Published May 21, 2016
MANY FARMS, ARIZONA – Today’s Native American graduates are entering a world where racism won’t just be brushed aside, social worker and activist Amanda Blackhorse told the Class of 2016 at Many Farms High School Friday.
“When we leave the reservation,” she told the 70 graduates at the medium-sized BIE school, “there is a lot of racism. We’ve learned to just deal with it and say, ‘It’s not a big deal.’
“We need to confront it. We need to address it now … We are at a time that we’re saying, ‘We’re not going to take it any more!”
Blackhorse, originally from Big Mountain and Kayenta, Ariz., was one of the petitioners in the 2005 lawsuit against Pro Football to cancel trademark protection for the Washington, D.C. NFL team’s name and logo.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board upheld the Native petitioners’ case, but Pro Football countersued. The case is currently making its way through the appeal process and will likely end up in the Supreme Court, according to Blackhorse.
Blackhorse has stood up to a lot of backlash from some of the Washington team’s fans, including accusations that she hates football.
“I like football,” she declared. “Personally, I’m an Arizona Cardinals fan.”
The speech got mixed reviews from the graduating seniors.
Basketball standout Alonzo Begay, who plans to go into automotive and diesel engine repair, said it’s “fine with me” if people want to fight Indian mascots, but personally, “I don’t care what they want to call their team.”
Ricky Jumbo, whose goals include attending welding school and starting his own business, said he’s just too focused on getting his life started to think about activism.
“I’m just worried about my own life and what I want to do at this point,” he said.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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