The Navajo Nation Council has voted to oppose the use of the Washington Redskins name. On Thursday, the council voted 9-2 in favor of a measure sponsored by lawmaker Joshua Lavar Butler, who says that the slur can have negative psychological impacts on American Indians.
The council’s statement also applies to other professional sports franchises, but does not include high school mascots. The final authority for the measure rests with the committee of the whole, according to ESPN.
The president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association had urged lawmakers not to approve the measure. Peter MacDonald says the NFL team’s name honors American Indians.
On Friday, a United Nations human rights expert said the name of the team was a “hurtful reminder” of the mistreatment of Native Americans, but stopped short of joining in calls for the team’s owner to change the name.
Washington, DC NFL team owner Daniel Snyder has repeatedly defended his organization’s use of the name, and he recently launched the “Original Americans Foundation” that he says is tasked with helping disadvantaged Native tribes. However, the foundation’s name and leader have come under intense scrutiny.