing views on the name, most come from non-Native American groups.  Natives themselves represent under 1 percent of the countries total population (as stated above, over 99 percent of the United States population only know the term Redskins as the football team from Washington).  Among Natives, we've seen many independent polls through years that show the majority of Natives simply don't see the name as an issue. 

Since 1932 the Redskins have been known as a football team in this country.  In this era when someone says the name Redskins, the football team comes to mind.  Never have I heard the name used as a slur to Native Americans.  As a matter of fact, the logo is a symbol of pride.  As fans, we are honored to have the name and view it as such.  

So here's the deal.  The best explanation I've ever heard concerning the name came from the Kevin Sheehan Radio show the Team 980 a few years ago.  When someone says "check out those Redskins who just came in" no one looks for a couple Natives, they're looking for football players or fans of the team.  So Kevin offered the most reasonable solution to this issue.  

Simply add an alternative definition in the dictionary for the word Redskins.

Websters defines Redskin as follows:

1: American Indian
2: Usually Offensive
As reported by Ian Shapira in the Washington Post.  The origin of the word has long been disputed.  

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.

It appears the first use of the word originated from a Native.  

While the origin of the word dates back over 250 years ago; it's common for words to change in context over time.  

Here are a couple examples:

CHEATER:  In 1662 A cheater was originally an officer appointed to look after the king's escheats—the land lapsing to the Crown on the death of the owner intestate without heirs.

Now the word Cheater in Websters has two  definitions, neither are rooted back to it's original meaning.

1: one who violates rules dishonestly

2:  eye glasses used for reading or close work

NICE:  The word used to mean silly, foolish, simple.  Now the word is defined as Polite and Kind.

The point is definitions of words can often change over time.  The context of which words are used matters.  The term Redskins with it's early roots may have very been offensive to Natives.  However, the term Redskins when used in it's current context is seen as a symbol of pride for those who are fans of the football team in Washington.

This is not about wiping away the history of the name.  This isn't being insensitive to Native's or anyone else.  It's simply adding a definition to a term that is WIDELY represented by a completely different meaning then it's origin.

By simply adding an alternative definition to the term Redskins in the dictionary, we resolve this issue once and for all.  

Redskins defined:

 The professional football team from Washington
How do we get this alternative meaning to Redskins added to the dictionary?

Via the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Website:

The selection of which words to include in the dictionary is not based on personal preferences or popularity-contest-style votes; it is based on usage. Simply put, to gain entry to the dictionary, a word must be widely used in a broad range of professionally written and edited materials over an extended period of time. Any word that has sufficiently widespread use in such publications is eligible for dictionary entry.

This is an easy check mark. The word Redskins has been used by just about every major publication in the United States for the past 80 plus years.  

Since words are entered into the dictionary on the basis of actual usage, the best way to get a word in the dictionary is to use it and to encourage others (especially professional writers and editors) to use it. 

Another easy check mark.  Publications on the Washington Redskins can be found online, in the library, in history books, on TV, radio and is one of the most googled sports names on the web.  

The name Redskins as it used to describe the Football team in Washington is one of the most recognized brands in the world and has been for decades.  

Sure, football is just a game and Redskins may just be a name.  But this cause matters to me just as it does to countless other Redskins fans.  And this should matter to everyone, even the oppositions.  By adding an alternate definition we remove any connotation of negativity and define this word for what's it's been the past 88 years.  The Football team from Washington.  The time has come for change, but that change should happen in the dictionary, not by changing the name of a historic and proud football team and the fans it represents. 

Hail to the Redskins

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