MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings are playing Washington’s football team at this time next week, and in response, organizers plan a march and rally to urge the visiting team to drop their current team name and mascot.
Participants will gather Thursday, Oct. 24 at Peavey Field Park in Minneapolis, with the march scheduled to start at 4 p.m., and end at The Commons near U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
This wouldn’t be the first time there’s been a protest in Minnesota over the Washington team. In 2014, thousands gathered outside TCF Bank Stadium, which is where the Vikings were playing that season.
“Five years ago, we gathered outside TCF Bank Stadium to encourage the retirement of the Washington NFL team name,” Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin said. “Since then, nothing has changed – the Washington NFL team still unapologetically uses the worst Native American racial epithet.”
Next week’s rally is expected to include speeches from a number of politicians, including Rep. Betty McCollum, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, and state representatives Mary Kunesh-Podein and Jamie Becker-Finn.
“The name is not positive or respectful; it is the very opposite, and instead encourages a dangerous caricature of what it means to be Native American. It is time to change the name. There is no honor in racism,” Clyde Bellecourt, founder and national director of the American Indian Movement and cofounder of NCARSM, said.