Native Americans leading the Redskins’ petition were outraged that a representative of the Washington Commanders called them the “wrong group.”

Native Americans, who are leading a viral petition urging the Washington Commanders to reclaim their historic Redskins name, bubbled with anger and determination after a team official called their organization the “wrong group”.

“We're not a fake group. We are tribal enrolled members of tribes from across the United States,” Eunice Davidson, co-founder and president of the North Dakota-based nonprofit Native American Guardians Association (NAGA), told Fox News Digital during an interview.

Davidson calls himself “Thoroughbred Dakota Sioux”.


NAGA made national headlines this summer with its petition to bring the Redskins back into the NFL.

The initiative now has around 128,000 signatures as of Monday (28 August).

members of NAGA

Members of the Native American Guardians Association. NAGA historian Andre Billeaudeaux (back row, center) blames “toxic ignorance” for efforts to remove Aboriginal imagery from sports and popular culture. President Eunice Davidson (far right) said the pressure was being fueled by “racist White Woke” professors and academics. (Courtesy Native American Guardians Association)

“We want to win it,” said NAGA co-founder and historian Andre Billeaudeaux.

“You understand that the people who started this petition are a fake group, right?” Matthew Laux, premium seat sales manager at Commanders and FedEx Field, wrote in a text message Aug. 18 a former luxury suite season ticket holder.

“We're not a fake group. We are tribal enrolled members of tribes from across the United States.”

– NAGA President Eunice Davidson

“This name change WAS, IS and will forever be a major issue,” Christina King wrote earlier in the day, sparking a heated exchange between the pair.

Redskins fake group text

A Washington Commanders/FedEx Field representative called the Native American Guardians Association “a fake group” in a text exchange with former Luxury Box owner Christina King. (Screenshot by Christina King)

The franchise adopted the Boston Redskins name in 1933 before moving to Washington, DC in 1937.

King said she gave up her suite after three years when the franchise, under previous owner Dan Snyder, dropped “Redskins” as the team's nickname in 2020.

“As a fan of the team, I didn't want that [the Redskins name] “It hasn't changed either,” Laux said at one point during the text exchange.

He seemed to grow increasingly frustrated when King joined her in defending the traditional Redskins name and supporting the petition before calling NAGA “a fake group”.

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Fox News Digital reached out to Laux, but he declined to speak.

A Commanders spokesman told Fox News Digital that Laux does not speak for the organization.

The Commanders also told Fox News Digital via an email statement from a spokesperson: “For almost 90 years this franchise has had a different name and many have fond memories of cheering for this team and seeing them three Super bowls won. It doesn't matter.” There is no change in our approach, nor does it change the valid reasons for dropping the name.”

Redskins helmet

A Washington Redskins helmet sits on the turf during a preseason football game between the Redskins and Cleveland Browns at FedEx Field August 18, 2014 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins logo was originally inspired by King Tammany, a Lenni-Lenape chief known as “the Patron Saint of America” ​​to the men fighting the American Revolution. (TJ Root/Getty Images)

Former suite owner King texted Laux during their conversation, “We just signed NAGA's petition… We will come back as suite owners when the name changes back to Washington Redskins.”

“We want to win it.” — NAGA co-founder and historian Andre Billeaudeaux

“The team should never have been pressured to change the name,” she also said.

NAGA's Davidson claimed the pressure to remove the Redskins from the NFL, as well as images of Native Americans from high school, collegiate and professional sports across the country, is being exerted by “racist, white-woke” college professors and academics.

Josh Harris at Commanders Browns

Washington Commanders managing partner Josh Harris looks on prior to a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium August 11, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

“People want to call us fake and they've done that before,” Davidson said. “They never tell our story and that is their goal. Erasing Native American history. It is discrimination when you engage in a culture like this.”

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“Toxic ignorance” has fueled efforts by bright-eyed professors and academics to erase Native American history from the country's sports and pop culture lexicon, said Billeaudeaux, author of How the Redskins Got Their Name.

Lenni Lenape Tamanend

Lenni Lenape Chief Tammany, also known as Tammany, was referred to as “America's Patron Saint”. Idealized composite portrait of Fritz Bade from descriptions of the man as it appears in the 1938 book The Tammany Legend by Joseph White Norwood. Tammany was the inspiration for the original Redskins logo. (Fritz Bade/Public Domain)

“These people are just ignorant. It's poisonous ignorance,” Billeaudeaux said. “It's groupthink. It's the psychology of a group that has no idea what they're doing, but they don't listen to us either.”

The original Redskins name and logo was inspired by the 17th-century Lenni-Lenape chief Tamanend, also known as Tammany.

The Tammany-inspired logo appeared on the Braves' uniforms when the franchise moved to Milwaukee and Atlanta.

He was hailed as “America's Patron Saint” by the Founding Fathers and the troops who fought in the American Revolution.

“The men spent the day in merriment and merriment … in honor of King Tammany,” wrote an aide to George Washington after the deadly winter at Valley Forge in May 1778.

Gettysburg memorial

The 42nd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was commonly known as “The Tammany Regiment” in honor of a native of Lenni Lenape who helped inspire the birth of the new nation. Tammany's image adorns the 42nd New York Battlefield Memorial in Gettysburg. (Library of Congress/Public Domain)

Statues of “Saint Tammany” stand guard at the US Naval Academy and watch over the dead of the 42nd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, known as the Tammany Regiment, on the Gettysburg battlefield.

The famous Lenni Lenape-inspired patriotic Tammany Societies sprang up across the country in the early days of independence.

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Tammany found his way into professional sports when James Gaffney, a member of New York's powerful Tammany Hall, bought the Boston Rustlers of Major League Baseball's National League in 1912.

He renamed the team the Boston Braves in honor of Saint Tammany and introduced the chief's image as a logo.

The Tammany-inspired logo appeared on the Braves' uniforms when the franchise moved to Milwaukee and Atlanta.

The “Patron Saint of America” ​​was removed from the Atlanta Braves uniforms in 1989.

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth of the Boston Braves signs autographs for fans on April 23, 1935. The Boston Braves were founded by Tammany Hall member James Gaffney, who adopted Lenni Lenape boss King Tammany's image as the team logo – as seen on Ruth's left sleeve here. (Getty Images)

Businessman George Preston Marshall brought the NFL to Boston in 1932. As was customary at the time, he named the nascent pro football club after the more established pro baseball team.

Marshall's Boston Football Braves played at Braves Field and adopted the same Tammany logo as the Baseball Braves.

The following year, Marshall relocated the team to nearby Fenway Park, home of the American League Boston Red Sox.

He renamed the team the Redskins. Not only was it a tribute to the Red Sox, but it was deeply rooted in cherished Native American lore.

“The Redskins are not about race. It's about a warrior who went through the bloodroot ceremony,” said Billeaudeaux, the Native American historian.

John Two Guns White Calf

At left is John Two Guns White Calf (1872–1934), Native American chief, seen shaking hands with A. Aaron of Madras, India, when they met at a Rotary convention in 1925. White Calf was the inspiration for the face and appeared on Washington Redskins helmets and merchandise from 1972-2000. (FPG/Archive Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“They shave their heads and surrender their souls to their Maker. They paint themselves red as if newly born into the world.”

Marshall transferred the Redskins to Washington, DC in 1937. He died in 1969.

The team refreshed their original Tammany-inspired logo in 1971. Designed by Blackfeet native Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, the new version was intended to represent Blackfeet boss John Two Guns White Calf.

The new logo received overwhelming support from Native American groups across the country when the Redskins took the field in the redesigned uniforms in 1972.

Redskins fans

Washington Redskins fan Christina King, left, and sister Carolyn Steppe. King owned a suite at FedEx Field for Redskins games for three years, she said. She gave up the suite when the team dropped the Redskins name in 2020. (Courtesy of Christina King)

“The Redskins were the only minority representation in the entire NFL and it was a real person, not a mascot,” Billeaudeaux said.

The Redskins name and its imagery remain popular with both longtime fans of the NFL team and Native Americans – a PR nightmare for the new owner.

The Redskins Fans Forever Facebook group has 61,600 members who refer to the team only by its historical name.

Ninety percent of Native Americans nationwide supported the Redskins name in a 2016 Washington Post poll amid open attack on the traditional name.

Red Mesa Redskins

The digital signage featuring the Redskins logo is seen in front of Red Mesa High School October 15, 2014 in Red Mesa, Arizona. The Red Mesa Redskins constructed a new football field in 2023 where the Redskins warrior splashed over the 50-yard line. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Native American groups continue to support the Redskins name and image today after they were deleted from the NFL, NAGA President Davidson said.

The Redskins of Red Mesa High School on a Navajo reservation in Arizona celebrated the unveiling of their new soccer field just last week.


On the field is the menacing image of a red-skinned native warrior splashing over the 50-yard line.

“We're Redskins fans, not Commanders fans,” King, the former suite owner, told Fox News Digital. “We're not coming back until the name comes back. They took these pictures from the sport. They bow to wake up and seek to erase Native American history.”

Redskins inspiration and logo

Blackfeet boss John Two Guns White Calf (left) was the inspiration for the face that appeared on Washington Redskins helmets and merchandise from 1972-2000. At right is a Washington Redskins helmet photo. (FPG/Archive Photos/Hulton Archive and Will Newton, both from Getty Images)

Billeaudeaux said on the subject, “The Redskins name is a national treasure.”


He added: “And for that reason it should be protected. It is a cultural treasure and deserves to be protected and understood. It's not just about the football team. It's about the DNA of the nation.”

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