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Many Native Americans Back Push To Change Redskins Name

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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — November is Native American Heritage Month. This weekend, hundreds celebrate with a powwow at Towson University.

But as Gigi Barnett reports, many people at this event are also backing a push to change the name of the Washington Redskins.

Drums signaled the start of a two-day powwow at Towson University. It’s an inter-tribal gathering filled with song and dance, designed to encourage unity and pass tradition on to younger Native Americans.

“I love powwows,” said Brannagon Dial. “I just feel like it’s in my heart to go.”

As Native Americans in Baltimore celebrate their culture, they say the name of the Washington, D.C. NFL team sullies it.

“It’s a derogatory term. It’s long past its time. The NFL and the owners of the Redskins need to step up and do the right thing,” said Dennis Seymour.

In recent weeks, the team has been under fire, pressured by Native American groups nationwide to change the name.

Some Redskins fans are pushing back to keep the name and logo.

“Everybody protests about everything. I think we should all just forget it and have fun,” said a fan.

Seymour is a member of the Baltimore American Indian Center. He wants the team and fans to understand the sting of the slur.

“The reality is, if it were the `n’ word, that would be very comparable to the offensive nature of the Redskins name,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that people need to be more sensitive to it.”

Earlier this week, the D.C. Council approved a measure supporting Native Americans and urging the football team to change its name.

About 4,000 visitors attended this weekend’s powwow.

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